I have known Douglas from my Stuttgart days. I have been a fan since then. I loved to go to watch his pieces at the Stuttgart Ballet. I always said to him that American companies would love his physicality!  His down to earth personality made me love his work even more… I admired his position also. I mean it sounds like a fun job to be a house choreographer! Now he travels all over the world creating and setting his ballets on other companies as well. Somehow I think he is just getting started!


Douglas Lee, born 1977 in London, England, is a British choreographer. A former principal dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet, his ballets have been premiered by Stuttgart Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, New York City Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre, and several other European ballet companies.

Born in England Douglas Lee started his ballet training at the Arts Educational Schools London and then received a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School, where he graduated in 1996, winning the Alicia Markova Award.

Douglas Lee then joined The Stuttgart Ballet; his promotion to Principal Dancer followed in 2002. As a principal dancer, Lee danced many roles for choreographers such as John Cranko, Jiri Kylian, John Neumeier, Hans Van Manen, Glen Tetley, George Balanchine and William Forsythe.

Douglas made his choreographic debut in February 1999 for the Stuttgart-based Noverre Society’s ‘Young Choreographers’, upon which he was commissioned to create a new work for the Stuttgart Ballet. He also participated twice at the New York Choreographic Institute to work with dancers of The New York City Ballet.

With Aubade and Lachrymal, Lee presented his first works for the Stuttgart Opera House; new creations for the Stuttgart Ballet also included Viewing Room, Dummy Run and Leviathan. His tenth work for the Stuttgart Ballet, Nightlight, premiered in March 2010. Following his choreographic success in Stuttgart, he became a freelance choreographer working internationally.

His creation Fanfare LX for the Stuttgart Ballet was taken into the repertoire of the Staatsballett Berlin. He created Fractured Wake and returned to create 5 for Silver for the Norwegian National Ballet, Rubicon Play for the Royal Ballet of Flanders and Lifecasting set to the music of Steve Reich for the New York City Ballet, which was shortlisted in Time Out NY as one of the outstanding dance works of 2009 and taken into the Stuttgart Ballet repertoire.

He then created Miniatures and Aria for the Stuttgart Ballet, Souvenir for Perm Opera Ballet Theatre which received 3 Golden Mask Award Nominations, Septet for Tulsa Ballet, Iris and A-Life for Ballet Zurich, Chimera for Ballet Augsburg, Legion for Netherlands Dance Theatre 2, PianoPiece for Theater Dortmund, The Fade for Ballet Mainz, Doll Songs for Ballet Nuremberg, Ophelia for Ballet de l’Opéra national du Rhin and Playground for Atlanta Ballet. His creation Snow Was Falling for Perm Opera Ballet Theatre received the Golden Mask Award for best choreographer 2016.

You can follow Douglas and his choreographic adventures on Instagram like I do!


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to do what you’re doing now?

 I do remember performing dance routines as a kid for my parents and then listening to them critique my ’work’ afterwards …which they still do 🙂

Your Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. I actually prefer Mary Poppins.

Douglas Lee_Interview En L'air

MINIATURES, Stuttgart Ballet

Favorite Things to eat?


Favorite Books?

Glamorama by Brett Easton Ellis is a good book

Favorite Movies?

I’ve watched Rosemary’s Baby so many times I know every word

Favorite Dance Piece or Show/Musical or both?

I saw Anthony Hopkins starring in M. Butterfly years ago in the West End and remember being really impressed

Douglas Lee_Interview En L'air

A-LIFE, Ballet Zurich, Photo: Bettina Stöss

I like dancers who…

Quickly tap into the choreographic themes I have set and and then within those parameters take my vision further with their own creativity

I am afraid of…

Being late ……especially to the airport makes me very anxious

A dance piece should…

…be well rehearsed 😉

Douglas Lee_Interview En L'air

LIFECASTING, New York City Ballet, Photo: Paul Kolnik

Something you like to do other than your current job?

I do like to daydream a lot.

One of the happiest moments in your life?

Probably one Christmas as a kid but professionally being cast in some of my favorite ballets and also being commissioned to create new pieces.

Douglas Lee_Interview En L'air

LEGION NDT2 Photo: Joris-Jan Bos

One of your most unusual or coolest experiences?

My brother paid for me and my family to go on an all expenses paid theme park holiday in Florida 3 years ago…that was pretty cool.

One of the most embarrassing moments in your professional career?


Who has been the most influential person/people in your life? or Career? and why?

My parents have been very supportive and encouraging in anything I was passionate about.

One of the hardest things about your job?

Having to promote myself.

What inspires you?


Douglas Lee_Interview En L'air

CHIMERA, Ballett Augsburg, Photo: Phillip Koenig

Do you have any goals you still wish to achieve?

Running my own company.

A question you want to know the answer to:

Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go?……that’s 3 though.

A piece of advice for aspiring artists?

Hard work is never a waste. Try not forget why you started. Take the work seriously but not yourself!

Douglas Lee_Interview En L'air

Photo: Anton Zavjyalov

Main photo: Anton Zavjyalov


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