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  • Writer's pictureYumi La Blanca

Laura Morera - Finding the place she belongs to

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Warm applause echoed, flowers flew in the air - Laura Morera, a much beloved Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet, said farewell to the dancing stage of the Royal Opera House on 17th June 2023.

Although her ‘real’ adieu will take place in Japan on 7th July in Frederick Ashton's ‘A Month in the Country’, it was the London audience’s last chance to see her on stage at the Royal Opera House in Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Anastasia Act III'. Watching her colleagues and ballet masters giving her flowers and embraces, the auditorium was full of emotions as well as appreciation for the celebrated dancer.

Laura has been dancing for the Royal Ballet over 27 years. Born in Madrid, she came over to the foreign land of the UK to join the Royal Ballet School at the very young age of 11, and consecutively joined the Royal Ballet in 1995. Although she was promoted to Principal in 2007 by proving her versatility, outstanding musicality and magical stage presence, it didn’t necessarily mean that every dream came true. Certain signature roles somehow escaped from her career, including Juliet in Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, for which she even begged.

Still, she sparkled in numerous different legendary roles for the company and made unforgettable impressions in whatever character she gave life to: Giselle, Manon, Lise, Sugar Plum Fairy, Mary Vetsera, Marie Larisch, Coppélia and Cinderella, etc… She has won Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards including Outstanding Female Performance Awards (Classical) as Lise in ‘La Fille Mal Gardée’ in 2015 and Best Female Dancer in 2023. Her natural yet expressive acting, poetic musicality and ability to ‘live’ the roles have been adored by many ballet fans.

On the 9th of February this year I had a chance to attend ‘Insights’ at Linbury Studio Theatre, which was a talk event to celebrate her 27 year career with the company. It was indeed full of insights, wit and emotions - we saw her not only as such a unique and inspirational dancer but also as a funny, warm and intelligent individual. At this beautiful event I felt especially grateful when she generously shared her memories with Liam Scarlett. She was his muse, and he gave her wings to set free in the ballet artistry where she had struggled to feel confident. Their artistic connection was special as well as healing, and ballet fans loved watching her shine in his choreographies including ‘Asphodel Meadows’, ‘Viscera’, ‘Sweet Violets‘, ‘Symphonic Dances’, ‘The Age of Anxiety’, ‘Frankenstein’, to name but a few.

We could’ve imagined that her farewell performance might’ve happened in Scarlett’s piece. In her inspiring interview with Paul Arrowsmith for Gramilano, I felt touched to find out that she actually asked about it - not only that, she also asked about a possibility to put his works back in the company.

Although these wishes weren’t fulfilled, MacMillan and Ashton pieces were equally the rightful choice to conclude her beautiful career. With her lyricism and musicality as well as storytelling skills, she excels in the legacies of both choreographers’ works too. ‘Anastasia Act III’, the chosen piece for her farewell in London, was a great masterpiece to embrace her dramatic, mesmerising and compelling interpretation of the title role. Along with the brilliant Ryoichi Hirano as Rasputin, Bennet Gartside, who has known her since their time together at White Lodge, complemented the unforgettable evening as her last dancing partner in their artistic home of Royal Opera House. My only regret was that Laura’s excellently vivid portrayal of ‘Anastasia’ should’ve been appreciated in the full length version, instead of just the act three.

Without her, the Royal Ballet will never be the same.

Her next step is to work as a coach for the Royal Ballet and the MacMillan Estate to pass her expertise and passion to younger generations. Having enjoyed her dancing career, she now must be looking forward to the next stage in her artistic life. She has found her sense of belonging not only to the world of ballet but also to the heart of dance fans. We will surely miss her as a dancer but she still remains a gem in the dance world.

‘Asphodel Meadows’ by Liam Scarlett (with Bennet Gartside)

Frankenstein Pas de Deux - Federico Bonelli and Laura Morera

Laura Morera (Interview by Dance Europe)

Laura Morera to retire as Principal dancer of The Royal Ballet after 27 years

‘The authentic and passionate Laura Morera – a career without limits’ (Interview in Gramilano)


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