Moira Shearer (published 1982)


Shearer talks about her first contact with Swan Lake at age 11 at the Sadler’s Walls ballet school. She was one of the singers and they only performed once or twice a year. She also discusses learning the title role in Giselle, and the difficulty dancing in George Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial.

Biographical note:

Shearer was born in Scotland in 1926. She began her ballet training in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and continued it in London. In 1942 she joined the corps of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet (now known as the Birmingham Royal Ballet) and created many roles there in collaboration with choreographer Frederick Ashton. In 1948 she starred in The Red Shoes, a retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson folktale of a young woman tricked into a destructive dance by a demonic pair of shoes. The film is now recognized as a classic of British cinema that influenced many other portrayals of classical dance in film. Shearer left the Sadler's Wells company in 1952 to pursue an acting career. At the time of this interview, she was living in Edinburgh with her family.





Edinburgh, Scotland




“Moira Shearer (published 1982),” Dance Dialogues: Interviews by Barbara Newman, 1979-Present, accessed September 24, 2020,