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Kevin O’Hare appointed director of The Royal Ballet

Posted on June 14, 2011

crop kevin ohare. photo by sim canetty clarke

crop kevin ohare. photo by sim canetty-clarkeKevin O’Hare will take over as director of The Royal Ballet, following Monica Mason’s retirement in July 2012. O’Hare has been administrative director of the company since 2009.


O’Hare said: “This is a great honour for me. Under Monica Mason’s inspired leadership The Royal Ballet has had a great ten years. I am equally ambitious for the company and dance in general. I plan to bring together the most talented artists of the 21st century to collaborate on the same stage – world class dancers, choreographers, designers and musicians. I will aim to use all the traditional and new platforms now available to engage our audiences in our classic repertoire, and The Royal Ballet’s unique heritage. I want to continue to invigorate audiences with new work and emerging talents and I am thrilled that Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon – two of the world’s leading choreographers – have agreed to join me and Jeanetta Laurence, associate director, to become part of the senior artistic team. Both Wayne and Christopher share my exciting ambitions for the company.”


O’Hare has grown up with The Royal Ballet, making him a more traditional candidate, familiar with the company’s heritage. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and was a principal at Birmingham Royal Ballet. As a dancer, he worked with Frederick Ashton, Ninette de Valois, Kenneth MacMillan, David Bintley and Peter Wright. He retired from dancing in 2000 to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, training in company management. He returned to BRB as company manager in 2001, moving to The Royal Ballet in 2004.


The search committee for the artistic director was Michael Berkeley, David Clementi, Tony Hall, Nicholas Hytner, Simon Robey, Peter Wright and Robert Wallace. Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “All of us were impressed by Kevin’s outstanding vision for building on the achievements of the last ten years. Kevin has a fantastic track record as a dancer, and understands the importance of nurturing dancers at all levels of the company. He has championed a range of new choreographic initiatives, and possesses all the skills needed to be a visionary artistic leader and producer.”


Photograph: Sim Canetty-Clarke 


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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