BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Ross Stretton's rise and fall
Ross Stretton
Stretton: Previously artistic director of the Australian Ballet
Ross Stretton resigned as director of the Royal Ballet on Wednesday.

Australian Ross Stretton has had a distinguished career both as dancer and as artistic director for several major ballet companies.

Now 50, he was born in Canberra and trained at the Australian Ballet School.

On graduation he joined the corps de ballet of the Australian Ballet, becoming a soloist two years later and later rising to principal artist, dancing lead roles in all the classical ballets in the repertoire.

The ballet Onegin
Stretton's Onegin won praise in 2001
Mr Stretton then won a scholarship to study in New York for three months.

Inspired by the experience, he moved to the US in 1979 and joined The Joffrey Ballet in New York.

Mikhail Baryshnikov invited him to dance as a guest artist in American Ballet Theatre's 1980-81 season, and then asked him to join the American Ballet Theatre permanently.

As the company's principal artist, Mr Stretton performed in a wide range of contemporary works and in new works by international choreographers.

He toured internationally with Baryshnikov and Company for many years, appearing extensively as a guest artist with other companies in the US and abroad.

Homeland

After retiring from dancing in May 1990 he was invited to take the position of assistant to the directors of the American Ballet Theatre.

He was made assistant director from 1993, but moved back to his homeland for his next post.

He was appointed artistic director of the Australian Ballet in January 1997, saying he wanted "to create a company that touches people's hearts and minds, and overwhelms them with its physicality".

But after four years he accepted an offer to come to London to take charge of the Royal Ballet Company.

Despite praise for one of first productions, John Cranko ballet Onegin, his reign at the Royal Ballet quickly ran into criticism.

Darcey Bussell with Igor Zelensky
Darcey Bussell is among the Royal Ballet's star performers
There were complaints from dancers about changes to schedules, and that he kept them in the dark about who would appear in which performances.

He was also criticised for what some observers regarded as an unimaginative repertoire in which he has failed to stage as many new productions as expected.

The company's Jubilee gala for the Queen was drubbed by critics, one of whom described it as "unstylish and incompetent".

Eventually Royal Opera House executive director Tony Hall had to intervene in a series of negotiations with dancers.

Despite reports that an accommodation had been reached, Ross Stretton resigned the day after September's board meeting.

See also:

25 Sep 02 | Entertainment
14 Aug 02 | Entertainment
09 Aug 02 | Entertainment
23 Jul 02 | Entertainment
14 Dec 01 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes