Sars-crossed lovers! Royal Ballet pair who began dating after starring in Romeo And Juliet dance intimately in company’s first major show in months – after isolating together during Covid pandemic

  • Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales fell for each other while re-enacting play
  • Couple were able to dance closely together without having to social distance 
  • They had isolated together at Miss Hayward’s London flat throughout the pandemic

They fell for each other while re-enacting one of the greatest love stories of all time.

And it’s partly thanks to Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales’s real-life romance that the Royal Ballet Company was able to stage its first major production in seven months last night.

The couple, who started dating after playing Romeo and Juliet last year, were able to dance closely together without having to social distance as the full company reunited on stage.

Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales (pictured) fell for each other while re-enacting one of the greatest love stories of all time

Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales (pictured) fell for each other while re-enacting one of the greatest love stories of all time

Having isolated together at Miss Hayward’s London flat during the pandemic, they were the natural choices to perform a pas de deux from Romeo And Juliet at the Royal Opera House to a reduced audience. 

Producers created ‘couple bubbles’ for principals, including Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov, while the rest of the company had to dance two metres apart.

Kevin O’Hare, Royal Ballet director, told Tatler: ‘So the only time they have contact with anybody – touching, lifting, pirouettes – is with each other, the rest of the time they don’t touch anybody else.’

Couple: Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales romance blossomed during lockdown

Couple: Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales romance blossomed during lockdown 

Dancers were regularly tested for coronavirus and had to wear masks during the week of intense rehearsals before last night’s show.

The Royal Ballet: Back On Stage showcased highlights from the company’s repertoire and was performed in front of a socially distanced audience of 500 as well as being streamed online. 

The spectators were used to test how getting people back inside the building would work. After months spent training remotely – during which Miss Hayward, 28, and Corrales, 24, turned their local abandoned yoga studio into a rehearsal room – the company resumed in-person rehearsals in July.

Producers created ‘couple bubbles’ for principals, including Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov, while the rest of the company had to dance two metres apart

Producers created ‘couple bubbles’ for principals, including Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov, while the rest of the company had to dance two metres apart

Mr O’Hare said it was ‘in a totally socially distanced way, with masks, wiping down your barre, keeping away from everybody by two metres.

‘We know how to work as a group and dancers have good spatial awareness, which has come in very handy.’

The seats were removed from the stalls at the London venue so that there was enough room for a full orchestra and conductor to perform.

Kenyan-born English dancer Miss Hayward, who appeared in big-screen musical Cats last year, isolated in her small Soho flat with Corrales earlier this year.

Francesca Hayward in the Cats film.  Miss Hayward was accepted into the Royal Ballet School aged 11

Francesca Hayward in the Cats film.  Miss Hayward was accepted into the Royal Ballet School aged 11

‘The first two weeks of lockdown were like a dream come true. I bought this really big L-shaped couch. We’d just lie on it,’ Corrales told The Times.

Miss Hayward was raised by her grandparents in West Sussex from the age of two and was accepted into the Royal Ballet School aged 11.

She met Mexican dancer Corrales when they were cast opposite each other in the Royal Ballet production of Romeo And Juliet last year.

‘When I first found out it was going to be Francesca, I was extremely happy,’ he said. ‘Especially when you’re trying to tell the story of Romeo and Juliet, you really hope that you have a chemistry with whoever you’re dancing with.’

Miss Hayward said she was blown away with Corrales’s ‘energy and fire.’

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