Royal Ballet principal dancer Nehemiah Kish to retire after nine years

MANON by Macmillan,    ,
Choreographer - Kenneth MacMillan,
Designs -Nicholas Georgiadis,
Music- Jules Massenet,
Lighting -Jo
MANON by Macmillan, , Choreographer - Kenneth MacMillan, Designs -Nicholas Georgiadis, Music- Jules Massenet, Lighting -John B Reed The Royal Ballet, 2011, Credit Johan Persson/

The Royal Ballet’s principal dancer, Nehemiah Kish, has announced his retirement after nine years at the company.

The American dancer, who will bow out at the end of the 2018/2019 season, will dance for the Royal Ballet for the last time on July 6 in Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling at the Music Centre in Los Angeles.

However, his final performance at the Royal Ballet’s home, the Royal Opera House in London, will be in The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky, on Friday June 14.

Kish said: “It has been a privilege to perform with the inspiring artists of the Royal Ballet. I am grateful to have been blessed with a fulfilling career on stage, the last years of which in Covent Garden have been a treasured experience.

“I would like to thank my directors, Dame Monica Mason and Kevin O’Hare, for their artistic leadership and support.

“My sincere thanks also go to the audiences and all the wonderful, dedicated and talented artists and staff at the Royal Opera House.”

The Michigan-born dancer trained at Canada’s National Ballet school before joining the National Ballet of Canada in 2001, where he was promoted to principal four years later.

He became the principal of the Royal Danish Ballet in 2008, before joining the Royal Ballet as principal in 2010.

Following his departure from the classical ballet company, Kish will embark on a course of postgraduate study in the arts and cultural policy at Goldsmiths, University of London this autumn.

The Royal Ballet
Nehemiah Kish (Johan Persson/The Royal Ballet/PA)

O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet, said: “Nehemiah has been a wonderful member of the company and principal dancer for the past nine years.

“His elegant presence has been shown to great effect in the danseur noble roles such as Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. He has brought a keen intelligence to bear on many ballets, notably in the MacMillan repertory including Prince Of The Pagodas, Manon, and Romeo And Juliet.

“More recently, he has memorably taken on many different characters, including an outstandingly poignant account of the Creature in Frankenstein, the husband in The Concert, Kulygin in Winter Dreams and Tybalt in Romeo And Juliet. He has been a gracious and thoughtful partner and a great role model.

“I know that he’ll be much missed by the company and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best for his exciting next steps. I am delighted that he will be staying in the arts world.”


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