On 14 March 2020, The Royal Ballet’s principal dancer Lauren Cuthbertson was dancing Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. A rare honour. She was dancing with former Royal Ballet dancer and Mariinsky principal dancer Xander Parish and cheered on by her mother, her boyfriend and his parents. Two days later, they were returning to London on the Gatwick Express when a message arrived: Royal Ballet classes, rehearsals and performances were suspended with immediate effect because of the spread of the coronavirus.
I’d heard from friends in Europe and America that things were shutting down, so I knew what was coming. So we drove out of London, and now I’m in the countryside with my boyfriend and his parents. I’m lucky to have a garden – if I were in London, it would be a very different story.