About Deborah Bull

Ballet star and broadcaster

Deborah Bull

The world-renowned ballerina shares her passion for music and dance on Classic FM at the Ballet, in association with Bolshoi Unseen, a season she is hosting on Sky Arts 2 HD.

  • Born in Derby, Deborah studied dance from the age of seven, first locally, and then at the Royal Ballet School. Whilst there she won the 1980 Prix de Lausanne, a prestigious international ballet competition.
  • Deborah was invited to join The Royal Ballet in 1981. She was promoted through the ranks and gained principal status in 1992, immediately following the company's opening performance in Japan, at which she danced the role of Gamzatti in La Bayadere.
  • During her 20 years at The Royal Ballet, Deborah danced a wide range of roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Kitri in Don Quixote.
  • In 1995 William Forsythe staged for her the first performance in the UK of his ballet Steptext. She was nominated for a 1996 Olivier Award in the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Dance’ Category for her interpretation.
  • Deborah retired from The Royal Ballet in August 2001 to take up a new position at the Royal Opera House as Creative Director, ROH2, overseeing the programme in the theatre’s alternative performance spaces. In 2008, she was made Creative Director of the Royal Opera House.
  • In addition to her work as a dancer, Deborah has regularly written and lectured on the arts. From 1999 to 2001 she had a regular column, ‘Private View’ in The Telegraph.
  • Deborah has presented live TV coverage from the Royal Opera House and Sadlers Wells. In June 2001, she presented the Eurovision Young Dancer competition, broadcast live to 18 European nations. Her three part, award winning series, The Dancer's Body, was screened in September and October 2002.
  • Deborah is a patron of the National Osteoporosis Society, National Youth Ballet, sits on the artistic committee of the Prix de Lausanne and is an Honorary Vice President of Voices of British Ballet.
  • She was named a CBE in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
  • In 2012 Deborah joined King's College London to provide leadership and direction to its wide range of collaborations with the cultural sector. As Director, Cultural Partnerships, she has established King's Cultural Institute and is leading on the development of Science Gallery at King's.

    Did you know? 

    Deborah has a passionate interest in health and fitness, and has taught nutrition to the students of the Royal Ballet School.