Michael O’Hare has been awarded the gold medal for outstanding contribution to ballet by the Governors of the Royal Ballet Companies.
O’Hare is the Acting Assistant Director and Senior Ballet Master at Birmingham Royal Ballet. Born in Hull, he 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 where 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.
O’Hare 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.
O’Hare was presented with the award on stage at Sadler’s Wells just prior to the opening night of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Giselle on 1 November 2019. In attendance were Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers and orchestra members, the Governors of the Royal Ballet Companies and their Chair Dame Jenny Abramsky.
Dame Jenny Abramsky DBE, 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.’
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.’
The gold medal is awarded on an annual basis to someone who has made a unique contribution to the Royal Ballet companies.