The Dancers

Luke Cooper

JX3668 Artist Luke Cooper. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

Luke Cooper joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet full-time in 2018 as the Todd Scholar, and he was promoted to Artist in 2019.

Luke was born in Palmerston North and started dancing at a young age. He joined the New Zealand School of Dance Associate programme at the age of twelve, moving to Wellington to join the full-time training programme in 2014. During his time at NZSD, he excelled in roles such as the second movement pas de deux in Kenneth Macmillan’s Concerto and the closing pas de deux from Jiří Bubeníček’s Dance Gallantries. As a student, Luke also performed in the RNZB’s productions of Adrian Burnett’s Don Quixote (2015), Francesco Ventriglia’s The Wizard of Oz (2016) and, after graduating, in Roland Petit’s Carmen and L’Arlésienne (2017).

Since joining the RNZB in 2018, Luke has danced in a vibrant repertoire of ballets. He started 2018 with performances in the RNZB’s production of The Piano: the ballet. He was also featured in the documentary The Heart Dances – The Journey of The Piano: the ballet, directed by Rebecca Tansley, which followed the creation process for the ballet adaptation of Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed film The Piano. Luke further performed in Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tënze and the premiere of Penny Saunders’ So to Speak and Danielle Rowe’s Remember, Mama and Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker. A highlight from the 2018 season was Tutus on Tour where Luke performed alongside Sir Jon Trimmer in Loughlan Prior’s The Long and the Short of It.

In 2019, Luke delved into exploring his cultural heritage as a descendant of the Te Arawa iwi, leading the haka in Moss Patterson’s Hine for the New Choreographic Series. He has danced roles in Mário Radačovský’s Black Swan, White Swan, George Balanchine’s Serenade and William Forsythe’s Artifact II. Luke finished off 2019 with great success performing the ‘camp, melodramatic’ role of the Transformed Witch in Loughlan Prior’s Hansel & Gretel.

2020 began with Luke revisiting Danielle Rowe’s Remember Mama, dancing the Adult Son for Tutus on Tour. He finished the year dancing an array of roles in The Sleeping Beauty, including Puss in Boots. 2021 brought Luke performances in Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg’s Giselle, Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Andrea Schermoly’s Within Without. In 2022, he performed as The Fab Five’s Karl in Loughlan Prior’s Cinderella, and also had roles in Alice Topp’s Aurum, Sarah Foster-Sproull’s The Autumn Ball and Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles™. As part of the digital season Ballet Bites he performed in Shaun James Kelly’s Alba, Sarah Foster-Sproull’s Artemis Rising and Andrea Schermoly’s Within Without.

Luke is supported by Nikko Asset Management.

Dancer Credits

Sechs Tänze

The Nutcracker

Spanish Chocolate

The Nutcracker

Russian Caviar

Hansel & Gretel

Transformed Witch

The Sleeping Beauty

Puss in Boots

The Sleeping Beauty




A Midsummer Night's Dream