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David Nixon, OBE

Artistic Director
David Nixon, OBE

David Nixon has been Artistic Director of Northern Ballet since 2001.

David trained as a dancer, first in his home town of Chatham, Ontario and then at the National Ballet School of Canada where his training began in earnest. It was during his time there that he first became interested in choreography, helping to revive a choreographic workshop with the approval of school director Betty Oliphant. After further training in Europe he returned to Canada to train with Erik Bruhn and the great Russian teacher, Eugene Valukin.

David’s career began at the National Ballet of Canada where he progressed rapidly through the ranks to become a Principal Dancer, dancing lead roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire. In 1985 he joined the Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin as Principal Dancer where he won the Critics’ Award for Best Male Performance (1987) and continued to increase his own choreographic output. This included producing and directing a successful mixed programme, David Nixon’s Liaisons, at the Hebbel Theatre, Berlin in 1990. David left Berlin for a series of Principal Guest Artist positions with National Ballet of Canada, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich and Royal Winnipeg Ballet before returning to Deutsche Oper Ballet in 1994 as First Ballet Master. His Guest Artist credits also include: Birmingham Royal Ballet, Komische Oper, Deutsche Staatsoper, Hamburg Ballet and Sydney City Ballet.

Since joining Northern Ballet, David has added an impressive array of new works to the repertoire including: Madame Butterfly, Wuthering Heights, the Gershwin extravaganza I Got Rhythm, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter Pan, Dracula, The Three Musketeers, A Sleeping Beauty Tale, The Nutcracker, Hamlet, Cleopatra, Beauty & the Beast and The Great Gatsby. Most recently, David created Cinderella which premièred in 2013 and was the Company’s highest grossing première season to date.In 1994 David became Artistic Director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio, USA. During his six years with the Company he added 16 world and 15 Company premières to the repertoire.

David’s productions have been staged worldwide including Europe, Canada, the USA and South Africa. Most recently he has reproduced Beauty & the Beast for the Israel Ballet and The Three Musketeers for Alberta Ballet in Calgary.

His work has received recognition. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Three Musketeers were nominated for an Olivier Award, The Three Musketeers won a Manchester Evening News (MEN) Theatre Award and Madame Butterfly and A Midsummer Night’s Dream were nominated for an MEN Award. The Great Gatsby was nominated for a National Dance Award (Best Classical Choreography) and a UK Theatre Award (Achievement in Dance) in 2013. Most recently Cinderella was nominated for a MEN Award.

David was voted Director of the Year by readers of Dance Europe in 2003 and 2006, and Northern Ballet received the audience award at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years (2004, 2005, 2006), and the Patron’s Award in 2009. In 2014 Northern Ballet won the award for Best Company at the inaugural Taglioni European Ballet Awards and was nominated for Outstanding Company at the 2015 and 2014 National Dance Awards.

In January 2010 David was awarded an OBE for his services to dance in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.