Samara Downs


Introduced by David Bintley

Samara Downs joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2003 following the completion of her training at the Royal Ballet School. Originally from Kent she was no stranger to Birmingham, having received early training as a Birmingham Junior Associate of the Royal Ballet School. Since joining, Samara has progressed steadily through the Company ranks to become one of our newest Principals and has proved herself an immensely versatile dancer over the years. Her range is impressive, with the leading ballerina roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Coppélia alongside highly charged dramatic parts such as Myrtha in Giselle, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew and Fortuna in Carmina burana. Samara is equally at home in both classical and contemporary ballets, but she has a particular gift for the sensitivities of the ‘English’ repertory with her perceptive portrayals of Lady Elgar and the Black Queen in Enigma Variations and Checkmate respectively, and most recently Natalia Petrovna in Ashton’s A Month in the Country. She is also an inspiring vehicle for choreographers, having created roles in my own Orpheus Suite, E=mc2 and Faster, Alexander Whitley’s Kin., and in pieces by younger company choreographers Ruth Brill and Kit Holder.

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'), and David Bintley and Galina Samsova's production of Giselle (Myrtha)
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 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, Swanilda's Friends, 'Prayer') and Peter Wright and Galina Samsova's production of Swan Lake (Odette/Odile, Two Swan Maidens, Polish Princess)

David Bintley: The Orpheus Suite (Moisturisers), E=mc² ('Manhattan Project'), Faster and Cinderella ('Autumn')
Kim Brandstrup: Pulcinella
Ruth Brill: Rhapsody in Blue (lead role) and Matryoshka (lead role)
Kit Holder: 9-5 (The Boss)
Michael Kopinski: Dumbarton Oaks
Garry Stewart: The Centre and its Opposite
Alexander Whitley: Kin.

Paul Clarke Award

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