Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Baghdad Ballerina With A Dream Needs Our Help!

Dancing is difficult. Isn't it? So many things to remember! So much hard work. So much focus required. So many long days at the studio and so hard on your body. So many trips to class for your Mom and Dad. Many missed parties and school functions with childhood friends.

But what if...

You and your family risked your lives everytime you went to the studio?

What if your childhood friend was killed by a random bomb attack?

What if your teachers received death threats?

What if you and other students were intimidated to never come to class again?

What if there was no hope to ever perform in public or to have a career in ballet?

This is the life of Baghdad ballet dancer, Leezan Salam. She studies music and ballet at the School of Iraq. Please watch this brief documentary to hear her story and then I am going to tell you how you can help bring her to the USA for just $5 or less. Of course you can donate more if you are able. =) 

We saw this video several weeks ago and we inquired with Channel 4 to see if anyone was trying to help Leezan or if there was anything we could do. Sadly there was no reply. Luckily a nice lady posted to the Ballet Babble facebook wall that there was a fundraiser for Leezan and a plan to bring her to the United States to study ballet! Here is a blurb from the page...

As a gesture of kindness and friendship in a "hands across the sea," the Willis Ballet has granted Leezan Salam a 2 Year Scholarship to study at Peggy Willis-Aarnio's Willis Conservatory of Classical Ballet in Panama City Beach, Florida and to attend Peggy Willis-Aarnio's 17th International Teacher's Congress in Rockwall, Texas this July....

You can visit the page HERE to see all what has been offered to Leezan and I encourage you to donate anything at all from $2-$5. There is a HUGE ballet presence online and if everyone was to take just a minute to donate a few dollars we can reach the goal in time to purchase the airfare! Time is running out so please donate today!! This is a special cause. Please share this story. 


Robbie, Kyla and Gina Downey

You can visit this page for direct updates on the Leezan coming to the USA: WILLIS BALLET NEWS . Also, you can follow Leezan on twitter @LeezanSalam.  

If you would like to see what you can receive in exchange for a donation please view the image below and use contact the organizer on the donation page to let them know how to send you the item. Otherwise all donations will be considered a straight donation. 

From Peggy.....

An Offer of a Lifetime to the first 10 people who respond......

All 8 DVDs of my Educational Ballet Series entitled Classical Ballet Lesson, demonstrated by Galina Mezentseva. Normal value/cost is $400 ...

BUT, for the first 10 people who donate $120 to my Fundraising Campaign "Help Us to Help Leezan to Realize her Dream", this series will be yours! All proceeds for this limited offer will go towards our campaign to help Leezan...and all you need to do is to send us an e-mail to and we will send you with free postage your own personal set of this series of my Educational Ballet DVD's designed to demonstrate the details of the beginning, middle and end of the 8 Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet as founded by Agrippina Vaganova, and further refined by Vaganova's personal first assistant for nearly 3 decades, Vera Kostrovitskaya, who took over the Methodology Department of the Vaganova Ballet Academy (formeraly called the Vaganova Choreographic Institute). See some reviews below. Act fast is you have always wanted this DVD series but couldn't afford you can afford it and it will go toward a great, international humanitarian cause. Remember to write to me at that you just donated $120 to Help Leezan and give me your address of where to mail the DVDs to. Please allow 2 weeks for delivery , from the Willis Ballet Educational Ballet Library.... Also see the link below the Reviews to the Fundraiser for Leezan.

Reviews of "Classical Ballet Lesson”…

“To the best of my knowledge, these tapes are the most complete and accurate record of the details of this teaching program that I have ever seen. You have my wholehearted support in this project and my unconditional endorsement of the tape volumes produced.”
Galina Mezentseva, London, England

“I have been teaching for thirty years but I like the exactness and the well thought out planning of what I have seen in these first videos. I eagerly await the remaining videos.”
Audrey Trojanowski, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

“I am thrilled with my video tapes. It is really a dream come true and I cannot thank you enough.”
Carol Purcell, New York, NY, USA

“In London, I bought the 3 beginning level Video cassettes – e.e. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd classes. I find these cassettes really excellent…I would very much appreciate it if you can notify me when the Intermediate Level is available as I would like to purchase all 3 Intermediate Classes, as well as the Advanced Level when that too is released.”
Patrina Borrer, Castlecrag, Australia

“Thank you again for the beautiful tapes – they bring tears of ecstasy! Your Vaganova tapes have been so helpful to my understanding of this training (method).”
Marcia Eder, Naples, Florida USA

“This collection (of videos) is of such quality and format that I would highly recommend that they be considered for use as a video text for university ballet classes. There are none better that exemplify a complete codified system of ballet training from Elementary to Advanced Levels.”
Randall Newsom, Coordinator Comprehensive Dance Program, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA

“Your Classical Ballet Lesson (End of Beginning Level) was wonderful. Galina Mezentseva is a beautiful classical dancer with the beautiful Kirov style…Your commentary was so clear…I should like to obtain your other videos (Intermediate and Advanced)…With many thanks.”
Anna Lendrum, Potters Bar, Hers., England

“As I told you over the phone, so much confusion has already been resolved for me after working only three times with these tapes. I can see how one can develop in areas that were a total mystery to me before. I see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Valerie Wooton, Frederik, Maryland, USA

“Thank you for the wonderful thing that you are doing for ballet with these videos!”
Mercedes Barnek, Red Bank, New Jersey, USA

“I would like to congratulate you, Peggy, on the excellent video tapes you produced, so clearly demonstrating the Vaganova syllabus. I was really impressed by the clarity of the work of your own two dancers. They didn’t look out of place even standing beside Galina Mezentseva at the barre! That is a real accomplishment as Galina is considered to be one of the purest examples of the tennants of the School. It is clear that you have applied the method in the proper order of introduction of the exercises, prot de bras, and pas, and enchainements. They are lucky indeed to have your methodical approach to the teaching method of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet as practised in Saint-Petersburg. I expect to see good things coming from Texas with you passing on this knowledge. Keep up the good work. My students here were thrilled with the tape and immediately began working harder! Thanks for the hit of inspiration.”
Ian Robertson, Founder of the Vaganova Ballet Academy of North America (Canada), Vancouver, Canada

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Misty Copeland Waking Up the Ballet World and Inspiring Dancers Everywhere !

Get her book here and % goes to my training =) 

Misty Copeland is one of my favorite dancers and my sister's too. I first noticed Misty Copeland when she did that video with Prince. Prince was so inspired by Misty that he donated $250,000 to American Ballet Theatre's education program! That's pretty amazing and generous. This is what he had to say “A function of our love for the next generation is instilling in them our own hard-fought knowledge,” said Prince. “We can’t wait and see—or only hope for—the future of those coming after us. We must actively take responsibility for ensuring their success.”  

You can also read about the new Project Plié <HERE"American Ballet Theatre is launching this initiative to attempt to strategically duplicate how to discover the next 'Misty Copeland' and invest in her or his training and development." (HuffPost)

My sister and I really wanted to see Misty perform so my mom bought nosebleeed tickets to see American Ballet Theatre's Firebird at Sergerstrom Hall in Orange County. Misty became the first black woman ever to play the “Firebird.” I also read that during her role as the Firebird she had danced with stress fractures in her leg and she could not dance on stage for 7 months after that! Even from our far away seats Misty was powerful, amazing and inspiring!! 

After the show we went to the backstage door to wait for Misty. It was packed with aspiring dancers and parents! Coming down the ramp was Julie Kent and her husband. My mom stopped her and asked if she would mind signing my pointe shoes and taking a photo. She was nice and stopped! I also saw ABT director, Kevin McKenzie go by! None of us had the guts to stop him. =) A few other recognizable dancers zipped past. It was a great night and I left knowing exactly what I want. 
Me, Age 13, with Julie Kent (Principal dancer ABT)
With Misty!!!

