Samara Downs


Born: Ashford, Kent

Trained: Caroline Shaw and Pauline Kellett Dance Schools, and the Royal Ballet School

Joined: 2003; Principal, 2016

First role with Birmingham Royal Ballet: As a nine-year old ballet student, I danced in The Nutcracker party scene. Since then I have danced in around 300 performances, yet it remains for me, the best version of this Christmas delight and as I wait quietly at the back of the stage ready for Snow Fairy, it still brings a lump to my throat.

First important role: MacMillan’s Concerto is a ballet which has marked my journey from student to principal. As an 18 year old I performed the first movement girl at school, and then years later, the third movement principal girl here. It is also something in which I have seen my class mates and colleagues grow, and it is an honour to dance next to them now as the hugely talented and hard-working individuals that I so admire.

Awards: Paul Clarke Award.


'Mercury' for Birmingham Royal Ballet as part of The Planets Ebony Concerto for a Company choreographic project.


David BintleyThe Orpheus Suite (Moisturisers), E=mc² ('Manhattan Project'), Faster and Cinderella ('Autumn')
Kim BrandstrupPulcinella
Ruth BrillRhapsody in Blue (lead role) and Matryoshka (lead role)
Kit Holder: 9-5 (The Boss)
Michael KopinskiDumbarton Oaks
Garry StewartThe Centre and its Opposite
Alexander WhitleyKin.


Frederick Ashton: Enigma Variations (Lady Elgar), Dante Sonata (Lead Child of Darkness), The Dream (Hermia, Peaseblossom), Façade ('Tango', 'Foxtrot'), Les Rendezvous, Scènes de ballet, A Month in the Country (Natalia Petrovna)
George Balanchine: Apollo (Handmaiden), Western Symphony (Fourth movement), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Striptease Girl), Mozartiana (Menuet), Symphony in Three Movements, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Serenade and Concerto barocco
David Bintley: Cinderella (Skinny, Stepmother, 'Autumn'), Hobson's Choice (Alice Hobson, Salvation Army), The Prince of the Pagodas (Empress Épine), Sylvia (Diana), Beauty and the Beast (Vanité), Carmina burana (Fortuna, Roast Swan), Aladdin ('Diamond', Princess's Friends), The Nutcracker Sweeties (Lead Floreadoress), The Shakespeare Suite (Lady Macbeth), Allegri diversi, The Sons of Horus and Take Five ('Three to Get Ready,' 'Take Five'), The Tempest (Ceres) and David Bintley and Galina Samsova's production of Giselle (Myrtha)
Ruth Brill: Arcadia (Selene)
John Cranko: The Lady and the Fool (Guest), Card Game (Queen of Hearts) and Pineapple Poll (Mrs Dimple), The Taming of the Shrew (Katherina)
Mikhail Fokine: The Firebird (Princess)
Oliver Hindle: The Four Seasons ('Summer')
Joe Layton: The Grand Tour (Gertrude Lawrence, Theda Bara)
Kenneth MacMillan: Romeo and Juliet (Lady Capulet, Harlots), Concerto (Third Movement), Elite Syncopations ('Calliope Rag') and Solitaire
Hans van Manen: Five Tangos (pas de quatre), Twilight pas de deux and Grosse Fuge
Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer's reconstruction of The Rite of Spring (Three Tall Women in Mauve, Maidens)
Twyla Tharp: Nine Sinatra Songs ('Strangers in the Night', 'My Way') and In the Upper Room
Ninette de Valois: Checkmate (Black Queen, Black Pawns)
Peter Wright's productions of The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy, Rose Fairy, Snow Fairy), The Sleeping Beauty (Carabosse, Fairy of Joy, pas de quatre), Coppélia (Swanilda), Giselle (Myrtha) and Peter Wright and Galina Samsova's production of Swan Lake (Odette/Odile, Two Swan Maidens, Polish Princess)

Header image: Clothing (except for tutu) generously supplied by UK dancewear specialists Dans-ez