To reach the heights in ballet, performing to the most discriminating audience in timeless classics like Swan Lake, is a long hard climb; it requires great talent, immense dedication and a lot of really hard work. In the case of Yvette Knight, that climb started before she reached the ripe old age of four, and has brought her to the Birmingham Royal Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the UK.
Yvette has performed in Swan Lake as an artist to sell-out crowds in the UK and in the United States, but when she dances as one of the Prince’s Consorts in Manchester it will be as First artist, another large step up the ladder to her ultimate goal of Principal dancer. Before she reaches that peak, she will have to qualify as a soloist and then as First soloist, but the goal is well worth the effort to this ballerina.
She began her studies at the White Lodge, a boarding school with some of the most stringent requirements anyone could be asked to meet. Established by Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet, in 1955, that school of dance is a crucible for young dancers beginning at age eleven. Once enrolled, they don’t go home again unless they’re ‘assessed out’ – and more than half of them are. Yvette was one of the chosen few who finally gained a position in the BRB.
Ms Knight’s career was threatened when she suffered a severe foot injury in her first year with the company, but she overcame that setback with typical determination and more hard work. She has been with the BRB since 2007 and her appearance at the Lowry in Salford Quays is her first as a First artist.