Tonight, the Governors of the Royal Ballet Companies awarded Acting Assistant Director and Senior Ballet Master Michael O’Hare a gold medal for his outstanding contribution to ballet. In a surprise presentation of this prestigious award, Company dancers and orchestra members joined the Royal Ballet Governors and Michael’s family to celebrate and acknowledge his phenomenal career.

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Born in Hull, Michael, 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's 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

At Sadler’s Wells this evening, Acting Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Marion Tait said ‘I have known and worked with Michael for 38 years... I have never known Michael give less than 200% to everything he does - and that means 200% commitment, care and love for the ballets in our repertoire and for 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.’

Presenting Michael with his medal, 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 Birmingham Royal Ballet 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.’

Photo: Ty Singleton