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2019 is our 50th anniversary and we are championing some of the people who help make Scottish Ballet a great place to work. Each week we will introduce you to a different career at Scottish Ballet and the person behind it. 

We spoke to Christopher Harrison about his journey to becoming the first Scottish male Principal dancer in the Company's history.

Christopher Harrison was born in Kippen, Scotland. He joined Scottish Ballet in 2005, was promoted to First Artist in 2007 and to Principal in 2013.

Christopher Harrison as the Prince and Constance Devernay as the Snow Queen in Peter Darrell's The Nutcracker.

How did you first get into ballet?

My first experience of ballet was when a lovely lady called Kay Morrison came to give a movement workshop at my primary school in Kippen. She suggested l should take up ballet, and then continued to encourage me in those early days while I attended the Stenhousemuir School of Dance. I auditioned for Scottish Ballet's Junior Associates programme when I was 12 and haven't looked back since.

Could you describe your journey to Principal dancer?

From the Junior Associates l went on to pursue full-time training at the Dance School of Scotland for 4 years and then to the Royal Ballet School for another 3 years. After finishing my training, my first professional contract was with Dresden State Opera, where I stayed for 4 years. In the summer of 2005 I returned home, joining Scottish Ballet as an Artist, moving through the ranks before being promoted to Principal in 2013.

What has been your career highlight?

It's a difficult question as every performance is special, but the one moment l probably treasure most in my career was the day l was promoted to Principal. As a kid, dancing with Scottish Ballet was something l could only dream of so to become a Principal was mind blowing. 

Christopher Harrison in rehearsals for Peter Darrell's The Nutcracker. Credit Christina Riley.

Do your nerves before each show change depending on the role you're performing?

l have nerves before every show no matter the role but l feel it's part of being a dancer. I try to push and challenge myself so if I'm not nervous there's something wrong.

What are your plans for after retiring from dance?

I'm not 100% sure yet but l believe there is a part of me that will always want to be involved in the theatre world. I've been dedicated to dance from the age of 10 so when l retire I'd like to take some time off and volunteer for community and wildlife projects.

What’s your 'get up and go' song?

It would have to be ACDC - Shoot to Thrill!