Matthew Ball – A principal ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet

Matthew Ball is an English ballet dancer who is currently a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London.

His mother is a GCSE dance teacher and his father works in arts education. Matthew started dancing at age six, and entered the Royal Ballet Lower School at age 11. He moved to the Upper School at age 16 and graduated in 2013.

He has danced lead roles in the ballets such as classical version of Swan Lake, La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand and McGregor’s Infra. In 2020, Ball was featured in the BBC documentary Men at the Barre. Later that year, in the first series of performance since the Royal Opera House’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was broadcast online, Ball and Mayara Magri performed an extract from Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, after learning the pas de deux in five days.

Formby High banner

My schools:
Childwall C of E Primary School, The Royal Ballet School (White Lodge, Upper School Covent Garden).

My favourite teacher:
My favourite teacher was Mr Roberts, a kind gentleman at Childwall who was always fair and encouraging. I had lots of influential teachers at The Royal Ballet School almost too many to count. Many of them were interesting characters and deeply passionate about their craft.

My favourite subject at school:
My favourite subject at Primary School was always maths and history, dance took the driver’s seat by the time I was 10 or 11.

Were you streetwise or a bit of a geek?
I would say somewhere in between, I maybe had some geeky hobbies but having an older brother I wasn’t totally clueless either.

My favourite childhood singer/band:
My favourite band was Sum 41, I would be screaming the lyrics to their entire album in my bedroom. I think it was an early outlet for my energy and need to be expending it.

My favourite extra-curricular activity:
Dance, dance and dance. It did become an obsession for me by the time I was about nine years old, although I did also really enjoy karate and basketball.

Do you remember your first school crush?
Not really, I think I fell in love with my babysitter first.

My favourite book:
My favourite books growing up were the Brian Jaques tales of Redwall series and The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, I loved the fantasy elements as well as the idea of training and becoming stronger and more powerful.

School dinners:
I fell in and out of love with school dinners, potato smiley faces were a personal favourite otherwise it would be back to mum’s butties as a safe bet.

My ambitions at school:
Before wanting to become a dancer I dreamt of being a fireman. I wore a plastic helmet pretty much all day until my mum took it off my head once I fell asleep.

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