Royal Ballet star dances away to a rival's tune

One of The Royal Ballet's brightest and most acclaimed young stars has been lured by the radical contemporary dance troupe Adventures In Motion Pictures to star in its next West End extravaganza.

Sarah Wildor, 25, dances Anastasia for The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, London, this week, and last week won a huge ovation dancing Juliet in Romeo And Juliet.

But the ballerina is conspicuous by her absence in the newly-issued programme for next season. A Royal Ballet spokeswoman said yesterday that she had been given leave of absence this autumn and would be returning to the company.

It is understood that Miss Wildor has been approached by Adventures In Motion Pictures to play Cinderella in a radical reworking of the ballet to be presented in London's West End this autumn. Last year the company staged the much praised all-male Swan Lake with Royal Ballet dancer Adam Cooper. It became the first full-length ballet to be staged in the West End for over 50 years, and was televised at Christmas.

Mr Cooper, who is Miss Wildor's boyfriend, has since decided to leave the Royal Ballet and tour America with the AMP's Swan Lake. He will play opposite her in Cinderella, which in an imaginative staging by AMP's artistic director Matthew Bourne, will be set in the Blitz.

That the modern dance company has now also managed to lure Miss Wildor is dramatic proof that contemporary dance is mounting its biggest challenge yet in Britain to classical ballet. As Adam Cooper found with Swan Lake, the public's thirst for radical new treatments of the classics led to him starring at a West End theatre then touring to Los Angeles and New York. His girlfriend will be hoping for the same sort of international fame.

When Miss Wildor, then an unknown, burst on the scene four years ago playing Juliet at Covent Garden, one critic wrote that she was "quite marvellous, the best young Juliet I have seen since the days of Lynn Seymour."

Adventures In Motion Pictures was, until Swan Lake, a small-scale touring company with just eight dancers. Its international success has resulted in top dancers as well as audiences becoming more open to experiment.

Richard McDermott, administrator with AMP, said yesterday: "The divisions in dance between contemporary and classical are becoming blurred particularly in London.

"You no longer have to earn your spurs with The Royal Ballet. Great dancers want to dance with contemporary companies such as ours."

Neither the Royal Ballet nor AMP would officially confirm that Miss Wildor will be moving from one company to the other temporarily. But insiders say an announcement will be made in the next few days.

The Royal Ballet is enjoying a particularly exciting time for producing star performers, and not surprisingly, some of them are beginning to want to spread their wings. If Ms Wildor, like Adam Cooper, were to decide to leave the Royal Ballet permanently it would be a blow to the company. But a company insider said yesterday: "We could not stand in Sarah's way over this and we are confident she will return. The opportunity to create a role in the West End does not come along very often."

The Royal Ballet will open its new season at the Labatts Apollo in Hammersmith, west London, this autumn when the Royal Opera House will be closed for redevelopment. The company will sign off from its Covent Garden home for two years with a gala performance in July.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor