Cupcakes and Conversation with… well, you guess!
Many cupcakes have been baked in order to make this on-going interview series with professional ballet dancers, and to celebrate I’ve picked out a selection of my favourite answers to make a uniquely flavoured cupcake! Each question has been answered by a different dancer this time – male and female.
Can you spot who said what ?
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
I go through the same pattern most mornings; I get up at the last possible moment, think of a million excuses as to how I could have a little more sleep or a little longer in bed, to then come to the realisation that once I make it out of my bed I’m off to do what I love. I find the thought of being in the creative atmosphere of the studio very motivating no matter what time of the day.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I start out by darning just the bottom of the tip of the shoe. I’ve been doing this for a few years now to make them quieter. I then sew my elastic and ribbons. I wear Freed Specials; they are half-shanked with elastic drawstrings. I take the two nails out of the shanks and put hot pink duct tape (a gift from my boyfriend) on them to prevent blisters.
What would surprise people about you ?
I’ve been doing an annual 5km swimathon for the past eight years, raising money for charity. It always falls in March or April, in the thick of our season, so there’s no training involved. In fact I usually haven’t swum since August of the year before !
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I have a quick hot bath to get my body moving, and coffee. I force myself to eat porridge in the morning even though I don’t like it as it’s the only thing that truly gives me energy for the day; quite frankly though I would rather be starting the day with an almond croissant ! Once I’m at work I do a Pilates warm up to keep my body strong and balanced.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I like to have a light meal before a show. Usually by half hour my hair and make-up are done and I am stretching. I give myself a barre that I have been doing since my first year in the corps. Before I put my costume on I spray perfume (Chanel Chance) three times and then right before I go on stage I say a prayer and check my ribbons. Routine before a show is really important.
How would someone else describe you ?
I guess it depends on who you ask ! I think most people would describe me as petite, blonde (not just the hair colour!), caring and considerate.
Which role has tested you the most and how ?
I still think working with the Company as a student was my biggest challenge. You have to be very quick at picking up the choreography, learn many if not every corps de ballet place and be able to step in for anyone at any time. Plus you don’t know anyone and on top of that you’re hoping to get a contract out of it all. Talk about pressure !
Who would you most like to dance with ?
Among all male ballet stars, Carlos Acosta is definately one that I’d love to dance with; he’s such an amazing dancer and person.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
I don’t know really, I mean that’s kind of an expansive question, because I’m not sure “famous people” would be the most interesting to have for dinner. I usually go for dinner with my friends and a dinner with them is always conversation about furthering the art form and different opinions on things going on in the world. I would rather have a stimulating conversation with them than have six famous people around.
What is your best piece of advice ?
If anyone is unfortunate enough to be injured – use every day as a learning experience. Being injured was one of the most educational periods of my life. I now have so much more knowledge to take with me in my career. I try to look at things in a positive way or it would just be wasted time in my career and in my life – I don’t intend to waste a second.
Follow your own instinct, and remain committed to it. In this profession, there can be no half measures, it has to be 100% dedication. You either want to do it or you don’t.
How would someone else describe you ?
It would probably differ a lot depending on who you were to ask though most people would be likely to agree with stubborn, determined and strong minded.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I think I’m a good partner because when I’m partnering a girl I’m not worrying about myself at all. If my foot points with hers fine, but I’m more worried about if she looks good, if she’s on her leg, does SHE feel comfortable; I’m all about her. The best review I have ever gotten as a partner is when they didn’t mention me. Pas de deux is a dance of two but she is the most important and should be the one that is noticed. Everything the man does should be seamless.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
I absolutely love musicals so I think it would have to be a Disney film so I would be a cartoon.
What is your favourite quote ?
“If you wanna limit yourself that’s fine, but don’t let other people do it for you.”
“It’s impossible” said Reason. “It’s reckless” said Experience. “It’s useless” cut off the Pride. “Give it a try” whispered the Dream.
What are you most proud of ?
Making it as a classical dancer. It is a truly gruelling process even to make it to the corps de ballet of any company and so many people aren’t suited even if they put everything into it.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
Most important is chemistry; a connection of some sort. Also strength – I like to feel 110% safe, like you can go out there on to the stage together and no matter what happens you will be able to get out of any situation.