The London Royal Ballet principal’s triumph over near-career ending injury and pain
“I’m interested in those physical sacrifices a ballet dancer has to make,” says British director Andrew Margetson of his film starring Royal Ballet Principal Lauren Cuthbertson, the first in our three part collaborative series with the iconic London company. “The fact that behind the sublime beauty and effortless grace of a prima ballerina is the inevitable pain, injury and physical damage that performing at this level entails.”
“I’m interested in those physical sacrifices a ballet dancer has to make”
Cuthbertson trained at The Royal Ballet Lower and Upper Schools, joining The Royal Ballet in 2002, and after her promotion in 2008, she became the youngest female Principal dancer in the company. As well as earning plaudits for her roles in Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, she starred in the acclaimed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the Royal Ballet’s first full-length commission in 20 years), created especially for her by Christopher Wheeldon.
“Behind the sublime beauty and effortless grace of a prima ballerina is the inevitable pain and injury”
As well as these remarkable achievements, Cuthbertson has also had lows, having had to fight back to peak form after being struck down with M.E. and several serious injuries, the last being a twisted foot sustained while rehearsing for her role in 2014’s Manon. Margetson’s film captures the macro technicality as well as the elegance of Cuthbertson’s style, in a simple, modern piece with bespoke choreography.
Portrait of a Dancer premieres every Wednesday; part two starring Steven McRae launches September 23.
Rebecca Guinness is Editor-at-Large at NOWNESS.
Salut i dansa!