Royal Ballet's Edward Watson hails Strictly Come Dancing for breaking 'stigma'
The Royal Ballet's principal dancer Edward Watson has hailed BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing for breaking down the "stigma" associated with men dancing.
Talking to the Evening Standard about his current Royal Opera House performances, the 39-year-old said: "Shows like Strictly Come Dancing - you have male pop stars, athletes getting really passionate about it."
He added: "I think that helped break down the stigma, that example for guys."
Watson graduated into the Royal Ballet in 1994, becoming a principal dancer a year later.
During his illustrious career, the Kent-born star has been lauded for a number of productions. In 2012, he received an Olivier Award for outstanding achievement in dance for his performance as Gregor Samsa in Arthur Pita's interpretation of Franz Kafka's Metamorphorsis.
Three years later, he won a Prix Benois de la Danse for his performance as Leontes in Christopher Wheeldon The Winter's Tale.
The latest accolade is his MBE, which he will collect from Buckingham Palace on Tuesday October 6, but the dancer will have to delay any revelry until after the first night of Raven Girl and Connectome.
The Royal Opera House's Raven Girl is a modern fairytale from the Royal Ballet's Wayne McGregor, in collaboration with award-winning writer Audrey Niffenegger and composer Gabriel Yared.
Alastair Marriott's acclaimed 2014 ballet Connectome explores ideas of identity and loss.
"It's all happening in one day," he said. "I go to the Palace to get my MBE which is every exciting, then I've got my first show of the season back at the Opera House."
He continued: "I don't think there will be a celebration, I have to go back and do class and concentrate and do a show in the evening. I've invited a few people to see the show then I might have a drink afterwards."
Tickets and information about Raven Girl and Connectome are available on http://www.roh.org.uk/productions, the Royal Opera House website.