Céline Gittens Promoted to Principal at Birmingham Royal Ballet


Céline Gittens joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2006. She became First Artist in 2009,  Soloist, 2011, and finally, prompted to Principal in July of 2016. In 2012, Gittens became the first black ballerina to dance the twin roles of Odette and Odile in Swan Lake in the United Kingdom.









Céline Gittens was born in Trinidad and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She started her dance training at the age of three, under the guidance of her mother, Janet Gittens before joining the Vancouver Goh Ballet Academy in 2001. Gittens was awarded RAD Solo Seal, 2004, Gold Medal and Audience Award, Adeline Genée Awards, 2005; Finalist, Prix de Lausanne, 2006 the year she joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet, in Birmingham in the West Midlands There she was made first artist in 2009, soloist in 2011, first soloist in 2015, and principal in July 2016. She holds a Masters of Philosophy from University of Birmingham, 2012.

See Céline Gittens

Francesca Hayward Promoted to Principal at Royal Ballet

Rhapsody by the Royal Ballet

Francesca Hayward trained at The Royal Ballet School and graduated into the Company during the 2010/11 Season. Hawyard was promoted to First Artist in 2013, Soloist in 2014, First Soloist in 2015 and finally, Principal in 2016. In the same year, Hayward won the Grishko Award For Best Female Dancer at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.







Born in Nairobi, Kenya, and raised in West Sussex, England, Hayward joined the junior section of the Royal Ballet School at the age of 9. She progressed to the Royal Ballet Upper School in 2008. As a student, Hayward won the 2009 Lynn Seymour Award for Expressive Dance and the 2010 Young British Dancer of the Year Award. She was also awarded the silver medal and Audience Choice Award at the 2010 Genee International Ballet Competition. In 2014, Hayward won the Best Emerging Artist Award. In November 2018, Hayward joined the cast of Cats. She danced the role of Victoria in the film directed by Tom Hooper. Following filming her role, she returned to performing with The Royal Ballet in May 2019, dancing the role of Juliet alongside Cesar Corrales in Romeo and Juliet.

See: Francesca Hayward

Other Happenings in 2016

Dance/ Ballet

  • December: Michael DePrince promoted to soloist at Dutch National Ballet



  • Sept. 14: Carla Hayden was confirmed as the first woman African-American head of the Library of Congress.
  • Sept. 24: Pres. Barack Obama opened National Museum of African-American History & Culture in Washington, DC.
  • Nov. 8: Donald Trumps wins the presidency while losing the popular vote.
  • Dec. 15: The Obama administration suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the hacking of Democratic officials before the November election.


  • April 3:  Panama Papers published – 11.5 million confidential documents from offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca expose widespread illegal activities including fraud, kleptocracy, tax evasion and the violation of international sanctions by the world’s elite in the world’s largest ever data leak
  • April 22: A record 175 countries, including the world’s top polluters China and the United States, sign the Paris Climate Accords
  • June 23: In a referendum, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. In the days following the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron resigns.
  • July 14: Terror strikes France when a truck smashes into a crowd in Nice watching Bastille Day fireworks.
  • Nov. 25: Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, dies at the age of ninety.
  • December 12: Portugal’s Antonio Guterres becomes the ninth UN Secretary General.

Arts and Sciences 

  • February 11: Scientists say they have glimpsed gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein.
  • July 26: Solar Impulse 2 becomes the first aircraft to circle the globe powered only by the sun.
  • December: 2016 named The Best Year for Black Musicians Since Purple Rain

Human and Civil Rights 

  • March 30: Aung San Suu Kyi’s democracy movement takes power after 50 years of military rule in Myanmar
  • July 9: Thousands of people rallied in cities across the US for Black Lives Matter to protest police brutality and institutional racism


  • June 3: Muhammad Ali, celebrated boxer and activist, dies at the age of seventy-four.
  • August: Simone Biles became the first African-American and woman to bring home four Olympic gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single game at Rio de Janeiro Olympics
  • Aug 14: Usain Bolt wins coveted 100m gold medal at Rio de Janeiro Olympics – first man to win the event 3 times
  • Aug 26: San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick kneels in protest during the US national anthem, objecting to racial injustice and police brutality in the US

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