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A chat at the barre with Kevin O’Hare

Kevin O’Hare is coming to the University of Hull on Wednesday 16 August to share his incredible 40-year journey from dancer to Director of the Royal Ballet as the Company prepares to take to the stage at the soon-to-reopen Hull New Theatre.

8th August 2017

Five years into his all-consuming role as director, responsible for driving the artistic direction of the Company, Kevin is pushing the Company forward while keeping ballet, as an art form, alive in the 21stcentury. In conversation with journalist Sarah Crompton, Kevin will explore the process from inspiration to outstanding creativity and artistic excellence, developing talent and his vision for widening the Company’s performing platform.
An accomplished dancer himself, Kevin trained at The Royal Ballet School and, through an exchange programme, with Royal Danish Ballet. He began his performing career with The Royal Ballet’s sister company Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, and stayed with that company as a Principal during its transformation into Birmingham Royal Ballet. During this time he performed extensively in the UK and internationally, including as a guest artist with many leading companies. His repertory included all the leading classical roles, such as Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Albrecht (Giselle) and Romeo (in BRB’s first performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet).
He has worked with many leading figures in the ballet world, including Ninette de Valois, Peter Wright, Frederick Ashton, MacMillan and David Bintley, and created several roles, including Amynta (Bintley’sSylvia). He has also produced many galas and choreographic evenings.
He retired from performing in 2000 at the age of 35, after 16 years of dancing on stage all over the world and entered into a traineeship in company management with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This led to the post of Company Manager with BRB in 2001, and in 2004 he joined The Royal Ballet as Company Manager. He was made Administrative Director in 2009 before being appointed to his current role in 2012. In 2015 he was appointed to the board of Northern Ballet.
Fran Hegyi, Executive Director at Hull 2017, said: “Kevin O’Hare knows what makes a great ballet. He is courageous, a risk-taker and prepared to give something a try to achieve his vision and push ballet forward, capturing the hearts and imagination of everyone who experiences it.”
O’Hare has a vision that by the end of 2020 every full-length ballet presented is new in the last 10 years and wants to commission a three-act ballet every year. With this vision, this ambitious Yorkshireman has well and truly raised the barre.
The BP Cultural Visions Lecture Series explores the journey from inspiration to creativity, providing a chance to take an intimate look at the creative journey of some of the UK’s leading cultural visionaries.Featuring varied and prominent speakers, this is a fresh space to investigate and celebrate innovation and passion. A collaboration between BP and the University of Hull, it is designed to spark cultural conversation with monthly lectures throughout 2017.
The event will take place at 6.30pm on Wednesday 16 August in Middleton Hall as part of the BP Cultural Visions Lecture Series.
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