The next time I saw Misty was later that summer during my intensive at Ellison Ballet (2012). I was at Steps on Broadway warming up for a Sunday open class with Mr. Ellison. Dancers lined the walls and out comes Misty from the back in leggings and a leotard or tank and her hair pulled back tight. Looking perfect and very tiny! I think Misty's photos are deceiving because Misty is so fit and muscular that people get the impression that she might be "bulky" this is not the case at all. Misty is very petite. I think all dancers look bigger in leotards with legs exposed. You have to maintain muscle mass to be able to dance. Misty has a lot but she is still a very tiny person and she is beautiful and also very sweet. No no one had the guts to even say "hi". We all just watched her glide on by!! As she exited everyone was saying "Oh my gosh that was Misty Copeland"!!! =) 

My next encounter with Misty was at YAGP San Francisco. She was a judge!!! I know right? No pressure. These were her comments to me "I see the thought process with lower legs but still needs nore work on turn out. Arms are too high in pirouettes, shoulders down". Constructive criticism from Misty Copeland was priceless to me! It was my first year competing. I did Giselle. I did not place but I improved for the following year and did my best. We also saw Misty at our hotel and she taught the master class at the San Francisco Ballet Studios. I had her sign another pair of shoes. They weren't even dead yet but I wasn't going to miss the opportunity!! 

With Misty at the 2013 YAGP Master Class at San Francisco Ballet Studios

So, what actually inspired this post was the new June/July 2014 Pointe Magazine cover featuring Misty Copeland and ballerinas, Ebony Williams and Ashley Murphy. The article is on diversity in ballet and I look forward to reading it when my issue arrives! 

Beyond Role Models Pointe Magazine 
Pointe Magazine Cover unveiled at 
 MoCADA Museum in New York. Photo by DanceOn 

I would also like to include a link to artist Flaco Shalom's site. Flaco is a super talented artist/genius that was inspired by Misty. Check out his work and be sure to follow him on instagram @flvcoshvlom He gets crazy and offers custom artwork specials!! Hopefully you will be lucky enough to grab one! He has also made a book of his Misty art. 

Misty by Flaco! His artwork is for sale! Visit

Here is a sample of inside Misty's book...

“Misty,” the teacher, Cindy Bradley, called, “can you come here for a second?”

Trapped, I reluctantly followed her to the front of her class. I felt overwhelmed in that first class; it was too much information coming too fast, and I was way behind the other students.

Most ballerinas start to dance when they are sipping juice boxes in preschool. I was thirteen years old. Self-doubt taunted me.

I think from the beginning Cindy, in her mind, in her plan, saw stardom as my destiny.

“The perfect ballerina has a small head, sloping shoulders, long legs, big feet, and a narrow rib cage,” Cindy said one afternoon, reading George Balachine’s description of the ideal dancer.

She looked up and stared at me, adoringly, "That's you," she said softly.

“You’re going to dance in front of kings and queens,” she said. “You will have a life most people cannot even imagine.”

I began to believe her. 

You can buy it from the link below and a % of the sale will go to my sister's training and my training! Actually, anytime you shop from one of my amazon links it helps! Thank you! 

Love, Robbie

PS!!! One of my favorite Misty video clips only 2 years after she started dancing! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Maria Kochetkova Flash Backs

One of my absolute, favorite dancers in the world is Maria Kochetkova! My first encouter with Maria was at Reflections: The Bolshoi Project at Sergerstrom Center for the Arts in 2011. I sent her a message on twitter letting her know I would be there and asked for her autograph. She said to go to the security window and she would leave something for me. So, I did. Maria had left me a signed magazine with a feature on her and it had a sticky note on it with "Robbie". Still have it! OF COURSE! I left her 2 Ballet Freak T-shirts.

I also met Natalia Osipova, Ivan Vasiliev, Polina Semionova, Anastasia Stashkevich, Alexander Volchkov, and Olga Malanovskya! Check out the video below to see pics and autographs and my first arabesque pic (eeek) !!

(Note: I have added signed shoes from Misty Copeland! One pair from Firebird and one from YAGP workshop 2013. And I collect signed shoes from my friend Scout Forsythe ABT Studio Co.)

The next encounter was just after I returned from ABT NYC Summer 2012. I went with my Mom to San Francisco to see a screening of her documentary that was in progress called "Masha; A Portrait of Maria Kochetkova". Adventure! First of all the hotel doorman told us that getting a taxi would not be a problem. So we went and ate dinner and let's just say it was a HUGE problem. The line was 4 people deep at the hotel curb and after 15 minutes no one had moved. I started to panic. My mom said let's go to the corner and get one. ALL full! I could not see one go by that was not full of people. My mom said let's start walking that direction. I think it was about 2 miles away. So we did and kept an eye out for a taxi. No taxis! And the neighborhood was getting worse and worse. My mom finally saw a taxi going the other direction on the other side of the road and it was empty. She about threw herself in front of it and we were on our way.

