Regarded as one of the most unique and energetic ballet pianists today, Paul James Lewis has been accompanying dancers for over forty years. Originally from the United States, Lewis began his career in the dance world in 1976 with Cleveland Ballet. Since then, he has held long-standing positions with Joffrey Ballet (New York and Chicago), San Francisco Ballet and most recently Stuttgarter Ballett. Lewis joined Dutch National Ballet’s team of pianists in 2020.
Lewis started studying piano at the age of ten in his hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and subsequently took private lessons with the late English pianist Clive Lythgoe. He has accompanied rehearsals for leading choreographers like Gerald Arpino, Lar Lubocitch, Christopher Wheeldon and Agnes de Mille (who passed away in 1993). He has also worked with numerous renowned ballet masters, including Robert Joffrey, Edward Villella, Sir Anthony Dowell, Frederick Franklin, Violette Verdy, Lupe Serrano, Irina Jacobson, Cho San Go, Jorge Esquival, Fernando Bujones, Robert Blankshine, Maggie Black, Graca Sales and Lola de Ávila.
Away from the ballet studio, Lewis has recorded more than ten CDs of music for ballet classes, and composed the dance music for the hit show Nunsense. He also appeared in the Robert Altman film The Company (2003), where he plays himself.