Iain Mackay in The Royal Ballet School students smiling with students

Iain Mackay joins The Royal Ballet School as International Artistic Manager

We are delighted to share the news that alumnus Iain MacKay will be joining the School in January in the part-time role of International Artistic Manager. As International Artistic Manager, Iain will shape the direction of our International Intensive courses, masterclasses and auditions.

Our Artistic Director, Christopher Powney, said:

I believe Iain’s knowledge, experience and appetite to help advance The Royal Ballet School’s international profile will be of great benefit to the School. I look forward to working with him.

About Iain Mackay

Born in Glasgow, Iain trained at The Royal Ballet School. He was invited to join Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1999 and was promoted to Principal in 2003. Iain joined Corella Ballet Spain in 2007, dancing Principal roles in the company’s repertoire before re-joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2010. In 2014 Iain was appointed the first Male Dance Ambassador and Trustee of the Royal Academy of Dance. He ended his professional dancing career in 2018. Since 2018, Iain has been Director of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars and in 2020, he became a Governor of The Royal Ballet Companies.

We spoke with Iain about his career and appointment to the School.

Royal Ballet School: Congratulations on your new role with the School! How do you feel about returning to the School you trained at?

Iain Mackay: It’s a great honour to be joining Christopher Powney and the incredible team at The Royal Ballet School. My time at the School had a huge impact on my development as a young dancer and created opportunities for me to go on and enjoy a wonderful career in the professional world of dance.

Royal Ballet School: What are some of your best memories at School?

Iain Mackay: I’ll never forget the first weeks at the School seeing the stars of The Royal Ballet (my heroes) in class, walking past them in the corridors: Darcey Bussell, Deborah Bull, Sylvie Guillem, Tetsuya Kumakawa, Irek Mukhamedov and Jonathan Cope. It was so inspiring and it never got old! There was also being in a class with so many incredibly talented and focused dancers from all over the world; that was an incredible experience. The different languages, cultures, styles of dancing that I was being exposed to by my peers was fascinating to me. Another memory would be dancing Albrecht (from Giselle) at the School’s performance at Opera Holland park, that was a bit of a ‘pinch me’ moment!

Royal Ballet School: Since you left the School, you had an amazing dancing career with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Corella Ballet Spain. What were some of your highlights?

Iain Mackay: Sounds cliché but they were all highlights! I was very lucky to have worked with some of the industry’s leading choreographers, dancers and musicians and I loved every moment of it. Towards the end of my career I performed The Sleeping Beauty in Japan with Tamara Rojo which was a special performance for me. I genuinely felt lucky at every step of my career to have had the opportunities I did and I just worked hard to make the most of those.

Royal Ballet School: What are you most excited about in your new role?

Iain Mackay: The Royal Ballet School is a world leader in dance training. Being able to take the School’s work to other countries and create opportunities for students to have a Royal Ballet School experience be it through an intensive course, a masterclass or the opportunity to audition to join the School, without them having to travel to the UK, is really exciting. There is so many talented dancers across the world who will go on to be the stars of the future and excite new audiences. To be able to help support those young dancers at the start of their journey and through the School’s ethos and inspiring teaching is really exciting to me.

Royal Ballet School: What are your hopes for the future of our international programmes?

Iain Mackay: I think there is a wonderful opportunity to expand and increase the School’s international programmes and training offerings. We live in a global society and in order to continue to diversify and keep the art form moving forward, it is crucial that we create opportunities for young dancers around the world to experience world class teaching. I hope to take our courses to many different countries and to reach students across the globe who have not yet discovered their true potential and love of dance.

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