We got there just in time. But a lot of people were late because there was something going on at the bridge. Maybe a shooting or something. Anyway, Maria was standing at the top of the stairs when we got there. She said "hi" =) !!! And spoke to us for a minute and said she would sign my shoes after. She did and I took a photo with her.


I really like Maria because I know that she competed in Prix de Lausanne with out a coach. She had to train herself basically. She basically took her future into her own hands and made it all happen. She believed in herself more than anybody else did! I love watching Maria dance and she is a huge inspiration for me. I also like her style and love her instagram and twitter. You can follow her @balletrusse.

So, the reason I am doing this flashback is because I sent Maria a couple of things from Maria has posted them on all of her social media accounts!!! So, I was freaking out a little and I thought that was really nice of her =) So, thank you Masha and I hope to see you again soon!! Love, Robbie

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My YAGP 2014 Experience

This was my second year performing in YAGP and my first year competing in the Senior Category! I turned 15 in December of 2013. You are basically scheduled in order of age so for contemporary I was the second person on stage and for classical I was FIRST! I could see all of the other dancers in the wings, waiting. NO PRESSURE! I placed top 12 in contemporary and classical and was awarded 3rd place for my performance of the Talisman variation.

The judges were:

Charles Askegard danced professionally with ABT, NYCB with many guest appearances at other companies. Mr. Askegard formed his own company Ballet Next with Michele Wiles (former ABT principal dancer)

Carlos Dos Santos, JR. - A noted Brazilian performer and choreographer and former principal dancer with major Brazillian dance companies.

Kee Juan Han - A native of Singapore and graduate of the Australian Ballet School.  He has performed as a principal dancer with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and was a soloist with Boston Ballet. He directed the Arizona Ballet School for 10 years and currently is the Director of Washington Ballet School.

Adam Sklute - Artistic Director of Ballet West, Adjunct Professor of dance at the University of Utah, oversees Ballet West Academy and serves on the Board of the Gerald Arpino Foundation.


So, YAGP is about handling pressure. That's what I think anyway. I think it is great to do well but I also think if you approach it as a competition you are missing the point. Being on stage can be SCARY. With judges it is REALLY just nerve wracking. The harder the variations get the more pressure you put on yourself to do well and nail this or that. But for me it is about learning to perform under that pressure. To grow through practising my variations and to try to be more and more consistent as well as comfortable on stage. Develop the ability to have nice presentation under pressure with a lot of people watching. For your solo it is all you. Everyone in the room is watching YOU and they all know you are being judged. NO PRESSURE!! That being said I think it is a necessary part of my training, that I actually do enjoy, and I will continue to do with hopes of improving every year and at some point with hopes of being noticed by a reputable company.

I think my contemporary was more fluid than last year . I did the same piece. You pay for choreography so it made sense to use it one more year. You can view last year here  and 2014 below.

As for Diana and Acteon... LOVE this variation but I do think it is challenging. The turns drove me crazy. I was spot on then off. Not consistent. I was worried about them for YAGP and I have to say they were not my best. I have done better.

Talisman - Probably the most fun variation and I did get the higher score with it. I just love performing it. The music is great and it's just fun to dance. I didn't even notice the adjustment I made before my develope which I guess is good. You shouldn't be thinking like that when you are in the middle of performing!

Thanks for following my journey and for your support. Everyone is always really nice and supportive. I look forward to YAGP next year and to continued growth and improvements!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Atlantic Dance Retail Show

Robbie Downey - Ballet Freak and
Ballet Babbler
We headed up to Los Angeles from San Diego a couple of weeks ago to check out the Dance Retail Show. We were looking for new products to add to the Ballet Freak store which is getting a make over! You're going to love it. All of our favorite brands were there and we met some of the nicest people. What else would you expect from this industry?! Below is a recap written by me, with input from my mom, of some of our favorites 

The first booth we stopped at was ainsliewear . This brand provides the official bodysuit of Canada's National Ballet School. Ainslie Cyopik, a retired professional dancer, is the driving force behind this brand. This dancer gone designer saw a need for dance apparel that fit right. Dancewear needs to be functional and beautiful and we think she has accomplished this. We sat for some time with Ainslie and her business partner Terri Margo.

