Monday, 1 July 2013


"Ballerina" is a rank, rather like QC at the Bar. It is reserved for the star of a major company, such as the Royal Ballet or American Ballet Theatre, who dances the leading roles such as Giselle or Odette-Odile. There are only a handful of such stars at any one time.

There is no real equivalent title for outstanding male dancers. "Principal", which applies to both sexes, is how Nureyev and Dowell were described in the House's programmes

A great resource on the art of the ballerina is the Ballerina Gallery,  All the great names are there:
and very many more.  Unfortunately the website does not seem to have been updated since 2010.   

"Who is the greatest ballerina of all time?" I am sometimes asked.  It is impossible to say.   We can only know our contemporaries and, even then, comparisons are invidious.  Each dancer is a star for a reason and the qualities that make a star of one dancer may be quite different from those that make a star of another.

But I can name my favourite dancer of all time and that is Antoinette Sibley. During her prime I could not see enough of her. I lost count of the number of her performances that I saw.. Some praise her line, others her technique but, for me, it was the expressiveness of her face.  Particularly her eyes.   Above is a tribute of photos compiled by the RAD of which she was president.  It is a lovely reminder of a great dancer and a still ravishingly beautiful woman.

Further Reading
Judith Mackrell "Margot Fonteyn as you've never seen her before" 10 Dec 2013
Jane Lambert Sibley 17 Dec 2013
Jane Lambert "Le jour de gloire est arrive - Dame Antoinette Sibley with Clement Crisp at the Royal Ballet School" 3 Feb 2014

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