English dancer, director and designer Anthony Dowell was Director of The Royal Ballet 1986–2001. As a dancer he was one of the great danseurs nobles of the 20th century. In his time with the Company he created many roles for leading choreographers, and forged an acclaimed dance partnership with Antoinette Sibley. While Director, he staged new productions of Swan Lake (1987) and The Sleeping Beauty (1995) for the Company.
Dowell was born in London and trained with June Hampshire before entering The Royal Ballet School aged ten. In 1960 he graduated into the Covent Garden Opera Ballet, transferring to The Royal Ballet the following year. He was promoted to Principal in 1966. Dowell created his first role in 1964, with Frederick Ashton’s Oberon (The Dream). The ballet also saw the beginning of Dowell’s partnership with Sibley, who created Titania. Further significant role creations included Des Grieux (Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon) and Beliaev (Ashton’s A Month in the Country). International appearances included dancing as a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre from the 1978/9 season on, and appearing in Ken Russell’s film Valentino (1977).
As a costume designer Dowell has created designs for The Royal Ballet’s productions of In the Night, Thaïs pas de deux and Symphony in C. He has also appeared as a narrator for companies including The Royal Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Dowell was made a CBE in 1973 (becoming the youngest dancer to be so honoured) and was knighted in 1995.