Shaun James Kelly joined the RNZB in 2014. In 2018, New Zealand audiences were privileged to see him as the Reverend Campbell in The Piano: the ballet, in both works by Jiří Kylián in Dancing with Mozart and in three works in Strength & Grace, including as one of the ‘sons’ in Danielle Rowe’s Remember, Mama. He closed the year performing the roles of the Nutcracker and Chinese Tea in The Nutcracker. In 2017, Shaun made his debut as Frédéri in L’Arlesienne by Roland Petit and Mercutio in Francesco Ventriglia’s Romeo and Juliet. Other highlights to date include Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, first male soloist in Johan Kobborg’s Les Lutins, the Fiddler in A Christmas Carol, solo in Jiří Kylián Soldier’s Mass, roles in all three works in 2016’s Speed of Light, including William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and Puck in Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a role he subsequently reprised in both Hong Kong and Wellington at the end of 2016. Other international performances include the Wedding Couple pas de deux in Johan Kobborg and Ethan Stiefel’s Giselle, works by Andrew Simmons and Neil Ieremia, and Andonis Foniadakis’s Selon désir in the UK and Italy.
Born in Perth, Scotland, Shaun trained at the Dance School of Scotland before undertaking training at the English National Ballet School. While at the School he toured and performed with English National Ballet in a number of productions and also with Scottish Ballet
On graduating in 2011, Shaun took up a contract with the Tivoli Ballet Theatre in Copenhagen, where he danced solo roles in Bournonville repertoire including Napoli, La Ventana, Flower Festival at Genzano and Le Conservatoire. He also took the title roles in Dinna Bjorn’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier and danced the Nutcracker Prince in Peter Bo Bendixen’s The Nutcracker.
Shaun was the winner of the 2016 RNZB Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award for his work Blanc. He subsequently created Aura for Tutus on Tour 2017 and, also in 2017, choreographed a work for eight RNZB dancers that featured in New Zealand designer Andrea Moore’s catwalk show at New Zealand Fashion Week. Shaun was appointed as Choreographer in Residence with the RNZB in 2018. He created a short work, Little Red, for Te Papa’s school holiday programme in 2018, and in 2019 was commissioned to create his first work for the RNZB’s main stage as part of the Choreographic Series.
The Piano: the ballet