Cupcakes and Conversation with Daisy Long, Corps de Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
I’m usually a morning person and always wake up 2 hours before class. What really motivates me are the rehearsals I have later on in the day: it’s working on ballets in the studio and going out on stage that inspires me to get up and get going!
Performing. I have always loved the performing arts. Whether it be for a sold out audience at the Stuttgart Ballet or as a kid in my living room for my parents, I have just always loved being able to express myself through movement and to entertain people.
What are you looking forward to dancing next year?
Next year we are doing a few new contemporary works that should be really interesting. I really like Christian Spuck’s choreography and so I’m definitely looking forward to his new ballet DAS FRÄULEIN VON S. There’s also a triple bill with great choreographers like Mauro Bigonzetti, Marco Goecke, and Edward Clug that should be really cool. We just started work in the studios and it is so exciting to see these new pieces grow! On the other hand, we will be doing some very classical ballets like Swan Lake and La Sylphide. So there will be a good balance between the classical works and the more
contemporary ones for me this season.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
I don’t really have a specific dancer that I would most like to dance with yet. I feel lucky enough just to be surrounded by such great and talented dancers in the Corps de ballet here in Stuttgart. But I definitely know that one day I’d love to dance Lulu in Christian Spuck’s ballet Lulu. Eine Monstretragoedie. It’s so dramatic!
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
I would love to dance in an open air Greek amphitheater. I’ve always wanted to go to Greece and there’s just something about the idea of dancing outside that sounds so romantic and appealing to me.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
It’s kind of a mission preparing each pair of shoes for a show! I have to darn the tips, sew the ribbons and elastics on, synch the inner side of my shoes to make my heel look smaller and instep bigger, sew the area around the drawstring to make sure my shoe stays tight around my bunions, and finally depending on the ballet I usually use a bit of white makeup to make them appear more matte and not so shinny.
What is your daily routine at the moment?
I go to class every day from Monday to Saturday. Morning class is at 10:30 a.m, followed by rehearsals for either Swan Lake, Das Fräulein von S., or The Taming of the Shrew most days until 6:30 p.m. If there is a performance at night, I usually have a free afternoon and am back in the theater around 5 p.m. to start getting ready for the show.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day?
I usually eat a lot of salads and sandwiches during the day. In general I eat pretty healthily; I don’t like fried or fatty foods much anyway. I love going to dinner with friends, so sometimes we’ll go for sushi or Italian food. I’m also a bit of a chocoholic and will keep a little stash at my place in the theater
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
I don’t revere celebrities at all, really, but if I could invite ANYONE it would be people who have had a great influence on the arts: Make it William Shakespeare, Peter I. Tchaikovsky, Salvador Dali, Antoni Gaudi and John Cranko (including his dog). And probably Mahatma Gandhi would be a good sixth guest to keep them all together peacefully.
What would surprise people about you?
You might find it surprising that I really love tech-house/electro music, my guilty pleasure is trash reality TV shows, and that as a little kid I was more into soccer than into ballet!
Who inspired you to dance?
My ballet teacher from home, Marat Daukayev. He was the first person that really saw the potential in me. He made me feel like I could actually make it if I was willing to push myself and put in the blood, sweat, and tears, but also the passion it takes to dance professionally.
What is your best piece of advice?
To try to always see the positive in whatever you do. There is so much negativity around and it can be really contagious and draining. So the best piece of advice that I can give, which is something I always have to remember to do myself, is to be grateful for what you have because it might not last forever. Especially ballet being such a short lived career, we all get caught up in it sometimes and can lose sight of how truly lucky we are.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I always get to the theater 2 hours before a show. I get my hair done and do my make up. Then I warm myself up, put on my costume, and by that time I usually have about 15 minutes on stage beforehand to try some things, go over spacing or do any other last minute detail that might need attention.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
That would be Beethovens 7th Sinfonie by Uwe Scholz – I danced it in the Corps de Ballet in my second season here at Stuttgart Ballet already, and this ballet is so challenging technically! It took some time to get it all together, but once I got it was great fun to dance!
What do you look for in a dance partner?
Someone that is strong and that is coordinated, and that I feel I can connect with. I like to work with people that are open and easy going. I really like it when a partner is up for trying new things and we both try to stay open to corrections or constructive criticism.
What is your favourite quote?
“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” (Angela Monet)
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you?
I’d say adagio, especially on the left side!
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far?
Well I’ve had a lot of great moments on stage so far. But one of my first experiences was when I was still in the John Cranko School and I had to jump in for Swan Lake at the last minute. I was so terrified, but also felt such a huge rush of adrenaline!
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
It’s hard to say – I just hope that in a year’s time I’ll be dancing more and more because that’s when I really love my job: when I feel like I’m pushing myself and working hard. I’m looking forward to dancing a lot of different styles this season and to get more and more experience on and off stage.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
Probably my grandfather and grandmother who never got the chance to see me dance professionally here in Germany. They were always so supportive, and I know they would have loved to see how far I’ve come after so many years of hard work.