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.
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.