English National Ballet

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English National Ballet
General information
NameEnglish National Ballet
Previous names
  • Festival Ballet
  • London Festival Ballet
Year founded1950
Principal venue41 Hopewell Square
E14 0SY
Senior staff
Chief ExecutivePatrick Harrison
DirectorTamara Rojo
Ballet StaffAssociate Artist Director: Loipa Araújo
Executive Ballet Master: Yohei Sasaki
Ballet Master and Repetiteur: Antonio Castilla
Ballet Mistress: Mayumi Ganley
Ballet Master: Laurent Guilbaud
Ballet Master: Renato Paroni de Castro
Artistic Co-ordinator: Jane Haworth
Associate Choreographer: Stina Quagebeur
Artistic staff
Artistic DirectorTamara Rojo
Music DirectorGavin Sutherland
Official schoolEnglish National Ballet School
FormationLead Principal
Character Artist
First Soloist
Junior Soloist
First Artist

English National Ballet is a classical ballet company founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin as London Festival Ballet and based in London, England. Along with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet and Scottish Ballet, it is one of the five major ballet companies in Great Britain. English National Ballet is one of the foremost touring companies in Europe, performing in theatres throughout the UK as well as conducting international tours and performing at special events. The Company employs approximately 67 dancers and a symphony orchestra, (English National Ballet Philharmonic). In 1984 Peter Schaufuss became director and changed the name to English National Ballet and founded the school English National Ballet School, which is independent from the ballet company but joining the company premises in the new building. The Company regularly performs seasons at the London Coliseum and has been noted for specially staged performances at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2014 English National Ballet became an Associate Company of Sadler's Wells.


English National Ballet was founded in 1950 as Gala Performances of Ballet by the British dance couple, Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin.[1] The Company later adopted the name Festival Ballet, then London Festival Ballet, and in June 1989, English National Ballet.[2]

Markova and Dolin were leading stars of the Ballets Russes, one of the most influential ballet companies of the 20th century. After the death of its director Serge Diaghilev in 1929, the Company was disbanded and in 1931, one of its dancers, Ninette de Valois, founded the Vic-Wells Ballet Company in London, with Markova and Dolin as Principal dancers, Markova becoming Prima Ballerina in 1933. Markova and Dolin left the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1935 to tour as the Markova-Dolin Company and following the success of their performances, they decided to form their own company with the sole purpose being to tour both nationally and internationally, taking ballet to audiences that had not had the opportunity to see the art form.

Elena Glurdjidze as Swanilda & Aroniel Vargas as Franz in the English National Ballet's production of Coppélia. Southampton's Mayflower Theatre. Also in the picture (bowing) is Michael Coleman as Dr. Coppelius.

London Festival Ballet was founded in 1950 with the financial backing of the Polish impresario Julian Braunsweg. The name was inspired by the then imminent Festival of Britain, however the Company would later be renamed to today's English National Ballet. Dolin was the Company's first Artistic Director and established the Company as a touring group both nationally in the UK and Internationally, touring abroad for the first time in 1951. Dolin also introduced a number of educational programs in the early years, designed to make ballet accessible to new audiences. Dolin remained as Artistic Director until 1962, succeeded by John Gilpin, who was also principal dancer with the Company from 1950 to 1960 and 1962 to 1971. The Company grew in size and status, undertaking extensive national and international tours, presenting a new generation of dancers—all while repeatedly facing bankruptcy. Braunsweg left in 1965 and Donald Albery took over until 1968, stabilising the budget with safer programming. Former Royal Ballet dancer Beryl Grey directed the Company (now named London Festival Ballet) from 1968 to 1979, raising technical standards, touring widely and inviting prominent guest stars and choreographers including Leonide Massine and Rudolf Nureyev, who picked ballerina Eva Evdokimova to be his first Princess Aurora in his production of The Sleeping Beauty in 1975. In 1979 John Field became director of the company until 1984.

In 1984 Peter Schaufuss who had won both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards as a dancer and for his production of La Sylphide with the Company, became its director and revitalised the company. During his directorship he succeeded in changing the name to English National Ballet, founding the school, inviting princess Diana as patron and presenting many important choreographers ballets with the company for the first time such as Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, Michael Clarke, John Neumeier, George Balanchine, Alvin Ailey, Roland Petit, Maurice Bejart, and John Cranko. This period is considered by many the golden age where the company reached a new and higher level.

