David Nixon, OBE
David Nixon has been Artistic Director of Northern Ballet since 2001.
David trained as a dancer, first in his hometown 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.
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.
Since joining Northern Ballet, David has added an impressive array of new works to the repertoire including Madame Butterfly, Wuthering Heights, 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, The Great Gatsby, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid.
David’s productions have been staged worldwide including Europe, Canada, the USA and South Africa. Most recently he reproduced The Great Gatsby for West Australian Ballet in 2017.
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 a 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. Cinderella was nominated for a Manchester Theatre 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 Taglioni European Ballet Awards. Northern Ballet won the Dance Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in 2016 and was nominated again in 2017. In 2016 the Company was also nominated for Achievement in Dance at the UK Theatre Awards. Northern Ballet has been nominated for Outstanding Company at the National Dance Awards for the last four consecutive years in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In January 2010 David was awarded an OBE for his services to dance in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.