Abbé Perrin (Director of...
Kenneth MacMillan was born in Dunfermline, Scotland and studied dance at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School (now the Royal Ballet) ultimately joining the company in 1946. His career truly began when he was recruited by Ninette de Valois for the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet, a smaller troupe that would become a genuine hotbed of talent. Though an excellent dancer, MacMillan suffered from stage fright so he opted to set his sights on choreography. His first ballet, Danses concertantes (1955—entering the Paris Opera Ballet’s repertoire in 1984), with a scenography by Nicholas Georgiadis—soon to be his preferred collaborator—revealed his tremendous creativity. In 1965, his Romeo and Juliet marked a significant evolution in the tradition of grand ballet, a core component of the Royal Ballet where he was resident choreographer. Despondent at Covent Garden’s refusal to stage his ballet based on Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, MacMillan accepted an offer to direct the Deutsche Oper in West Berlin. His colleague and friend John Cranko, director of the Stuttgart Ballet, suggested that he premiere Das Lied von der Erde in Stuttgart. He did and it was a huge success (the work entered the Paris Opera Ballet’s repertoire in 1978). That success was repeated a few months later when the work entered the repertoire of the Royal Ballet… In 1970, he returned to London to direct the Royal Ballet. His new creations there were given a mixed reception, including Manon (1974), which entered the repertoire of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1990. He resigned in 1977 to devote his time to choreography. An associate director of the American Ballet Theatre from 1984 to 1989, then associate artistic director of the Houston Ballet from 1989 until his death in 1992, he also created Métaboles and staged The Four Seasons (1978) and Danses concertantes (1984) for the Paris Opera Ballet.
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Institutions associated with the 350th anniversary