One of the world’s most acclaimed dancers has been appointed Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Ethan Stiefel – currently a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and Dean of The School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts – will take up the position next year.
“This is a huge coup for the RNZB,” said RNZB General Manager Amanda Skoog. “Ethan is one of the most talented dancers currently performing in the world, but on top of that, he’s a fantastic teacher and I have no doubt he will not only be an inspiring mentor but he will lead the RNZB to a new level of recognition and excellence.”
Stiefel, who is currently based in New York City and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said he is looking forward to building on the RNZB’s excellent reputation while at the same time “seeking to be a fresh, innovative and inspiring leader for the RNZB”.
Born in Pennsylvania, Stiefel has a close affinity with New Zealand, his grandmother was born and raised in Christchurch and he has relatives in Invercargill and Manapouri.
Stiefel said he and partner in life Gillian Murphy, also a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, were looking forward to the new adventures his appointment would bring.
“I am enormously appreciative and enthusiastic about having been appointed the next Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Becoming RNZB’s Artistic Director provides me with an exceptional opportunity to professionally and personally evolve and to contribute to the art form I truly love.”
“It is very encouraging to see how much the company has already achieved, the potential it possesses and how the nation embraces its national ballet company. I look forward to building on the company’s fine reputation, while seeking to be a fresh, innovative and inspiring new leader for the RNZB in any way I can. Both myself and my partner in life; American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer, Gillian Murphy, are ready for this new chapter in our lives and wholeheartedly make a commitment to the new adventures and prospects it holds.”
“I also look forward to connecting with my relatives living in New Zealand today and, being a sports enthusiast with Kiwi blood, to supporting the All Blacks!”.

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