I always wondered, how did a dancer become a Principal ballet dancer? Was it freakish talent, the persona of a total bitch, having a Sugar-Daddy, or a pushy Mother? On Friday night at the International Gala of Ballet I found the answer quite simply. Somewhere between the Korean Pas de Deux and the interval I leaned over to my host and whispered, Who is she? He knew who I was talking about straight away and casually dropped,
Well, that’s Rachael Walsh. The Principal.
So the answer is not talent, nor image, technique or contacts it is pure and unadulterated charisma. It was as if the whole company were merely her backdrop. I was mesmerised by her eyes, the way she portrayed the emotions of the piece without resorting to cheap facial expressions. I was drawn into an Havana Nights fantasy as she performed with Samuel Colbey, who from row D is the image of Diego Luna. The score from Gladiator had my soul soaring into the rafters of the Playhouse as Weir’s chorography of The Gathering took shape across the stage. The group dance was a spooky contemporary piece which reminded me of cult scenes from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and in my opinion, the locals stole the show.