The royal defector

Alina Cojocaru, one of the Royal Ballet’s biggest stars, stunned the dance world when she left to join a rival company. She tells the truth behind her dramatic departure

Was it Sylvia Guillem who started it, when she joined the Royal Ballet? Darcey Bussell? Or Matthew Bourne, with his muscular reinterpretation of Swan Lake? Perhaps you could call it the Billy Elliot or Black Swan effect. But for more than a decade there has been a momentum building in British ballet, propelling a once-stuffy art form, in danger of losing all resonance with a modern audience, back onto centre-stage.

Today there’s a body of innovative crossover-companies: DV8, Ballet Black, BalletBoyz. Brave new works — such as The Northern Ballet’s Great Gatsby — are being staged with new collaborators: the Pet Shop Boys composing a ballet for Sadler’s Wells; Vivienne Westwood and Julien Macdonald designing for the English National Ballet (ENB).


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