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24th February, 2023

‘The Lion King’ actor David Blake appointed Academy Director of Urdang

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City, University of London is delighted to announce the appointment of David Blake as the inaugural Academy Director of Urdang, its renowned performing arts academy.

David is an international performer, lecturer, choreographer and creative director with an extensive career in the performing arts appearing in commercials, TV shows, films, and print. He is currently performing in Disney’s award-winning musical, The Lion King, playing the role of ‘Banzai’ in London’s West End.

Born in St Andrew, Jamaica, David received his performing arts training at the Cathi Levy Performing Arts, California State University (CSUSB) and the Ailey School. He is a certified Lester Horton Technique instructor, a Fellow of the International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA), and holds an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths, University of London. As a former principal dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC), David toured throughout the Caribbean, United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has also been a guest artist for various dance companies and choreographers in California.

In 2020, David was recognised as Best Teacher for Performing Arts as a Subject in the Black British Theatre Awards (BBTA).

Commenting on the appointment, City’s President, Professor Sir Anthony Finkelstein said:

I am incredibly excited that David will be joining us, bringing leadership from practice and an extraordinary depth of industry knowledge and personal talent to help build the future of Urdang.

Professor Anna Whitelock, Executive Dean of the School of Communication and Creativity also welcomes the new appointment of the inaugural Academy Director of Urdang.

David’s appointment is a hugely significant moment for City and signals our investment and ambition in the future of Urdang. He brings a wealth of industry experience, international connections, and the energy and enthusiasm to make things happen.

Meanwhile, David is looking forward to contributing to the legacy of Urdang and the performing arts department at City, University of London.

I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful community at City. The University’s commitment and contribution to the arts is clear as it strives to mould and inspire the dreams and aspirations of its students so they can achieve global success and recognition. I look forward to what we will accomplish together.

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