New director at Royal NZ Ballet

Updated at 9:54 pm on 1 September 2011

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has a new creative director - Ethan Stiefel - a former star of the American Ballet Theatre.

The company welcomed him on Thursday at the St James Theatre in Wellington.

Steifel, 38, has performed for some of the world's most renowned companies including the Kirov Ballet and the New York City Ballet.

More recently, he was dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina.

Born in Pennsylvania, he has family in New Zealand, including his grandmother who was born and raised here.

Fiancee Gillian Murphy has joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a principal dancer.

The first production of Stiefel's three-year tenure will be Sleeping Beauty.

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