News: David Wall dies aged 67

Wednesday 19 June 2013 by Carmel Smith

David Wall, Dame Beryl Grey with Daria Klimentova. Photo: John Ross, 2005

David Wall, who died this week at the age of 67, became the youngest male Principal in the history of the Royal Ballet at the age of 21. A frequent partner to Dame Margot Fonteyn, he retired from the Royal Ballet in 1984. In 1985 Wall joined the Royal Academy of Dance, as Director and General Secretary. From 1991 we became Guest Repetiteur with London City Ballet, and joined English National Ballet as Ballet Master in 1995.

Kevin O’Hare, director of the Royal Ballet, paid tribute to David Wall today:

“Everyone associated with The Royal Ballet, past and present, is deeply saddened by the death of David Wall. He was a truly exceptional artist and star of The Royal Ballet and one of its greatest dance actors. A fine classical dancer and a consummate partner, he possessed a dramatic intensity that allowed him to dance and create a huge variety of roles, all with equal success. It was these gifts that led Kenneth MacMillan to create the role of the manipulative and calculating Lescaut for him in Manon in 1974 and then, in 1978, the ground breaking role of Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling which is, to this day, the most challenging male role in The Royal Ballet’s repertoire. It was an unforgettable experience for all us who saw him perform it.
David was a wonderful role model for all young male dancers of the generation that followed him and on his retirement from the stage he became an inspirational teacher and coach, committed to passing on his knowledge and experience, especially in so many of the roles he had made his own.
He will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his wife Alfreda, former Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet, and his family.”

Read our obituary by Graham Watts

Rupert Christiansen remembers him in the Telegraph:

David Wall was one of ballet’s nice guys – a cheeky chappie, a mucker-in and a trouper, hugely popular among his colleagues and blessed with a lovely wife (the ballerina Alfreda Thorogood) and a large family. How sad that cancer has robbed him of the long and happy old age he richly deserved… Read more

Also see obituaries in the Guardian and the Independent.

Photo: David Wall, Dame Beryl Gray with Daria Klimentova – John Ross, 2005

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