Carlos Acosta CBE appointed as new Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet

Birmingham Royal Ballet is delighted to announce that internationally renowned Carlos Acosta CBE has been appointed as its new Director. He will take up his appointment in January 2020.

The appointment follows an open competition and extensive international search by Birmingham Royal Ballet Board, supported by an expert panel of leading figures in the dance world. It follows the news that David Bintley CBE, the current Director, will be standing down as Director in July 2019 at the end of the current season. The new Director will work alongside the company’s Chief Executive, Caroline Miller OBE who was appointed on a permanent basis just before Christmas.

Carlos Acosta CBE, said:It is a tremendous honour and privilege to have been appointed to lead Birmingham Royal Ballet. I am a great admirer of its heritage and of what David Bintley has done to establish it as one of the country’s leading classical ballet companies, following on from the wonderful foundations laid down by Sir Peter Wright. My ambition is to build on its classical traditions, to expand its repertoire and to reach out to new and more diverse audiences. I want to define what it is to be a world leading classical ballet company in the 21st century.”   

Chair of Birmingham Royal Ballet Sir David Normington GCB, said: “This is a great moment for Birmingham Royal Ballet. We have secured the greatest male dancer of his generation to be our new Director. I know he will bring us his legendary artistry, energy and charisma and enable us to connect with new audiences, particularly in Birmingham. It is a statement to the whole dance world that, building on David Bintley’s great legacy, Birmingham Royal Ballet intends to remain a major force for classical ballet in the UK and beyond.” 

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Carlos Acosta CBE as the new Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, with his wealth of experience and knowledge from the international world of dance.Birmingham Royal Ballet is an exceptional company, with an international reputation for the artistic quality of its work, and as Carlos takes to the helm, we’d like to pay tribute to the commitment, contribution and charisma of David Bintley, who leaves behind him an extraordinary legacy.We look forward to seeing Carlos build on this legacy, and to the company continuing to delight audiences with their array of classical and ground-breaking ballets.”


Born in Havana, the youngest of eleven children in an impoverished family, Acosta went on to train at the National Ballet School of Cuba, winning the prestigious Prix de Lausanne at the age of 16, before enjoying a celebrated thirty-year career in dance with many of the world’s leading ballet companies. He was a Principal with the Royal Ballet for 17 years and danced all the major classical, and many contemporary roles. He is the greatest male dancer of his generation and, in many people’s eyes, one of the greatest dancers of all time.

Since retiring from the Royal Ballet he has founded his Cuban dance company Acosta Danza and established his own dance academy in Havana which opened its doors to its first students in September 2017. His 2007 autobiography No Way Home told the extraordinary story of his progress from the poorest of beginnings in Cuba to world ballet star and became a UK bestseller. His many awards include an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, a Prix Benois de la Danse, an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from The Royal Academy of Dance in recognition of his standing as one of the most influential figures in dance today.


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Carlos Acosta

Born in Havana in 1973, Carlos Acosta trained at The National Ballet School of Havana in Cuba. After winning a succession of awards, including 1990’s Prix De Lausanne, Carlos went on to dance professionally with the world’s most prestigious companies, with London’s Royal Ballet becoming his home.

Carlos retired from classical ballet in 2016, after 28 years, having performed almost every classical role from Spartacus to Romeo.

Carlos created many award winning shows throughout his ballet career including Tocororo, and Carlos Acosta and Friends of the Royal Ballet. He also choreographed the Royal Ballet productions of Don Quixote and Carmen, plus the latest Guys and Dolls production for the West End.  He has also written two books, including a work of fiction Pig’s Foot and his honest and heartfelt autobiography No Way Home. Yuli a film inspired by his life has premiered at the San Sebastian, Havana and Berlin Film Festivals to critical acclaim with the London Premiere in April 2019. Carlos has been nominated for a Best New Actor award from The 33rd Goya Awards Ceremony to be held in Seville in February 2019.  

Carlos’s extraordinary contribution to dance continues to this day and was recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2014 when he was awarded a CBE. In 2018 Carlos received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from The Royal Academy of Dance in recognition of his standing as one of the most influential figures in Dance today. His athleticism, the sheer joy of dancing as well as his tremendous ability to convey emotion, inspired a generation of dancers across the globe. His very touching story and the obstacles he has overcome speak for themselves.

The culture and history of Carlos’ homeland have been important influences throughout his career and will continue to be so following his establishment of his own dance company – Acosta Danza in 2016. The company tours the world with its vibrant combination of classical and contemporary, fused with Cuban elements of dance. In 2017 Carlos opened his first Dance Academy through the Carlos Acosta International Dance Foundation. The Foundation gives young dancers the same opportunities that he himself benefited from, by providing a three year dance training programme, free at the point of delivery in an inspirational setting.

Birmingham Royal Ballet

Based at Birmingham Hippodrome since 1990, Birmingham Royal Ballet is the United Kingdom’s leading classical ballet touring company performing a range of classical, heritage and contemporary ballets as well as ground-breaking new works with the aim of encouraging choreographers of the future. The company was originally established as Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, the touring sister company of the Royal Ballet, before relocating to Birmingham and changing its name to Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1990.

The company’s Director is the award-winning David Bintley CBE; the Chief Executive is Caroline Miller OBE; and the Music Director is Koen Kessels. Birmingham Royal Ballet is supported by the Arts Council England and by Birmingham City Council. It performs at the Birmingham Hippodrome for approximately ten weeks of the year and the remainder of the year tours throughout the United Kingdom.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s own orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, is Britain's busiest ballet orchestra, playing for Birmingham Royal Ballet's wide-ranging programme in the UK and abroad. The Sinfonia also plays frequently for The Royal Ballet and many of the world's other leading ballet companies.