This was a piéce d’occasion for a gala at Covent Garden to celebrate Britain’s accession in January 1973 to the European Community and was the first of two MacMillan contributions to the evening’s programme (in the other Rudolf Nureyev and Lynn Seymour danced the Side Show pas de deux). The couple in Pavane were Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell, who also designed the costumes.

For Mary Clarke, writing in Dancing Times, the pas de deux was “one of the loveliest he (MacMillan) has written; not perhaps Gala fare, too sensitive and delicate, but with some extraordinarily beautiful lifts and changes of direction.”Pavane took on an intensely elegiac quality when, after Kenneth MacMillan’s death, Birmingham Royal Ballet added performances to a mixed programme as a tribute to his memory. The dancers were Marion Tait and Kevin O’Hare.

  • First performance: Covent Garden, 13 January 1973

  • Company: The Royal Ballet

  • Cast: Antoinette Sibley, Anthony Dowell

  • Music: Gabriel Fauré, Pavane

  • Design: Anthony Dowell

  • Benesh notation score: Monica Parker (1973). Preliminary master score