John Cranko


Choreographer, Onegin

Born in South Africa, John Cranko moved to London in 1946 to join Sadler’s Wells Ballet. Within four years, he was named Resident Choreographer and during this time, he created some of his finest early ballets. Through the 1950s, Cranko created works for both the Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells branches of The Royal Ballet, notably Antigone, Bonne Bouche and The Lady and the Fool.

In 1957, Cranko choreographed his first full-length ballet, The Prince of the Pagodas. Shortly thereafter, he created La Belle Hélène for Paris Opéra Ballet and Romeo and Juliet for Teatro alla Scala. In 1960, he went to Stuttgart Ballet to restage Prince of the Pagodas and was asked to assume the directorship of the company in 1961. There he created the full-length ballets Onegin, Carmen and The Taming of the Shrew, while continuing to create short works and restage classics.

Cranko died tragically on an airplane bringing his company home from New York City in 1973.