Matthew Ball on Swan Lake, 'dad dancing' and becoming the Royal Ballet's youngest star

Matthew Ball at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Matthew Ball at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Credit: Clara Molden

Matthew Ball had just arrived home after a long day of rehearsals and was about to tuck into his takeaway burrito when his phone buzzed. It was Kevin O’Hare, director of the Royal Ballet. “I don’t usually get calls from Kevin at that time of night so I was like, ‘Bloody hell, this is definitely serious’,” says Ball.

The curtain had not yet fallen on the first act of Giselle but American star David Hallberg, who was playing Giselle’s lover, Albrecht, had injured his calf. Ball, a first soloist with the company, needed to get to the Royal Opera House – fast.

“I said, ‘Am I coming to stand in the wings in case he can’t do it or am I coming because you need me to do it?’ ” says Ball. “Kevin said:...

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