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Press Release: The Royal Ballet - NEW BOOK - Steven McRae Dancer in the Fast Lane

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Steven McRae: Dancer in the Fast Lane is a revealing insight into the world of Royal Ballet Principal Steven McRae. Photographed over the last 12 months by Andrej Uspenski, this book offers a glimpse into the fast-paced life of one of The Royal Ballet’s leading Principals.  The book features more than 70 colour images taken from the wings, in rehearsal and during performances at the Royal Opera House. 


Born and raised in Australia Steven was brought up in a world of drag car racing and speed. At the age of seven his life took on a whole new direction when he embarked on a career as a dancer, swapping the fast lane of the drag strip to the fast lane of the dance world.


Steven joined The Royal Ballet in 2003 and was promoted to Principal in 2009. He has danced with some of the world’s leading ballerinas including Alina Cojocaru, Sarah Lamb, Evgenia Obraztsova Natalia Osipova and Iana Salenko who all feature in the book.  Published by Oberon Books in June 2014 this photographic record includes an introduction by Steven and features scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Jewels, Don Quixote and The Sleeping Beauty.  


Royal Ballet dancer Andrej Uspenski’s passion for photography began as a child when he would spend hours in his father’s photographic studio. A love for photography flourished in parallel with his dancing career and over the last three years he has been taking photographs of Royal Ballet dancers in rehearsal and on stage. His previous books include: Dancers – Behind the Scenes at The Royal Ballet and Natalia Osipova - Becoming a Swan.






Steven McRae: Dancer in the Fast Lane

Photographs by Andrej Uspenski

Published by Oberon Books

Publication Date June 2014

Price £14.99


Paperback, 112 pages


Steven McRae biography

Steven McRae joined The Royal Ballet School on a Prix de Lausanne scholarship in 2003. He graduated into The Royal Ballet in 2004 and was promoted to Principal in 2009. His classical and dramatic roles with the Company include Romeo, Des Grieux (Manon), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Prince (The Nutcracker and Cinderella), the Chosen One (The Rite of Spring) and Colas (La Fille mal gardée). McRae has also created roles for Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Liam Scarlett, Alastair Marriott and Kim Brandstrup, among others.


Steven was born in Sydney. His father was a drag racer and McRae retains a strong interest in motor racing. He began dancing at the age of seven after becoming interested in his older sister's dance classes. McRae studied tap alongside ballet, and this training has often been used by choreographers creating new works on him, such as the role of the Mad Hatter in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He trained with Hilary Kaplan and then at The Royal Ballet School (2003–4).


Prizes include the 2002 Adeline Genée Gold Medal, the 2003 Prix de Lausanne, the 2007 Emerging Male Artist (Classical) and the 2012 Best Male Dancer Awards at the Critics' Circle Dance Awards, and in 2014 he was named Young Australian Achiever in the UK by the Australia Day Foundation. He has performed as a guest artist with ballet companies all over the world, including the American Ballet Theater, National Ballet of Canada, the Australian Ballet, Tokyo Ballet and numerous international galas. He is co-curator of the Japanese Manga cartoon Ballet Hero Fantasy and last year Steven graduated from the Open University with a degree in Business Management and Leadership. He is married to Royal Ballet Soloist Elizabeth Harrod.


Andrej Uspenski biography

Andrej Uspenski is a First Artist with The Royal Ballet and was born in

St Petersburg and trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy and subsequently in Dresden and Berlin. He has been a member of The Royal Ballet for 12 years. He won second prize at the Rieti International Ballet Competition, 1998, and second prize at the Yalta International Ballet Competition,1999. He joined Royal Danish Ballet in 1999, then The Royal Ballet in 2002 and was promoted to First Artist in 2004. His photographs can be seen in Royal Opera House programmes as well as national magazines and newspapers. His first photographic book DANCERS – Behind the Scenes with The Royal Ballet was published by Oberon in April 2013 and Natalia Osipova: Becoming a Swan was published by Oberon in September 2013.



Oberon Books

Oberon Books is the UK's most exciting independent publisher specialising in drama and the performing arts. Oberon Book’s has a backlist of over 1000 titles including the latest modern plays and classics from some of the world's leading dramatists as well as a wide range of handsomely produced publications covering the theatre, opera, dance, biography, performance studies, monologues, practical guides and fiction.


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What a versatile young man he is!  And there I was thinking a principal ballet dancer had no time for anything else BUT ballet.


"Japanese Manga cartoon Ballet Hero Fantasy"?  What's that all about and what exactly does a co-curator do?   I've heard of Manga obviously but the ballet hero bit is new to me.  Anyone know more about this?



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I can't recall where I read about this-in a variety of places-but In Japan these manga comics are very popular-so is ballet-and I believe a writer got in touch with him and asked him to be a model for a series of drawings to be a basis for a ballet manga strip-you can see some examples on his facebook page. Apparently Steven thought it would be a good idea especially as a way of encouraging interest in ballet among teenage boys. The term " co curator"  is modern jargon isn't it:  I guess he advises them on ballet movements..Anyway it works surprisingly well I thought.


Look forward to the book. although I prefer him in motion!

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