Cupcakes & Conversation with Begona Cao, Principal, English National Ballet

cupcakes with three candles

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Cupcakes & conversation with Begoña Cao, Principal, English National Ballet

Begona dances with Carlos Acosta on 9th and 10th July at The Lowry, Manchester, and from 22-25th July at The Coliseum, London, and with English National Ballet.

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
The prospect of a strong cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast.

Who would you most like to dance with ?
Carlos Acosta – am actually dancing with him this season. Lucky me!


Photo : Diana Gomez

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I darn the tip of my pointe shoes and sew on elastic and ribbons – all done on the short daily bus trips to and from work to the bemusement of fellow passengers.

What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I am currently on holiday from ENB. That means that, although I am not dancing with ENB, I have daily class and rehearsals with Carlos and his guest artists for up-coming mixed-bill performances in Manchester and the London Coliseum this summer. This involves sneaking into the principals’ class at the Royal Ballet company which is pretty inspiring!


Begoña Cao as Manon
Antony Dowson as Monsieur GM
Manon Act II
Photo: Annabel Moeller

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Jamie Oliver (doubling-up as guest and cook! Sorry Jamie).
Pedro Almodovar (I can’t believe that he wouldn’t live up to the brilliance of his films),
Madonna (to chat through the ins and outs of the dance routines my sister and I choreographed to the cassette of True Blue circa 1989).
Sylvie Guillem (as my all time hero).
Elton John (he’s always having parties, he must be good fun).
President Obama (carries the hopes of a generation).

What would surprise people about you ?
I’m a pretty good mimic – I may have missed my calling as an impressionist.

Who inspired you to dance ?
My mum who is full of life and energy and has instilled in me a determination to take on any challenge (however daunting it may seem).


Swan Lake
Photo: Daria Klimentová

How would someone else describe you ?
I think they would say: five foot five, dark hair, big brown eyes, slim…dances.

What is your best piece of advice ?
Carpe Diem.

Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Sleeping Beauty has tested my technique and stamina to the limits.

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
I once modelled as a Greek statue for a do-it-yourself book with instructions on how to recreate the look!

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
Not to grumble about my current costumes but I would design a tutu that flexes with your back and fits like a second-skin.

What are you most proud of ?
Having a beautiful niece and god-daughter: she is called Iris. She is disabled and for such a little person (she’s almost two) with so many challenges she has a strength, determination and sunny nature inspiring the same in all those around her.

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I am learning sign-language (Makaton).

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14 Responses to “Cupcakes & Conversation with Begona Cao, Principal, English National Ballet”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    loved the interview but what a signature ! man !!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    oooooh to be dancing with carlos… you are one lucky lady.thanks for the interview – great read.Good luck to Begona with the sign language

  3. Anonymous Says:

    another superb interview – well done

  4. David Says:

    Perhaps you should know that a certain American Royal Ballet hater also takes pot shots at any kind of (what he perceives as) British provinciality. You'd be wasting your time trying to counter his arguments. I know, I've tried on the operatic front.Your blog, on the other hand, is exactly what a good specialised blog should be. Keep up the good work.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    how do you manage to write so many great interviews. the questions are fascinating and provoke such an interesting bunch of replies. great stuff – cant wait for the next.

  6. Elise Says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments. the interviews are fun to do and always revealing in some way. Keep tuned….

  7. Anonymous Says:

    This is just soooooo readable – great stuff and keep the interviews coming…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    well done on your promotion Begona ! Happy summer.Thank you for writing these interview Elise – love them all !

  9. Elise Says:

    Hi and thank you Anon's for your comments. Glad to hear you like the interviews – they are a pleasure to work on.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I saw Begona dancing in carlos's show last week and then i found your interview with her. She's an amazingly talented dancer and who knew about the sign language – I would never have guessed ! thank you for writing it and good luck to begona.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    saw Begona dance with Carlos – loved every minute. what a great dancer (they both are actually !) Brilliant interview yet again – keep up the good work please………………..

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Wicked interview, cool website too.. I'll be back

  13. LoloDesigns Says:

    Hi there! Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. It's really nice to get such lovely feedback.Been having a look around and you some beautiful photos and great interviews. I do like ballet, although sadly have never seen it live, something I must fix! xx

  14. Anne Says:

    Full of life.