There are few opportunities as rewarding for a dancer as having choreography created on you. Sir Anthony Dowell, former principal and then artistic director of The Royal Ballet, is one of those rare few who had the chance to originate many roles throughout his performing career. Dowell was a particular inspiration for Sir Frederick Ashton; the choreographer created many roles for him, including original choreography for the Prince in The Royal Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty. In this variation from Act II, Dowell comments on, and demonstrates, the unique sense of self-possession that comes with performing a specially-created role.
Throughout the variation, much of the choreography faces upstage, emphasizing that the prince in wandering through the wood without direction or purpose. The angle also highlights Dowell's remarkable leg strength and turnout. At 0:16 he pulls his legs into sus-sous with a mesmerizing suction quality. The variation also features Dowell's beautiful and sturdy arabesque. No matter what his upper body is doing, his arabesque stays steadfastly at 90 degrees, and in his grand pirouettes, his back leg appears to sustain and propel him as he whizzes around. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!