Cupcakes & conversation with Begoña Cao, Principal, 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!
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!
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).
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 ?
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.