As always, at the end of the season Directors Kevin O’Hare and David Bintley announced the promotions, joiners and leavers for their respective companies. We send our congratulations to those who were promoted and those who join and send our best wishes for their futures to those who are leaving.
In the Royal Ballet, promoted from the start of the coming season are Marcelino Sambé to Principal; Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Luca Acri to First Soloist; Romany Pajdak, Isabella Gasparini, Tomas Mock and David Yudes to Soloist; Annette Buvoli, Mica Bradbury, Ashley Dean, Chisato Katsura, Leo Dixon and Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød to First Artist. 2018/19 Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Katharina Nikelski, Amelia Townsend, Yu Hang, Harris Bell, Harrison Lee and Taisuke Nakao join as Artists, as does Sophie Allnattwho had a one-year contract with the Company this season. Joining as 2019/20 as Aud Jebsen Young Dancers are Madison Bailey, Liam Boswell, Brayden Gallucci, Bomin Kim and Ginevra Zambon from The Royal Ballet School. Sumina Sasaki joins as the Prix de Lausanne dancer.
Also, from the start of the season, Gary Avis becomes Senior Ballet Master and Samantha Raine Senior Ballet Mistress. We are particularly delighted to see former Royal Ballet School Award winners Marcelino, Annette and Chisato promoted, Harrison join as an Artist, and Liam and Ginevra join as apprentices.
Leaving is Principal Nehemiah Kish, who retires after nine years with The Royal Ballet and is embarking on a course of postgraduate study in the arts and cultural policy at Goldsmiths, University of London. Also leaving after many years with the Company are First Soloist Hikaru Kobayashi, Soloist Emma Maguire and First Artist Camille Bracher. Lania Atkins leaves the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme to join the Norwegian National Ballet and Prix de Lausanne dancer Davide Loricchio leaves to join the Mikhailovsky Ballet.
As announced earlier in the year, Ballet Master and former First Soloist Ricardo Cervera leaves The Royal Ballet to join the teaching staff of The Royal Ballet School. After a two-year leave of absence our President and former Principal Jonathan Cope steps down as a full-time Répétiteur, though it is hoped he will come back from time to time to continue coaching. As he takes up his new post as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta leaves his position as Principal Guest Répétiteur.
The Association said its farewell to Birmingham Royal Ballet Director David Bintley at our Annual Dinner in April. After 24 years in the post, there were a variety of events to mark his retirement both at the end of the Birmingham Season and after that in London, where, before the final performance, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Vice-President Lady Sarah Chatto awarded David a special medal marking his remarkable contribution as Director. Following the performance, Sir Peter Wright took to the stage to pay homage to David’s immense contribution to British ballet.
At a gathering after the performance, David announced the following promotions: Brandon Lawrence to Principal; Kit Holder, Rory Mackay and Valentin Olovyannikov to First Soloist; Laura Day and Beatrice Parma to Soloist. First Artist Ruth Brill, who is now much in demand as a choreographer, has left the Company. She is acting as Interim Artistic Director/Choreographer for the National Youth Ballet as well as working on projects with London Children’s Ballet and New English Ballet Theatre.