Alexander Grant (dancer)

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Alexander Grant (22 February 1925 – 30 September 2011)[1] was a New Zealand ballet dancer noted as a founder member of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet[2] (now the Birmingham Royal Ballet) and as a dancer with The Royal Ballet.


Grant was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1925, and studied at Wellington College from 1939 to 1941. He started dance classes, aged seven, eventually winning a scholarship from the Royal Academy of Dance, to study in England. Due to the outbreak of World War II, Grant was forced to remain in New Zealand, but eventually took a place at the Sadler's Wells Ballet School in 1946, aged 21. Within a very short time, he was to become a founder member of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, but during his first tour with the company, he was transferred to the parent company at the Royal Opera House, today's Royal Ballet. He was later promoted to the rank of soloist, with his first created role being 'the boy who jumps through a hoop' in Les Sirènes, a ballet by Sir Frederick Ashton.[3][4]

During his career with the Royal Ballet, Grant become most notable for his performances of character roles, with a number of roles being created for him. He is most noted for roles in the ballets of Frederick Ashton, including Cinderella, Daphnis and Chloe, Sylvia, Jazz Calendar, Ondine, The Dream and La fille mal gardée.[5][6]

During the 1970s, Grant directed the Royal Ballet's educational group, Ballet for All. He eventually left the company in 1976, after being appointed Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada. His work in ballet also includes dancing with and staging revivals of ballets for such companies as the Joffrey Ballet, Scottish Ballet, and English National Ballet.[7] When he died in 2011, he was survived by his partner, Jean-Pierre Gasquet and his brother, Garry Grant.[8]



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