My NYB story – Jonathan Payn

Over the coming months we are highlighting the work of our incredible alumni here on our website and on our social media channels. Our network of alumni span the globe and have taken up a wide range of careers. Below NYB alum, Jonathan Payn, tells us about his journey from NYB to Birmingham Royal Ballet;


I would not be a professional dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet were it not for my time with National Youth Ballet.  As I danced on Sadler’s Wells stage as a founder member of the company I knew instantly that I had found my vocation and later, while still with the company, my future director Sir Peter Wright, spotted me and followed my progression throughout my training.

But it wasn’t just the invaluable performance opportunities offered by National Youth Ballet that helped shape me as a person and dancer.  I learnt the value of working together as a team towards a common goal and the importance of professionalism and excellence – vital attributes for a career in dance.   In later years I choreographed several pieces for the company, exploring my own creativity and learning how to get the best out of my fellow company members.

This is my National Youth Ballet story.  What is truly wonderful is that my experience has been replicated by so many other young aspiring dancers.  It is so exciting to see former members having successful careers on stage, behind the scenes and in other walks of life and I know so many owe their own personal development to their time as company members.  it is a fantastic and continuing legacy of National Youth Ballet that generations of dancers have benefited from the opportunities of working with the company.

Jonathan Payn


If you are a former student of NYB please complete our short alumni survey to let us know what you are up to now, and if we have permission we will profile your work on our social media channels to encourage more alumni to share their stories and keep our alumni network alive.


Photo: Jonathan Payn in production of Theseus (1992), photographer Anthony Crickmay

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