They let us touch the fabrics and took the time to show each piece. It is obvious that they are very proud of the ainsliewear line. The attention to detail from fabrics chosen to the design of each garment shows the care that went into developing the new line. These are high quality leotards!

I, being quite familiar with all brands and having worn mostly all of them, was in love with each and every piece. My favorite was a leotard with artwork on the back called the Valentina print. The story behind the art is as charming as the leotard. It was a piece of art created by Ainslie's father long before he could have known he would have a professional dancer for a daughter. The art was discovered by Ainslie and now graces the back of one of her perfectly shaped leotards.

To see the full line visit 

Next stop was to say hello to Mark Suffolk. He, of course, is the creator of Suffolk pointe shoes which I happen to wear at the moment. I'm in the Stellar model. It is lower profile and he has let me know there is an even more lower profile model coming out this summer (The Sovereign) . We attended a short seminar where Mark and Keri Suffolk discussed how the shoes are made and we were educated on the making of the shoes. They discussed lasts (if I understand correctly, are what the shoes are shaped on) and how each shoe is shaped 4 times. Each shoe has 2 lasts one for shaping it right side out and one for inside out. So if they have 9 styles of shoe and each shoe offers 9 widths and however many sizes that is about a gazillion lasts ( roughly). I think they need a lot of space just to store the lasts. The shoes must also dry on the last so it's not like they can have just one last per style. Like I said that is about a gazillion lasts. Also, the equipment needed to make the shoes is a whole other issue. Read about Mark's machine skills HERE. I can appreciate that all of this dictates what we pay for our shoes.

Me and my shoe guy, Mark Suffolk. 
Mark was even kind enough to take a look at my feet in my shoes and suggested I go even slightly more narrow than what I have now. I have already gone down one full X to XX after realizing I have a compressible foot. I will try XXN (which fits between X and XX) as soon as I can. Suffolk is the only brand that offers these variations of widths. I find it pretty useful. We all know looking for the right shoe is not fun! The shoes are made with care in England and unlike other brands they don't have "makers". Personally I find that this keeps each model more consistent and you know what to expect each time.

Suffolk is also expanding their apparel and accessories line which includes leotards to toe pads. They also now carry sewing tubes. Check it all out at 

Next stop... Jule Dancewear. In case you can't tell she's a dancer. A dancer against "granny prints" . She started her first business venture at 14 with a friend, also making skirts. At 16 Julia went off to train at Pacific Northwest Ballet's professional training program which made it difficult to maintain that partnership. So, at 19, with a desire to expand the line she founded Jule Dancewear. While Julia runs her business she is also currently in her 4th season as a professional dancer at Los Angeles Ballet. 

"I strive to design dancewear with stand out colors and prints with great quality, fit and functionality. The dance world can be quite competitive, so why not wear dancewear that will set you apart from the rest and give you the confidence you need to succeed!" Julia Cinquemani  

Her skirts are well made and the prints are definitely not "granny prints" . She sells leotards and leg warmers too. You can check them out at

Check out Covet Dance Clothing at 
Dance Passion Sacrifice Obsession! What dancer wouldn't wear that t-shirt!? We next stopped by to say hi to Sharene at Covet Dance Clothing. You have probably seen her tees around. I know I have! Great stuff. Sharene is a super creative and fun lady and her line reflects that. The apparel is quality apparel and the prints are well done. I will for sure be sporting some of her products this coming year. She even has t-shirts for your Mom! Keep an eye out for it in the Ballet Freak online store. 

Sharene is also working with artist Flaco Shalom to help raise funds for his 13th Peace project inspired by Misty Copeland. You can expect the t-shirt to be available soon! I'll keep you posted! 

Me and Aaron - Check out their website .
A portion of all proceeds benefits arts education. 

Nom Nom Nom! That is what we did at this booth. Barre is a real food bar developed by professional dancers (made with real ingredients for real athletes). Co-creator, Julia Erickson, is a Principal Dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. CEO and co-creator, Aaron Ingley, also danced professionally with PBT for 9 seasons. I encourage you to read their bios on the website

The barre is a delish REAL FOOD bar. Most "energy" bars don't have real, whole food in their ingredients. These bars are VEGAN (that's cool), high in omega-3s, rich in antioxidants and are balanced energy. What else do you want from a barre? Perfect pirouettes? Me too. My favorite is Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan. YUM!

We also stopped at Wear Moi but there was just way too much fabulousness. It needs it's own post! Coming soon and coming soon to the Ballet Freak Store =) Join my newsletter to get  updates on EVERYTHING going on with me and Ballet Freak and the Ballet World. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sylvie Guillem: Ballerina, Animal Conservationist and Environmental Campaigner

Sylvie Guillem in a Sea Shepherd sweatshirt. ©euronews

Sylvie Guillem is one of the most famous Ballerinas ever. A Ballerina celebrity and she has a lot to say. She inspires me in dance and in life. I love that she was given the nickname Madame Non (Miss No) and I love that she is particular and against anything mediocre. A true artist with real opinions. At 19, she became the youngest √©toile at the Paris Opera Ballet and only four years later she left to be free and dance her own way. 

I really took a special interest in her when I read of her involvement with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. They are against the slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans. Sylvie became obsessed with the organization after seeing a TV show featuring them. The dancer who has never been on a diet changed her diet completely. She switched out meat and fish (which she loved) for vegetables, nuts and seeds. She even stopped eating cheese. It's amazing what happens when you make the connection between your food and where it actually comes from. "There's more protein in lentils than in meat" she said in an interview. 

When Sylvie performed at the Sydney Opera House she arranged for an information stand during each performance and before each show a flyer was put on every seat with more information about Sea Shepherd. I believe I read she did the same at Sadler's Wells in London and perhaps every show possible. Sylvie Guillem sits on the arts and media advisory board for Sea Shepherd with Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot and Martin Sheen. 

I have two things I am really passionate about... ballet and animals. My Mom founded a non-profit when I was a toddler and I was always surrounded by rescued pets. I also helped my Mom campaign for Prop 2 in California when I was about 9. It was a proposition to make cages bigger on factory farms so animals can at least turn around or spread their wings. I wasn't old enough to gather signatures but I helped set up tables and hold the clip boards and supported my Mom. Right now we are following the Cove Guardian reports on the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The Cove Guardians  are a part of Sea Shepherd. 

If you are not familiar with Taiji it is a cove in Japan where fishermen "drive hunt" dolphin pods into the cove and trap them there. They slaughter them for meat which is highly toxic in mercury. They steal the pretty ones from the sea and sell them for sea parks for about $150,000 USD each. Recently a rare juvenile albino dolphin was taken from her mother and pod to be sold. Her family was slaughtered and it is reported that the mother drowned herself in dispair. If hunting is a tradition (as claimed) what is stealing them to sell? I can't tell you how much it enrages me that this is happening right now. Please learn more about it and LIKE the Cove Guardians page on facebook so you can follow what is going on. 

Quotes from Sylvie below and links to interviews. Thank you to my Mom who helped me write this. xoxo Robbie

What you can do... click here

You can also watch an award winning film The Cove. 

"'s a fight that has real value. If we keep on destroying fish, there won't be any left. If the oceans die, we all die. It's as simple as that. People ask, 'Why not worry about saving children?' But we make the mistake of thinking humans are at the centre of everything, when we're only part of the whole. We're doing terrible damage. This is a fight against money and power, but also against people's ignorance." Sylvie Guillem in an interview for The Guardian 2/10/13

"We are deciding they are slaves, that we are superior beings ... and fur is part of it" she adds pointing to my fox-fur-lined raincoat." I do not go to supermarkets ... this horsemeat thing in England is just the tip of the iceberg. People should know that the meat they eat is created from such terrible suffering. If you don't care about the issue, at least care about that!"

Ah, so is this a regret?

"Oui, je regrette ... unfortunately, I opened my eyes too late or I would have become a vegetarian much, much earlier." Sylvie Guillem in an interview for The Australian 2/23/13


Sylvie Guillem: The most exciting dancer in the world is back at Sadler’s Wells – and she’s got scores to settle

Q&A Special: Ballerina Sylvie Guillem
Sylvie Guillem: 'I need to scare myself'
At 47, Sylvie Guillem continues to defy the rules of ballet – and gravity. She talks to Judith Mackrell about her new work, losing her temper – and her fight to save the world's fish

Sylvie Guillem is a ballerina barre none