#TBT: Antoinette Sibley and Brian Shaw in "The Sleeping Beauty" (1963)

May 27, 2020

The charming and exuberant Antoinette Sibley became a principal at The Royal Ballet in 1960, when she was just 21 years old. Sibley dazzled alongside many danseurs during her career, including former principal Brian Shaw, a bravura dancer known for his virtuosic turns and jumps. The two were a natural cast for The Sleeping Beauty’s Bluebird pas de deux, captured here in this 1963 film.

The clip begins at 0:38 as Sibley flutters from the wing and Shaw bounds in behind her with a crisp assemblé volé. The tempo is lively, but Sibley and Shaw bring a regal, lyrical quality to the adagio. In their variations, Shaw’s spectacular ballon propels him off the floor in never-ending jumps, while Sibley’s staccato footwork brings the music to life. The pair really brings out all the stops in the coda: Shaw’s infamous brisé volé diagonal is wildly bendy, and Sibley whirls deftly in brisk double piqué turns. Their final diagonal is the most thrilling as they dance, perfectly synced, as the score climbs to crescendo. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!