Born (1985-12-19)19 December 1985 (age 35) Nationality Australian Education Royal Ballet School Occupation Principal dancer Years active 2004– Spouse(s) Elizabeth Harrod Children 3 Current group The Royal Ballet
Steven McRae was raised in the Sydney suburb of Plumpton the son of a drag racer. He started dancing at age seven, after watching his older sister in her dance classes. He studied tap as well as ballet. He was soon being entered for the performing-arts competitions in Australia known as eisteddfods, often gracing 25 sections at a time. By his teens, already an extremely capable tapper, Steven McRae knew that his future lay in dance, and trained throughout high school.
In 2002, at age 16, he won the gold medal at the 2002 Genée held in Sydney that year. In 2003, at age 17, he won the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, earning a scholarship, and entered the Royal Ballet School in London.
He graduated into The Royal Ballet in 2004 and was promoted to first artist in 2005, soloist in 2006, first soloist in 2008 and principal in 2009. The Guardian has called McRae "a modern-day Fred Astaire". In 2014, he was named "Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK" for his work with the Royal Ballet.
In 2005, in his first season with the Royal Ballet, McRae jumped on the occasion to dance Symphonic Variations by Frederick Ashton, which is an iconic piece of the Royal Ballet. Symphonic Variations was Ashton's first work after World War II, and one of the Company's first to be performed on the huge main stage of the Royal Opera House.
In 2011, McRae originated the role of the Mad Hatter in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House. In 2014, he originated the role of Prince Florizel in Christopher Wheeldon's new full-length ballet The Winter's Tale.
"There is a moment before Steven McRae steps on stage that you easily can mistake for nerves and he has learnt over the years that it's not nerves, it's adrenaline and a slight sense of anxiety. It's almost impossible to dance as a soloist without this performance element."
He is frequently used in works from Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor such as Chroma, Multiverse, and Limen as he is very quick in picking up on McGregor's modern style as well as the way he can manipulate his body.
In January 2008, at 22, McRae partially tore his Achilles tendon and was told that not only would he never dance again but he would have an enduring limp. He found "a most incredible" Swedish surgeon and it took a year, until December 2008, to recover.
He started rehabilitation classes with his coach, Lesley Collier, and psychological rehabilitation, and studied for a BA Hons in business management and leadership. McRae completed his university degree whilst working full time.
He works still with Lesley Collier, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet from 1972 to 1995 and répétiteur since 2000, as his coach at the Royal Ballet.
During a live performance in October 2019, McRae again tore his Achiles tendon; he returned to performing in October 2021.
McRae's most marked characteristics are his speed and his red hair.
McRae is married to Elizabeth Harrod, soloist with the Royal Ballet, and they have one daughter, Audrey Bluebell, born in December 2014, and two sons, Frederick Charles, born in November 2016 and Rupert George, born in August 2019.
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland : Magician/Mad Hatter
- Sweet Violets : Jack
- Hansel and Gretel : Sandman
- Frankenstein : Creature
- Swan Lake : Siegfried
- Giselle : Albrecht
- Romeo and Juliet : Romeo
- Manon : Des Grieux
- The Sleeping Beauty : Prince Florimund
- Mayerling : Crown Prince Rudolf
- The Nutcracker : Sugar Plum Fairy's Cavalier
- 2002 : Genée International Ballet Competition, Gold Medal
- 2003 : Prix de Lausanne
- 2007 : Emerging Male Artist (Classical)
- 2012 : Best Male Dancer Awards at the Critics’ Circle Dance Awards
- 2014 : Young Australian Achiever in the UK by the Australia Day Foundation
- Mackrell, Judith. "Steven McRae – the ballet star who's a modern-day Fred Astaire". The Guardian. Retrieved14 February 2014.
- Steven McRae, website of the Royal Opera House.
- Steven McRae: Dancing at full throttle, by Mark Monahan, 26 April 2011, The Telegraph.
- Peter Theodosiou (16 August 2012). "Aaron on Ballet High". Blacktown Advocate. p. 51.
McRae is a fellow western Sydney resident, having grown up in Plumpton.
- "Steven McRae – Young Australian Achiever of the Year 2014". DanceTabs.com. Retrieved2 May 2014.
- Steven McRae Q&A, interview by Bloch from 2014 (9 min 31 s).
- Royal Ballet: Dream/Symphonic Variations/Marguerite and Armand, announcement for the performance scheduled on 7 June 2017, Times.
- Jennings, Luke. "The Winter's Tale review – 'a ballet to keep'". The Guardian. Retrieved3 June 2014.
- "The Royal Ballet has created a monster with Frankenstein – review". The Telegraph. Retrieved11 May 2017.
- The Royal Ballet’s Steven McRae on injury: turning weakness into strength, Gramilano, 6 February 2016.
- Steven McRae: ‘Sometimes I feel 100 years old’ – the pain and the ecstasy driving star of Swan Lake, 22 March 2015, The Guardian.
- Craine, Debra. "Steven McRae: I didn't think I would walk again. We've achieved the impossible". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved20 October 2021.
- October 17, Tristan Balagtas; Pm, 2021 05:31. "Royal Ballet Dancer Steven McRae Will Return to the Stage 2 Years After He Snapped His Achilles Tendon". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved20 October 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Mead, David. "Men at the Barre - Inside the Royal Ballet". SeeingDance. Retrieved20 October 2021.
- Steven McRae answers the Gramilano Questionnaire… Dancers’ Edition with biography, 4 April 2014, Gramilano.
- Steven McRae interview en l'air, by Armando Braswell, 17 August 2015.
- Steven McRae, website of the ABT.
- Steven McRae at IMDb
- Steven McRae, website of The Royal Opera House
- Steven McRae performs Czárdás during World Ballet Day 2015, website of The Royal Ballet
- Interview: Steven McRae, by Lyndsey Winship, Time Out, 25 February 2011
- With Ballet I'm like a superhero and each jump is a power move, by Lindsey Winship, London Evening Standard, 25 February 2016