In 1990 Ivan Nagy became director (until 1993), Derek Deane (until 2001) and Matz Skoog (until 2006) and directed the Company before Wayne Eagling, former head of Dutch National Ballet who took over in 2006. In April 2012, following the February sudden announcement of resignation by Eagling, principal dancer for The Royal Ballet Tamara Rojo was announced to become his successor at the end of the 2012 season, in August of that year.[3]

In November 2019, Prince Andrew, who had served as Patron of the English National Ballet since 2001, resigned amid the Jeffrey Epstein scandal fallout.[4]


Artistic Directors:


The Company's dancers are listed on the official website with photographs and linked biographies.[6]

Lead principals[edit]

Name Nationality Training Joined ENB
Joseph Caley  United Kingdom Royal Ballet School 2017
Francesco Gabriele Frola  Italy School of the Hamburg Ballet 2018
Jeffrey Cirio  United States Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
Boston Ballet School
Orlando Ballet School
Isaac Hernández[7]  Mexico Philadelphia's Rock School for Dance Education 2015
Fernanda Oliveira  Brazil Centro de Dança, Rio de Janeiro
Royal Ballet School
Tamara Rojo  Spain Victor Ullate School of Dance

Bachelor's degree and Master in performing arts from Rey Juan Carlos University

Erina Takahashi  Japan Kushiro Ballet Academy
English National Ballet School


Name Nationality Training Joined ENB
Shiori Kase  Japan Hirose Kato Ballet School

Royal Ballet School


Character artists[edit]

  • Michael Coleman

First soloists[edit]

  • Aitor Arrieta
  • Emma Hawes
  • Katja Khaniukova
  • Alison McWhinney
  • Adela Ramirez
  • Fabian Reimair
  • Ken Saruhashi
  • Junor Souza
  • James Streeter


  • Rina Kanehara
  • Skyler Martin
  • Daniel McCormick

Junior soloists[edit]

  • Precious Adams
  • Julia Conway
  • Tiffany Hedman
  • Anjuli Hudson
  • Senri Kou
  • Daniel Kraus
  • Erik Woolhouse

First Artists[edit]

Artists of the Company[edit]

  • Matthew Astley
  • Clare Barrett
  • William Beagley
  • Alice Bellini
  • Rebecca Blenkinsop
  • Georgia Bould
  • Ivana Bueno
  • Emilia Cadorin
  • Fernando Carratala Coloma
  • Noam Durand
  • Eireen Evrard
  • Breanna Ford
  • Carolyne Galvao
  • Giorgio Garrett
  • Amber Hunt
  • Chloe Keneally
  • Pedro Lapetra
  • Adriana Lizardi
  • Miguel Angel Maidana
  • Josue Moreno
  • Rentaro Nakaaki
  • Maeve Nolan
  • Victor Prigent
  • William Simmons
  • Lucinda Strachan
  • Emily Suzuki
  • Anna-Babette Winkler
  • Angela Wood
  • William Yamada
  • Rhys Antoni Yeomans

Notable Productions[edit]

Rudolf Nureyev’s award-winning production of Romeo & Juliet was especially created for the English National Ballet (then the London Festival Ballet) in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

English National Ballet commissioned Akram Khan, who had never worked with any ballet companies before, to create a one-act ballet about World War I. His ballet, titled Dust, premiered in 2014 and received rave reviews.[8] It was brought to Glastonbury Festival later that year, making it English National Ballet's debut at Glastonbury.[9]

In 2016, English National Ballet presented She Said, an all-female choreographer mixed bill, which includes Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Broken Wings, which was based on Frida Kahlo's life.[10]


  1. ^ "The Company". English National Ballet. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  2. ^ "1950". History. English National Ballet. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  3. ^ Brown, Mark (13 April 2012). "Tamara Rojo to be artistic director of English National Ballet". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ Snow, Georgia (22 November 2019). "English National Ballet severs ties with Prince Andrew". The Stage. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  5. ^ "English National Ballet announces Tamara Rojo as its new Artistic Director". Ballet News. 13 April 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  6. ^ "English National Ballet | Dancers". English National Ballet. English National Ballet. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Isaac Hernández: the hottest ballet boy to hit London since Carlos". Evening Standard. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  8. ^ Mackrell, Judith (3 April 2020). "English National Ballet: Lest We Forget review – Compelling quartet on war". The Guardian.
  9. ^ Savage, Mark (29 June 2014). "Ballet makes Glastonbury debut". BBC News.
  10. ^ Mackrell, Judith (14 April 2016). "English National Ballet: She Said review – Frida Kahlo and fantastic beasts in mixed evening". The Guardian.

External links[edit]