Meet Aaron Robison

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Aaron Robison joined SF Ballet in 2016 as a principal dancer. Originally from Coventry, England, Aaron did not actively seek out classes or a career in ballet. Instead, he recalls, “I’d wait with my mum [after my sister’s ballet classes] until eventually the teacher said, ‘Why don’t you start too?’ So I did! I especially enjoyed the jumping part.” At age 10 his family moved to Barcelona, but Aaron stayed in England to attend the Royal Ballet School’s Junior Associates outreach program. He eventually moved back to Spain to be closer to his family and enrolled in ballet classes at La Companyia Juvenil de Ballet Clàssic de Catalunya. He notes,“One big moment, when I really knew I wanted to dance professionally, was when my mum bought me a video of Nureyev for Christmas. Something clicked and I realized that was what I wanted to do.”

He continued his training with Institut del Teatre until age 16 and eventually returned to the Royal Ballet School. He competed in the Prix de Lausanne, won the Young British Dancer of the Year competition, and received the gold medal at the 1st Seoul International Ballet Competition. Aaron went on to dance with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Angel Corella’s Barcelona Ballet (formerly Corella Ballet), and Houston Ballet, before joining our Company. We sat down with him for a brief Q&A:

Dores André and Aaron Robison in Tomasson's The Fifth Season. (© Erik Tomasson)

Dores André and Aaron Robison in Tomasson’s The Fifth Season. (© Erik Tomasson)

Why do you dance and where do you get your inspiration?
I honestly got the bug when I was young, and I continue to dance because I feel like I just need to, really. I feel that all my passion is for dance; it’s what makes me tick. I could really go on forever about who inspires me. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to appreciate new aspects of artists to pull inspiration from. A few who are especially meaningful to me are Baryshnikov, Manuel Legris, Angel Corella, Carlos Acosta, and Rudolf Nureyev.

What are the most memorable ballets and roles that you’ve danced?
It’s hard to knuckle down on just one, but among my favorites are definitely Oberon in Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Des Grieux in Manon, and Albrecht in Giselle. Also, Forsythe’s in the middle, somewhat elevated is among my favorites for its pure “just dance” aspect.

What has been your most challenging role to date?
Stanton Welch’s Giselle is pretty hard. He kept the original music, so each act is about an hour and 20 minutes long. Albrecht is a tough role by itself, but Stanton added extra phrases of dancing, so you really do dance to your death in the end!

What choreographers have you most enjoyed working with?
From the bottom of my heart, I have really enjoyed working with John Neumeier. He single-handedly changed the way I approach and look at every ballet. Working with him had a huge impact on my dancing. Other choreographers who have been really inspiring for me are Christopher Bruce, Wayne McGregor, and William Forsythe. They all share one common belief: dancing is not just about steps, but about the thought process behind the steps. Through their work, you can see why they are so world-renowned. They are just incredible.

What is it like for you live and dance in San Francisco?
Dancing for SF Ballet is a dream come true—I’ve always felt it is one of the best companies in the world. It is such an appealing company in the sense of how diverse and innovative it is. All the best choreographers in the world come here to create new work. I feel very lucky to be here. San Francisco itself it such a European city, so I feel closer to home being here, even though I am living farther away than ever before!

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