Christopher Saunders

Rehearsal Director and Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet


British dancer Christopher Saunders is Rehearsal Director and a Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and entered the Company in 1983, promoted to Soloist in 1991 and Principal Character Artist in 1997. He was appointed Ballet Master in 2001 and Rehearsal Director in 2017. 

Saunders was born in Gosport and trained with Joan Stevenson in dance, singing and tap. He made his professional debut aged nine in Gypsy with Angela Lansbury. He joined The Royal Ballet School in 1975 and graduated into the Company in 1983. His many roles with the Company include the title role in Don Quixote, Lord Capulet (Romeo and Juliet), Drosselmeyer (The Nutcracker), Von Rothbart (Swan Lake), Monsieur G.M. (Manon), Tsar Nicholas II (Anastasia), Elgar (Enigma Variations), Yslaev (A Month in the Country) and Kostcheï (The Firebird). He has created roles in works including Tombeaux, Love’s Fool, The Seven Deadly Sins and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Saunders started coaching Principals back in 2001, while still performing his many principal character roles. He worked closely with Dame Monica Mason and Monica Parker on the MacMillan repertory, Patricia Neary on Balanchine’s ballets and Christopher Wheeldon on his works. This close collaboration has led him to stage works not only by MacMillan, Wheeldon and Balanchine, but also by Nijinska, Ashton, Robbins and Acosta for The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and many companies across Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA.

Saunders celebrated 40 years with the company in February 2023.

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