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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 during intermission.

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

“I was so tired I could barely walk,” she wrote when she posted a photo of herself being lifted by the costume head to her dressing room during a break.

Despite her fatigue, Francesca fought on to appear in the tragic finale.

In another social media post, she candidly discussed the emotional challenges of the performance, admitting: “I’ve dreamed of dancing Odette and Odile since I was three years old. The reality of doing it is a 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 during intermission (pictured)

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 during intermission (pictured)

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

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

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“I was so tired I could barely walk,” she wrote, posting a photo of herself being lifted by the costume head to her dressing room during a break.

Francesca wrote on Instagram after the final canvas for the production, saying: ‘Always grateful to have danced this beast of a ballet with @williambracewell as my prince and grateful for dear friends who cheered me on when I needed it most…

“The fourth photo is of the amazing Adrian (main costume) taking me back to my dressing room after act three, when I was so tired I could barely walk.”

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

“This ballet is like a marathon to get through and I’m honestly really proud of myself for doing it.

“I am the happiest Swan Queen to have had @williambracewell as my prince, it has been the greatest joy and honor to dance with him and I have cherished absolutely every second in the studio with him and with my coach Lesley Collier.

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

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

In a previous post, the dancer, left, added: 'I have dreamed of dancing Odette and Odile since I was three years old.  The reality of doing it was a lot harder than I ever imagined'

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

“I couldn’t have done any of the great ballets of my career without Lesley and it was really special to work with her on this iconic ballet.

“I hope I’ll have years to master Swan Lake, but it feels good to finally start somewhere.”

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

Kenyan born Francesca was raised by her grandparents in West Sussex from the age of two and was admitted to the Royal Ballet School at the age of 11.

The dancer started learning ballet at the age of three, after becoming obsessed with the nutcracker ballet.

The dancer (pictured in June 2022) started ballet at the age of three, after becoming obsessed with the nutcracker ballet

The dancer (pictured in June 2022) started ballet at the age of three, after becoming obsessed with the nutcracker ballet

Speaking to Vogue in 2018 about her career, she said,

Thinking back to her time in ballet school, at such a young age, she also said,

Speaking to Vogue in 2018 about her career, she said, “I remember the point where I realized I could do it professionally as a job and get paid for it. When that hit me, it was just amazing, and I felt really happy.”

She joined the Royal Ballet in 2010, after winning impressive awards such as the Young British Dancer of the Year, she performed in classical ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and is now a principal dancer.

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

Speaking to Vogue in 2018 about her career, she said, “I remember the point when I realized I could do it professionally as a job and get paid for it. When that hit me, it was just amazing, and I felt really happy.”

Thinking back to her time in ballet school, at such a young age, she also said, “As an 11-year-old you learn to take criticism every day and make it into something positive – otherwise you’ll never make it in ballet.”

She joined 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 classical ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and is now a principal dancer

She joined 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 classical ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and is now a principal dancer

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