Donald MacLeary (published 1982)

Dublin Core


Donald MacLeary (published 1982)


MacLeary discusses his role as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake.

Biographical note:

MacLeary was born in Glasgow in 1937. He began his training with Sheila Ross in Inverness shortly before he entered Sadler’s Wells Ballet School and joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet in 1954. He created roles for Kenneth MacMillan in Danses Concertantes, The Burrow, and Le Baiser de la Fée. Following a performance of Swan Lake with Svetlana Beriosova, who would become his longtime partner, he was promoted to principal and transferred to the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. He retired in 1975 and remained with the Royal Ballet as ballet master and later became réptitéur to the principal artists of the Royal Ballet. As a dancer he was known for his strong finesse and natural romanticism.


Pratt SILS LIS-665, Barbara Newman

Date Created

May 17, 1979



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MacLeary in “Elite Syncopations,” 1974. © Leslie E. Spatt

Is Part Of

Newman, B. (1982). Striking a balance: Dancers talk about dancing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Newman, B. (1992). Striking a balance: Dancers talk about dancing. New York: Limelight Editions.




Interviews recorded on cassette by Barbara Newman

Rights Holder

Barbara Newman, Donald MacLeary

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Audio Cassette Tape

Digital Format


Digital Master




Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbps/24 kHz


Barbara Newman


Donald MacLeary, 1937-


Baltimore, MD

Additional content

"Today's craze for physical virtuosity threatens dancers like Donald MacLeary with extinction and renders superfluous the rarest qualities of their performances, qualities like dignity, modesty and refinement. Many men at the Royal Ballet have danced with greater charisma and more spectacular technique than MacLeary, but no one in my experience has seemed as intrinsically aristocratic or consistently gracious. With a partner, he was attentive to the point of self-effacement, flattering her as a finely wrought setting flatters the jewel it displays. Because he was always where he was meant to be, physically and dramatically, you trusted him. Trusting him, you were all the more quickly and willingly persuaded by the illusion he so convincingly created. The Royal Ballet is lessened without him, as ballet itself is diminished without dancers like him," Barbara Newman (1992).




“Donald MacLeary (published 1982),” Dance Dialogues: Interviews by Barbara Newman, 1979-Present, accessed June 28, 2022,

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