Irek Mukhamedov OBE (born 8 March 1960 in Kazan, USSR), is a Soviet-born ballet dancer of Tatar origin who has danced with the Bolshoi Ballet & the Royal Ballet He trained at the Moscow Choreographic Institute under the guidance of Alexander Prokofiev between 1970 and 1978. Upon graduation he joined the Classical Ballet Company, where he spent three years touring around the world. It was with this company that he first danced Romeo, a role that was to become one of his most acclaimed. In 1981 he won the Grand Prix and Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow and was immediately invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet as a principal dancer, where he not only became Grigorovich's favourite danseur but went to become the youngest man ever to dance the leading role in Spartacus.After leaving the Soviet Union, he became a Senior Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet in London, remaining with the company for many years and dancing lead roles in the classic ballets as well as the English repertoire.
For nine years he was the Bolshoi's leading male dancer. His repertoire included Ivan the Terrible, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Raymonda and Legend of Love. Yury Grigorovich created the leading role in The Golden Age for him in 1984. His international tours with the Bolshoi earned him a huge fan-base and in 1988 he was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize for Best Dancer in the World.
In 1990 he decided to leave the Soviet Union and joined The Royal Ballet in London, where he soon became a favourite of resident choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, who helped him to develop his dramatic range. MacMillan created Winter Dreams (based on Chekhov's The Three Sisters) for him and Darcey Bussell which was subsequently filmed for television and transmitted on the BBC at Christmas 1992. He appeared on numerous television shows and was subject of a one-hour Omnibus documentary in 1991.
Mukhamedov distinguished himself for his wide repertory. At The Royal Ballet he danced the traditional classics such as The Nutcracker, Raymonda Act III, La Bayadère, Swan Lake and Giselle, and he also gave unforgettable performances in more contemporary works. He performed both male leading roles in MacMillan's Manon, danced Colas in Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardée, and in 1992 created the leading male role in Macmillan's The Judas Tree, opposite Viviana Durante, who was widely considered his finest Royal Ballet partner.
His 1992 debut in Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet was met with universal acclaim, as also his debut in Mayerling (which was filmed for television). In 1993 he danced in Balanchine's Apollo and in The Prodigal Son. Ashley Page created the lead role in Fearful Symmetries for him (1994), and in 1995 Twyla Tharp was so impressed by his talent that she chose him for one