The night Royal Ballet star danced herself off her feet

Francesca Hayward – the principal dancer at the Royal Ballet – has revealed how her role as the Swan Queen in a recent production of Swan Lake left her so exhausted one night that she had to be carried back to her dressing room at the interval.

Taking to Instagram, the London-based 29-year-old – who is best known for her performance in the film Cats (2019) – opened up about her experience of playing the complex part.

‘I was so tired I could barely walk,’ she wrote when posting an image of herself being lifted back to her dressing room by the head of costume during an interval.

Despite her weariness, Francesca battled on to appear in the tragic finale.

In another social media post, she candidly discussed the emotional challenges of the performance, admitting: ‘I’ve dreamt of dancing Odette and Odile since I was three years old. The reality of doing it is a whole lot harder than I ever imagined.’

Francesca Hayward – the principal dancer at the Royal Ballet – has revealed how her role as the Swan Queen in a recent production of Swan Lake left her so exhausted one night that she had to be carried back to her dressing room at the interval (pictured)

Taking to Instagram, the London-based 29-year-old - who is best known for her performance in the film Cats (2019) - opened up about her experience of playing the complex part (pictured)

Taking to Instagram, the London-based 29-year-old – who is best known for her performance in the film Cats (2019) – opened up about her experience of playing the complex part (pictured)

'I was so tired I could barely walk,' she wrote when posting an image of herself being lifted back to her dressing room by the head of costume during an interval

‘I was so tired I could barely walk,’ she wrote when posting an image of herself being lifted back to her dressing room by the head of costume during an interval

Writing on Instagram following the final curtain for the production, Francesca said: ‘Ever grateful to have danced this beast of a ballet with @williambracewell as my prince and thankful for dear friends who cheered me on when I needed it most…

‘Fourth photo is of wonderful Adrian (Head of Costume) carrying me back to my dressing room after Act 3 when I was so tired I could barely even walk.’

In an earlier post, she added: ‘I’ve dreamt of dancing Odette and Odile since I was three years old. The reality of doing it was a whole lot harder than I ever imagined.

‘This ballet is like a marathon to get through and I’m honestly very proud of myself for doing just that.

‘I am the luckiest Swan Queen to have had @williambracewell as my Prince, it has been the biggest joy and honor to dance with him and I’ve absolutely treasured every second in the studio with him and with my coach Lesley Collier.

In 2019, she took time out of the Royal Ballet to film the live-action remake of Cats - where she played a character called 'Victoria the White Cat' (pictured centre)

In 2019, she took time out of the Royal Ballet to film the live-action remake of Cats – where she played a character called ‘Victoria the White Cat’ (pictured centre)

In an earlier post, the dancer, left, added: 'I've dreamt of dancing Odette and Odile since I was three years old.  The reality of doing it was a whole lot harder than I ever imagined'

'This ballet is like a marathon to get through and I¿m honestly very proud of myself for doing just that,' she said

In an earlier post, the dancer added: ‘I’ve dreamt of dancing Odette and Odile since I was three years old. The reality of doing it was a whole lot harder than I ever imagined’

‘I couldn’t have done any of the big ballets in my career without Lesley and it was truly special working with her on this iconic one.

‘I hope I’ll have years more of learning how to master Swan Lake but it feels good to have finally started somewhere.’

‘Swan Lake is one of the biggest roles for a ballerina so it’s very important to me,’ Francesca previously said.

Kenyan-born Francesca was raised by her grandparents in West Sussex from the age of two and was accepted into the Royal Ballet School aged 11.

The dancer started learning ballet at three, after becoming obsessed with the Nutcracker ballet.

The dancer (pictured in June 2022) started learning ballet at three, after becoming obsessed with the Nutcracker ballet

The dancer (pictured in June 2022) started learning ballet at three, after becoming obsessed with the Nutcracker ballet

She spoke to Vogue in 2018 about her career and said: 'I remember the point I realized I could do it professionally as a job and be paid for it.  When that sunk in that was just amazing, and I felt really lucky.'

Recalling her time at ballet school, at such a young age, she also said: 'At aged eleven, you're learning taking criticism every day and making it a positive thing, otherwise you will never make it in ballet.'

She spoke to Vogue in 2018 about her career and said: ‘I remember the point I realized I could do it professionally as a job and be paid for it. When that sunk in that was just amazing, and I felt really lucky.’

Joining the Royal ballet in 2010, after winning impressive awards such as the Young British Dancer of the Year, she went on to perform in classic ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and is now a principle dancer.

In 2019, she took time out of the Royal Ballet to film the live-action remake of Cats – where she played a character called ‘Victoria the White Cat’.

She spoke to Vogue in 2018 about her career and said: ‘I remember the point I realized I could do it professionally as a job and be paid for it. When that sunk in that was just amazing, and I felt really lucky.’

Recalling her time at ballet school, at such a young age, she also said: ‘At aged eleven, you’re learning taking criticism every day and making it a positive thing – otherwise you will never make it in ballet.’

Joining the Royal ballet in 2010, after winning impressive awards such as the Young British Dancer of the Year (pictured in 2002 receiving her award), she went on to perform in classic ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and is now a principle dancer

Joining the Royal ballet in 2010, after winning impressive awards such as the Young British Dancer of the Year (pictured in 2002 receiving her award), she went on to perform in classic ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and is now a principle dancer

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