Cranko in context

Please remember that in the Catalogue section of Cranko: the Man and his Choreography you will find detailed listings of each and every Cranko work, and includes main casts, venues, designers, composer etc., etc.

Here, however, is a brief summary.

Cranko’s career

Born in South Africa, where he began his dance training and created his first ballets, Cranko left for London at the age of  18. He was never to return to South Africa. Accepted into the then-named Sadler’s Wells Ballet School he joined the company and learned much from Ninette de Valois and Frederick Ashton, not to mention such luminaries as Benjamin Britten and John Piper. 

Cranko’s originality and theatrical flair earned him the position of Resident Choreographer at Sadler’s Wells Ballet – soon to become the Royal Ballet. John Cranko was a man whose love of theatre and insatiable curiosity about life made him venture into other fields of theatre. These included musicals  and revues – his show Cranks was a smash hit in London.  


By 1960 a series of flops and a scandal  had caused his star to wane in England, Cranko took up the position of artistic director in Stuttgart. His work with the Stuttgart Ballet enjoyed phenomenal success in USA, Russia and Europe. Fifty years after his tragically early death, Cranko’s story ballets such as Onegin, Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew continue to enrich ballet audiences on four continents.

Click on When and where? (in Cranko in Context menu above) for a list of Cranko’s main productions.