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Antoinette Sibley

Dancer

Biography

Antoinette Sibley in action.
Antoinette Sibley as Manon and Anthony Dowell as Des Griuex in t

English dancer Antoinette Sibley is a former Principal of The Royal Ballet. With her pure line, quick attack, musicality and sparkling personality, she was considered a quintessential dancer of the English style.

Sibley was born in Bromley. She studied ballet, tap and musical comedy dancing at the Arts Educational School for five years before entering The Royal Ballet School aged ten. She became the first English dancer to graduate through both White Lodge and The Royal Ballet Upper School. She graduated into the Company in 1956, promoted to Principal in 1960. She created her first role for Frederick Ashton in 1963 in his pas de quatre for Swan Lake. In 1964 she created the role of Titania (The Dream) for Ashton, and in this ballet began her iconic 30-year dance partnership with Anthony Dowell. Further role creations included Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, Dorabella (Enigma Variations), Kshessinska (Anastasia) and roles in Monotones I, Thaïs pas de deux and L’Invitation au voyage, in addition to dancing Principal roles in the classical and dramatic repertories. Film appearances included The Turning Point with Mikhail Baryshnikov. She retired temporarily in 1981, returning to the Company in 1983 and continuing to dance until 1988. In 2001 she danced Soupirs pas de deux with Dowell in a celebratory gala performance. She continues to work as a guest coach for the Company.

Sibley was President of the Royal Academy of Dance 1991–2012. She was made a CBE in 1973 and a DBE in 1996.

Videos

News and features

Frederick Ashton and Margot Fonteyn honoured with English Heritage blue plaques

Frederick Ashton and Margot Fonteyn honoured with English Heritage blue plaques

10 June 2016

Iconic blue plaques affixed to the former homes of two of 20th century ballet's greatest stars celebrate their careers and legacy.

Getting Inside Manon's Head: Great dancers on one of ballet's most enigmatic roles

Getting Inside Manon's Head: Great dancers on one of ballet's most enigmatic roles

25 September 2014

Antoinette Sibley, Alessandra Ferri, Viviana Durante, Darcey Bussell and Melissa Hamilton speak to us in the ballet’s 40th anniversary year.

Manon dance highlights: Four extended pas de deux

Manon dance highlights: Four extended pas de deux

19 September 2014

Kenneth MacMillan constructed his dramatic ballet around four pivotal moments.

Photos