Here I have selected my favourite clips where the female dancer is showcased. I could have chosen the obvious title roles in Giselle, Manon or Cinderella, but I've tried to go for slightly more unusual ballets...
1. Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet has to be the ultimate romantic ballet. The balcony scene, in particular, typifies to me what it feels like to be in love. Alessandra Ferri is the perfect Juliet - naïve, overwhelmed, passionate - and here she is alongside Wayne Eagling in this fabulous pas de deux for any ballerina:
2. The Rose Adage from Sleeping Beauty is a famously difficult role for a ballerina, as she has to stand centre stage on pointe in attitude position (leg bent behind at hip height) and be promenaded by four different princes with a moment of balance in between each. What's more is that this comes at the end several minutes continuous and exhausting dancing! This clip shows Marianela Nuñez, who I find to be a delightfully warm, radiant and charming Aurora. I especially love how she acknowledges each prince as she takes his hand:
3.The Dying Swan is a short solo for a ballerina, choreographed by Michael Fokine. Anna Pavlova is the original and the best in the role, as she embodies both beauty and tragedy in her heart-breaking battle against death:
4. Another MacMillan ballet, Concerto, features this gorgeous central andante, which was inspired by Lynn Seymour warming up at the barre. The pas de deux begins with the male dancer as a human barre for his partner, but an intriguing and beautiful relationship soon develops between the couple. For the ballerina, performed here by Marianela Nuñez (alongside Rupert Pennefather), the role is the epitome of elegance and simplicity:
5. I couldn't fail to include the playful femininity of Kitri's solo from Don Quixote, performed in this clip by the irresistible Natalia Osipova:
And, a little extra bonus... I love this Act III variation from Raymonda, which mixes elegance, grandeur and tricky technique to beautiful music by Alexander Glazunov. Here's Sylvie Guillem performing the role: