Ty King-Wall, a decorated dancer, pictured left performing in The Sleeping Beauty, is the new artistic director for the Royal NZ Ballet.
New Zealander Ty King-Wall has been appointed the new artistic director of the Royal NZ Ballet, Aotearoa’s national professional ballet organisation.
King-Wall takes over from Patricia Barker, who left the company earlier this year after 5½ years to move back to the United States.
He completes the company’s new executive team alongside its board of trustees and executive director Tobias Perkins.
Barker had led the company through the pandemic but her tenure as artistic director was mired in controversy, not least because her husband, former ballet master Michael Auer, was banned from company premises after at least three complaints were made about his behaviour by dancers.
Perkins replaced executive director Lester McGrath who left his role at the organisation in November last year.
Perkins came to New Zealand from the United Kingdom after nearly seven years at Leeds’ Northern Ballet, including a stint as its interim executive director.
The company’s board chairperson Dame Kerry Prendergast said its new senior leadership team was a ballet “brains trust” of arts leaders who had global views but local understanding, who would help guide the company into the future.
According to a statement, King-Wall was born in Waihi and is currently a dancers’ director on the board of the Australian Ballet.
“It is such an honour,” he said of his appointment, adding the company inspired him to become a dancer.
A decorated dancer who has performed internationally in a wide variety of roles, King-Wall studied at Tauranga’s Dance Education Centre and the NZ School of Dance in Wellington before leaving the country to train at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, where he graduated as dux with honours.
He was accepted into the Australian Ballet in 2006, and was promoted to principal artist in 2013. His choreographic debut, The Art of War, was performed that year. He retired from the Australian Ballet last year, and is currently a teacher with the Australian Ballet School.
King-Wall is also the founding director of Tailored Ballet Coaching, a Melbourne-based ballet coaching clinic, and did his master’s thesis research on the retirement motivations and career demographics of professional ballet dancers.
Perkins said he looked forward to working with King-Wall and he was hoping for a “sustained period of artistic excellence” for the company.
King-Wall will move from Melbourne to Wellington and start his position at the Royal NZ Ballet in November.