Anthony Dowell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Sir Anthony James Dowell, CBE (born 16 February 1943) is a retired British ballet dancer and former Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet.


Dowell was born in London. He studied at the Hampshire School and The Royal Ballet Schools, before joining The Royal Ballet in 1961.[1] He was ultimately promoted to the most senior rank of Principal Dancer, and is recognised as one of the companies star dancers of the 1970s and early 80s. Dowell is most noted for the role of Oberon in The Dream by Sir Frederick Ashton and for his filmed performance as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake with Natalia Makarova in 1980. He also formed a famous partnership with dancer Dame Antoinette Sibley. After retiring as a principal dancer, in 1984 he was appointed Assistant to the Director of the Royal Ballet, being promoted to Associate Director in 1985. He was appointed as artistic director of The Royal Ballet in 1986, and held the position until 2001 when he officially retired.[2][3] Dowell is renowned for playing character roles such as Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty. He continues to be active in the dance industry as a guest teacher and lecturer. Dowell is a Governor of the Royal Ballet School and is also a member of organisations such as the Royal Academy of Dance[4] and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.[5]


Proving to have a strong technique, lyrical quality, and extraordinary dramatic sensibilities, by 1966 Dowell was promoted to the rank of principal dancer and created other rôles in Ashton's works including Beliaev in his A Month in the Country, Troyte in Enigma Variations, and Lo Straniero in Varii Capricci. For Sir Kenneth MacMillan, he created Des Grieux in Manon, Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Kchessinska’s partner in Anastasia, the Boy in Triad and Autumn in The Four Seasons. He also created the Boy with Matted Hair in Antony Tudor’s Shadowplay, Prospero in Nureyev’s The Tempest and the leading rôle in Hans van Manen’s Four Schumann Pieces, for which he was the inspiration. Rôles in which he was particularly praised include the leads in Ashton’s La fille mal gardée, Cinderella, Daphnis and Chloë and Symphonic Variations; MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, Ondine and Romeo and Juliet; La Bayadère, Jerome RobbinsDances at a Gathering and In the Night and Balanchine’s Agon. That "he is, without a doubt, the finest Drosselmeyer who has ever danced the rô without question. Sir Anthony is a consummate man of the of the last we shall know....We should rejoice in the recorded legacy of his work onstage." -Michael Maglaras

In demand[edit]

In the late 1970s he danced with both The Royal Ballet in London and American Ballet Theatre in New York, where his extensive repertory included the rôle of Solor in the first performances of Natalia Makarova’s production of La Bayadère. One of his last full dancing rôles was as Palemon in a revival of Sir Frederick Ashton's Ondine in the late 1980s. While Artistic Director of The Royal Ballet, Dowell presented a new version of The Sleeping Beauty. The production was filmed and features Dowell in the character rôle of Carabosse.

A new career[edit]

In September 1986 he was appointed Director of The Royal Ballet, a post he held until August 2001, (having become Assistant to the Director in September 1984 and Associate Director in 1985). He was succeeded by Ross Stretton.

On DVD[edit]


External links[edit]