Sylvie Guillem CBE, was born on 23 February 1965 in Paris, France. As a child, she trained in gymnastics under the instruction of her mother, a gymnastics teacher. In 1977 aged 11, she began training at the Paris Opera Ballet School, and in 1981 joined the company's corps de ballet. She was promoted to the rank of "Etoile" by Rudolf Nureyev at the age of 19. Since then she has performed all the leading roles of the classical repertoire with the world's leading companies including The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, the Kirov, The Tokyo Ballet, Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and La Scala.
A world famous dancer with an extensive career at the Paris Opera Ballet, as a Principal Guest Artist at the Royal Ballet and Tokyo Ballet, Guillem has played some iconic roles in ballets by Kenneth MacMillan, Maurice B?jart, Frederick Ashton, Wlliam Forsythe and Mats Ek. A Sadler's Wells Associate Artist since 2006, she has diversified as a dancer forging an undisputable reputation as a major force in the world of contemporary dance. For this very special programme entitled Life in Progress, she will dance two new works including a solo with live musicians on stage, choreographed by Sacred Monsters choreographer Akram Khan. The second will be a pas de deux with Italian dancer Emanuela Montanari from La Scala, choreographed by Russell Maliphant who collaborated with her on the award-winning PUSH. This last opportunity to see her dance on stage will also include Mats Ek's touching and poignant Bye which was made especially for her and performed as part of the 6000 miles away programme, and William Forsythe's Duo performed by two male dancers.