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Male dancer in green and purple costume kicks his left leg high into the air.

Announcing our new Artistic Director

Northern Ballet has announced Federico Bonelli as the Company’s new Artistic Director.

Federico is currently a Principal dancer at The Royal Ballet where he has enjoyed a career at the highest level, dancing the company’s leading roles. He trained at the Turin Dance Academy and danced with Zürich Ballet and Dutch National Ballet before joining The Royal Ballet in 2003. He has performed as a guest dancer with many leading companies around the world and has received several awards.

In 2019 Federico graduated from the Clore Leadership Programme (The Clore Fellowship) and he is a non-executive director and member of the Board of Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA). He curated the programme for The Royal Ballet activities in Doncaster as part of the Doncaster Creates festival, prior to its pandemic postponement and has coached Royal Ballet repertory, helping to nurture and develop the high standards of the company’s dancers.

He co-facilitates The Royal Ballet’s Inclusivity Focus Group and is a member of the external steering group of Chance to Dance, The Royal Ballet’s outreach talent development programme that aims to remove the barriers to a diverse talent pipeline into vocational training and the ballet and dance profession.

Black and white headshot of Federico Bonelli, looking away from the camera.
Federico Bonelli leaps in the air, two arms above his head, one foot pointed at the floor and the other foot pointed parallel to the floor.

On announcing the appointment Sir David Wootton, Chairman of Northern Ballet, said:

‘The Board of Northern Ballet is delighted that Federico Bonelli is joining us as Artistic Director. Succession to David Nixon OBE, after the massive achievements of David’s 21 years as Artistic Director, has required and received a prolonged, thorough, wide-ranging and diverse search, supported by the best advice, which has resulted in an appointment of the highest quality.'

'Federico joins us at the height of his career as a dancer with The Royal Ballet and he will bring to us the benefit of his experience there and at his previous companies, his manifest wish to establish a career with us in artistic leadership and a clear vision for the artistic future of Northern Ballet, enhancing and building on its classical foundations and taking us forward with new perspectives and new ideas.'

'I am grateful to those of my Board colleagues who have worked hard on this search, to the Northern Ballet dancers and staff who have also been involved, to our advisers and to Arts Council England for their engagement in the process. We are all very pleased with this appointment, which will do so much to set the direction for the brightest of futures for Northern Ballet.’

Federico himself said:

‘I am thrilled to be joining Northern Ballet as its new Artistic Director and I can’t wait to begin working with this exceptional group of dancers and creatives. Through its history and most recently under David Nixon’s distinguished directorship, Northern Ballet has rightly been renowned for its bold approach to narrative ballet, and it is an honour to build on this legacy.'

'We are at an exciting moment for the Company, which is based in Leeds and across the north, yet rooted in the whole of England and the UK. I cannot wait to leverage its wide-ranging touring to connect with wider audiences and bring outstanding ballet to as many people as possible.'

'I have been very impressed by the Board and team’s vision and I am excited to lead on how best to bring a diversity of perspectives and experiences represented in the stories we tell on stage. I can’t wait to bring my ideas and contribution to the Company’s vibrant offering and propel it to its future successes.’

Mark Skipper DL, Chief Executive of Northern Ballet, added:

‘I could not be happier with the appointment of Federico Bonelli as Northern Ballet’s new Artistic Director. I am delighted that an artist of his calibre will be joining us in this role and look forward to working with him to take Northern Ballet to even greater heights over the coming years.’

Last year Northern Ballet announced that Artistic Director David Nixon OBE would be stepping down after more than 20 years at the helm. Federico will now begin to work closely with colleagues at Northern Ballet on vital future planning alongside fulfilling his existing commitments with The Royal Ballet. His tenure will begin formally on 1 May.

Photo credits

Header: Federico Bonelli as Leontes in Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale. Photo Tristram Kenton / ROH.

Federico Bonelli. Photo by Andrej Uspenski / ROH.

Federico Bonelli in The Royal Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. Photo by Bill Cooper / ROH.