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Sir Kenneth Macmillan

Past display archive
14 September 2002 - 23 March 2003

Rooms 31 & 32 


2002 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Sir Kenneth MacMillan who died during a performance of his ballet Mayerling at the Royal Opera House on 30th October 1992. An international celebration of the work of Sir Kenneth MacMillan begins in October 2002.

Born in Dunfermline on 11th December 1929 and brought up in Great Yarmouth, at the age of fifteen MacMillan was awarded a scholarship to the Sadler's Wells Ballet School. He was a founder member of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet in 1946, where he made his first experimental workshop ballets. MacMillan was a fine classical dancer, but it was as a choreographer that he excelled,

and, through his choice of complex and difficult subject matter, advanced the frontiers of ballet.

In 1955 Dame Ninette de Valois, Director of the Royal Ballet,
commissioned MacMillan's first professional ballet Danses Concertantes. He went on to create a succession of one-act and full-evening ballets that are now performed in company repertoires throughout the world. He served as Director of Ballet at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1966-1969), Resident Choreographer and Director with the Royal Ballet (1970-1977), Principal Choreographer of the Royal Ballet (1977-1992), and Artistic Associate of American Ballet Theatre (1984-1989). MacMillan was knighted in 1983.