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Black British Ballet

Ben Love

Ethnic heritage: Black British(Kenyan Mother)

Training: ArtsEd and Russian Ballet School, New York

Ballet career: Ben Love, born in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, moved to the UK with his mother at the age of nine. Growing up in Nottingham, Love was initially scouted to be a professional footballer with Everton Football Club and excelled in the sport. However, at the age of 16, a performance by the Dance Theatre of Harlem inspired him to begin his training in ballet. Love was offered a scholarship at the Rambert School and Arts Education School in London and went on to study ballet in New York.

Love became the first black male lead soloist dancer with major European ballet companies including the Portuguese National Ballet, London City Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre and Norwegian National Ballet. He has taught boys ballet at The Royal Academy of Dance, Rambert Studios, Royal Ballet Upper School, Studio Harmonique in Paris, and worked as a guest teacher in a range of other education establishments.

Love saw the lack of diversity in repertoire, education and representation for black and Asian dancers in ballet which drove him to establish the Ballet Soul company in 2018 with an educational programme, infused with African storytelling.

Ballet Soul’s projects include:

  • Othello21 ballet which began development in 2020 and appeared at the Royal Academy of Dance Theatre. A creative film of this performance was produced in 2021 and was filmed around London.

  • Tales of Africa is a black lead and artistically diverse theatre dance project that took place with Theatre Peckham.

  • Awakening, the first African ballet to be commissioned by Royal Opera House, commissioned by Push with performances at Sadler's Wells

  • A Season of new Ballet Soul commissioned by Push at the Linbury Studio Theatre

  • Rebirth of Dance at the Royal Opera House

  • Aida at the Opera House in Bergen, Norway

  • Company choreography and studio performances including Seven Pieces private performance at English National Ballet, the Mayfly Ballet private performance at the Royal Opera House and Rite of Spring workshop and performance at English National Ballet.

Dance career: Love has performed in Nixon In China with the Mark Morris Company (New York, London Coliseum), Sylvie Guillem’s Company European Tour of Bolero by Maurice Bejart, (featuring choreography) and Night Creature by Alvin Ailey with The National Ballet of Norway. He also appeared in A Simple Man, by Gillian Lynne at the Diamond Jubilee Royal Variety Performance for Her Majesty The Queen.

My philosophy is that everybody has soul. Ballet Soul works with all dancers, from young beginners to professionals, to unlock their passion and potential.
- Ben Love