Scottish Ballet principal Bethany Kingsley-Garner – 'I have the happiest memories of being on the Royal Opera House stage'
- Kelly Apter
- 17 October 2017
The last time she performed on the Royal Opera House stage, Bethany Kingsley-Garner was a new graduate waiting for her career to start. Ten years later, she's returning to that hallowed theatre as a principal with Scottish Ballet
'I feel emotional just talking about it,' says Bethany Kingsley-Garner, when asked about Scottish Ballet's upcoming performance at the Royal Opera House. 'But I think "proud" is probably the first word that comes to mind – and it's not for myself as much as feeling proud to be there with a company that I feel so passionate about. I wouldn't want to be sharing the stage with anyone else.'
It's the first time in Scottish Ballet's 60-year history that the company will play the Covent Garden venue, but for Kingsley-Garner, it's a kind of home-coming. Trained at the Royal Ballet School, she regularly appeared at the Opera House from the age of 11 onwards, playing small roles in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker alongside former Royal Ballet principal Darcey Bussell.
Then, in 2007, Kingsley-Garner and her graduating class danced their final steps there as students. And when she returns to the Opera House this month for Kenneth MacMillan: A National Celebration, performed by companies from across the UK, she'll see a lot of familiar – albeit slightly more grown-up faces – backstage.
'From my year at the Royal Ballet School I'll see Claire Calvert who's in the Royal Ballet, Yvette Knight from Birmingham Royal Ballet, Antoinette Brooks-Daw from Northern Ballet, and others who were in the year above and below me,' says Kingsley-Garner. 'It's going to be so nice to be with everyone again – and in that theatre. I have the happiest memories of being on the Royal Opera House stage. I can still remember looking up at the spotlight during our graduation performance, and thinking I'm about to start my life in Scotland now, which was huge.'