The tall, coolly regal 30-year-old was promoted in 2008 along with Lauren Cuthbertson, 28, who had her breakthrough in the recent Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. They joined fellow Brit Edward Watson, 35, a principal since 2005. He brings a distinctive ethereal presence to his roles. He is associated with the ultramodern creations of choreographer Wayne McGregor and recently performed smeared in brown goo for an outré version of Kafka's The Metamorphosis. He reckons it should be enough to win him 'ginger freak of the year'.
There is great excitement that three Royal Ballet principals should be British. In a company that reflects London's multiculturalism, full of South Americans and East Europeans, it's a little like the pleasure that comes from an Englishman leading Manchester United's strike force. Not that the dancers set much store by nationality. 'I think it means more to other people than it does to us. I just hope I do my job well - it doesn't matter where I was born,' shrugs Watson.