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Black British Ballet

Darren Panton

Ethnic heritage: Black British (Jamaican parents)

Year of birth: 1973

Training: Royal Ballet Lower and Upper Schools

Ballet career: Darren Panton was the first black dancer to graduate from the Royal Ballet School’s White Lodge. He has danced with Rambert Contemporary Dance Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet and London City Ballet. He also worked with the Royal Ballet’s Chance To Dance programme as a teacher.

Creative career: Panton has performed in many theatre productions including The Lion King and Notre Dame de Paris. He has appeared on television on The National Lottery Live and RAC commercials. In music videos, Panton has danced with artists like Blackstreet on Money Can’t Buy Love, Billie Piper and The Verve. He has performed with a wide array of artists including Beyonce, Usher, Diana Ross, Elton John and Kylie Minogue.

Panton’s varied career has also led him to be involved in fashion shows and he choreographed a Windrush Gala for the BBC. He has worked to build strong relationships between professional working artists and the community and has been an important role model at the Royal Opera House, The Place and the Greenhouse Charity organisation.

There’s one thing we all can be certain of: that we aren’t going to be here forever, but what we leave here lives in memories and what we achieved and how we may have helped others. Don’t let your dreams, desires and aspirations go with you to your grave, manifest them now. Don’t give up, work hard to create what and whom you want to be successfully and you will be rewarded. Falling isn’t a disaster in the end, it’s the building blocks for success. It makes you stronger. As a phoenix I rise.
- Darren Panton