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Michael O’Hare, BRB, awarded Royal Ballet Governors' Gold Medal

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Excellent news about Michael’s Gold Medal. He has been a very loyal member of the Royal Ballet organisation. He was such a talented dancer for BRB in a variety of roles and then developed into a first class character dancer and actor. On top of which his work behind the scenes is invaluable. His experience, sensitive approach when coaching dancers and amazing workload has been recognised by supporters of the company for many years. Congratulations Michael - a gong very well deserved.

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4 minutes ago, capybara said:

It's interesting that the Chair of Governors mentioned a Gold Medal being given annually to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Royal Ballet Companies. Does anyone know who else has received this honour?


Gailene Stock was awarded it in 2016 and Jay Jolley in 2013. I remember reading about these at the time and I've just googled and can see those but can't see any others mentioned - these were both publicised by the RBS rather than the RB. It would be good if the RB publicised these awards themselves. (Or maybe they do, but if so not very effectively!).

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I did on search on Michael O'Hare because I didn't recognise the name.  Got a photo of a bulky looking chap with long hair that I recognised instantly as a chef who appears frequently on television!


Adding "ballet" after the name produced the right person.



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And the official press release (sorry it's late I was enjoying being scared by Dracula in Leeds):






Photo credit:  Tyrone Singleton


The Governors of the Royal Ballet Companies award a gold medal each year to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to ballet. This year they awarded it to Birmingham Royal Ballet Acting Assistant Director and Senior Ballet Master Michael O’Hare.


Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers and orchestra members joined the Governors of the Royal Ballet Companies and their Chair Dame Jenny Abramsky alongside Michael’s family on stage prior to the opening night of Birmingham Royal Ballet's Giselle at Sadler’s Wells on Friday 1 November for a surprise presentation of this prestigious award, to celebrate and acknowledge Mr O’Hare’s phenomenal career.



Photo credit:  Tyrone Singleton


Dame Jenny Abramsky DBE, Chair of the Royal Ballet Governors, said: The Royal Ballet Governors want to recognise the amazing contribution that Michael has made to BRB both as a dancer and then as a teacher. His commitment to the company and his support of numerous dancers has helped ensure that Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the great ballet companies of the world. The gold medal is given annually to someone who has made a unique contribution to the Royal Ballet companies. Michael has done just that.’


Acting Director of BRB Marion Tait said ‘I have known and worked with Michael for 38 years (from his very first days performing with SWRB). Throughout his outstanding career, as dancer, teacher, repetiteur and “rehearsal scheduler”, I have never known Michael give less than 200% to everything he does - and that means 200% of commitment, care and love for the ballets in our repertoire and our dancers. Only the other day I quipped “Michael, you deserve a medal!” and now he has one! There is no one more deserving than he.’


Born in Hull, Michael O’Hare, trained with Louise Browne OBE before joining the Royal Ballet School. He joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1980, rose through the ranks to become Principal in 1987, and relocated to Birmingham in 1990. He danced leading classical and character roles in the Company’s repertory over 20 years and was the first person to perform all three principal male roles in La Fille mal gardée. He has created roles in a number of David Bintley’s ballets, including Hobson’s Choice (Will Mossop), Far from the Madding Crowd (Gabriel Oak), Sylvia (Eros), The Nutcracker Sweeties (Buttons), Flowers of the Forest, Brahms Handel Variations, Choros, The Snow Queen, and Carmina burana. He was appointed Assistant Ballet Master in 2002 and Ballet Master in 2008. He continues to perform character roles, including Widow Simone (La Fille mal gardée), Kostcheï (The Firebird), Grandfather (The Nutcracker), Dr Coppélius (Coppélia), Lord Capulet (Romeo and Juliet), the Merchant (Beauty and the Beast), Capuchin (Cyrano), Red King (Checkmate) and Catalabutte (The Sleeping Beauty). He created the role of the Beggar in Gillian Lynne's reconstruction of Robert Helpmann's Miracle in the Gorbals.





Birmingham Royal Ballet

Based at Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom’s leading touring ballet company performing a range of traditional, classical and heritage ballets as well as ground-breaking new works with the aim of encouraging choreographers of the future. 


The company’s incoming Director is the internationally renowned Carlos Acosta who will be taking up his appointment as Director in January 2020. 


Birmingham Royal Ballet performs at Birmingham Hippodrome for approximately ten weeks of the year and the remainder of the year tours throughout the United Kingdom and overseas. 


The Royal Ballet Sinfonia is Britain's busiest ballet orchestra, playing for Birmingham Royal Ballet's wide-ranging programme. The Sinfonia also plays frequently for The Royal Ballet and other leading ballet companies, including performances with; The Royal Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Kirov, Norwegian Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and La Scala Ballet.

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  • Jan McNulty changed the title to Michael O’Hare, BRB, awarded Royal Ballet Governors' Gold Medal

Excellent news and thoroughly deserved.  I have been watching Michael for nearly 40 years in a huge variety of roles and I cannot remember ever seeing him give a bad performance.  Even in roles like Oberon his intelligence and sincerity meant he always found something of value in the role.  Every time he was cast against type he was well worth watching.


However, when he was cast in roles which really suited him, he was unmatched.  This has been the year to remember him as Will Mossop in Hobson's Choice.  You could see his influence in both casts and his coaching had clearly paid handsome dividends.


I cherish my memories of him in works such as Two Pigeons, especially when dancing with Sandra Madgwick, and all the Male leads in Fille.  To me he is the ultimate example of a SWRB/BRB dancer, matched only by Marion Tait.


He may not be the most important O'Hare in British Ballet these days but I would argue that his contribution over the years continues to be hard to beat.

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