Ballet Stars

#TBT: Steven McRae at the Prix de Lausanne (2003)

Steven McRae at the 2003 Prix de Lausanne performing the variation from "Le Corsaire." Photo Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

This week, young ballet dancers from across the globe have been studying and competing for coveted scholarships at the Prix de Lausanne. This infamous competition has been a launch pad for many of the ballet world's biggest stars. One such star is Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae, who was a prize winner in 2003 with these two outstanding performances in the finals.


While just a lanky 17 year-old in this clip, he nonetheless performs the virtuosic slave variation from Le Corsaire with aplomb. He brings impressive height and length to his jumps and conveys the character's pride and passion with intense eyes and a dramatically arched back in the final pose.

McRae continues to show off his swagger in his second solo—a somewhat cheesy, but absolutely show-stopping tap routine. A brilliant tapper and ballet dancer, McRae actually combined the two styles later in his career when he originated the fantastical Mad Hatter in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. From the very start, McRae's electric energy onstage has set him apart. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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