Fernando Montaño is from Buenaventura, an economically-deprived city on the Pacific coast of Colombia. At the age of 14 he won a scholarship to the National Ballet School of Cuba at a considerable cost to his family who made significant sacrifices to enable the experience. In Havana he won international competitions, and then joined the Cuban National Ballet. From Havana he went to Italy and then to the UK when, in 2006, he joined the Royal Ballet where he is now a Soloist. Fernando has performed all over the world both on Royal Ballet Company tours, but also independently often in support charity work.
Fernando has never forgotten his Andean roots. He regularly organises events to promote the arts in Colombia. In 2014 he was invited by President Santos to perform for the state visit of HRH the Prince of Wales, and in 2016 he performed as a soloist at the Opening Ceremony of the FIFA FUTSAL World Cup in Cali, where he choreographed a piece that combined his love of football and ballet in ‘Foot-ba’, a dance he enjoys sharing with school children in Colombia and Britain. That same year, Fernando served as a judge Colombia’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. To promote local employment, responsible animal husbandry, and to perpetuate an important indigenous tradition, Fernando uses his profile as a model in the global fashion world to serve as an Alpaca and Vicuñia Ambassador for industrial wool manufacturers and exporters.
Fernando is Patron of Children Change Colombia, a UK Charity dedicated to working with children who suffer poverty, violence, exclusion, including young victims of the FARC. Fernando not only uses his celebrity to bring attention to the work of the charity and to raise funds - but he also regularly visits CCC projects in Colombia, encouraging these young people to transform their lives for the better. This work was recognised in 2017 when he was invited to become a One Young World Counsellor, and Fernando has continued his OYW involvement working with students at the University of Bath, where he was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts, Honoris Causa.
For the past year, Fernando has been on a leave of absence from the Royal Ballet devoting his time to creative and humanitarian activities. Aware of the threat presented to young people by drugs and alcohol abuse, Fernando has become a Patron of the Amy Winehouse Foundation. His other major project has been focused on Dance for the Sea in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society and Ocean Outdoors’ campaign to heighten awareness of plastic pollution in the seas through videos and a photographic exhibition of Fernando dancing underwater amidst plastic refuse. Fernando’s extraordinary photographs are on exhibition during this 2019 London One Young World Summit.
Fernando’s autobiography Una BuenaVentura was published in Spanish in Colombia earlier this by Penguin Random House and is due to be made into a feature film early next year.