Portuguese promoted to principal dancer at UK’s Royal Ballet
The extraordinary journey of a once ‘troubled child’ put into foster care has reached a fairytale pinnacle: Marcelino Sambé, the son of an African father and Portuguese mother, has been promoted to principal dancer at the Royal Ballet in London.
The information was published by the company’s director Kevin O’Hare who said he was “thrilled to announce” it, extolling not only on Sambé’s many achievements but on his “wonderful personality that endears him to audiences and fellow Company members alike”.
The Times acknowledges that Sambé, born 25 years ago – coincidentally on World Dance Day – has reached the summit of the dance world “becoming only the second black male dancer ever to join the Royal Ballet’s top rank”.
And it’s the Times that delves back into Sambé’s past, explaining the heartbreak after his father died young, and his mother “could not cope”.
Sambé was placed in foster care, and it’s here that everything changed.
His adoptive family – Fernanda and Manuel Barroso, and his sister, Maria, who is also a dancer – could not have been more supportive.
Fernanda would wait outside the ballet school where her children were enrolled “for as long as we needed to be waited for . . . she did it gladly and really believed in us”, Sambé told the Times.
Here, RTP recalls that Sambé joined the Royal Ballet in 2012 “and was instantly considered one of the emerging dancers of the time”.
Last year Forbes magazine ranked him among the most brilliant young Europeans under the age of 30, and now this exceptional accolade.
Talking over Skype to RTP last week, Sambé said he hopes his story inspires other young dancers as, in his opinion, success isn’t the stuff of films, it can be “a reality” as long as dancers develop their potential “to the maximum” and follow their dreams.