Cupcakes & Conversation with Andrea Bayne, Principal, Ballet Victoria
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
The simple fact of waking up and knowing that I am able to fulfill my passion as my career is more than enough to get me going on a Monday morning, I feel so fortunate.
Why ballet ?
I guess this is a difficult question for me to answer because dancing has never been a question for me, it is something that is a part of me and makes me whole. The physicality in combination with the artistry is something that for me, is irreplaceable.
What are you looking forward to dancing during 2012 & what are the big challenges likely to be for you ?
I am really looking forward to BV’s next program of the Four Seasons choreographed by artistic Director Paul Destrooper. Destrooper’s work always proves to be the perfect combination of challenging and unique movement with a strong sense of artistry, plus, dancing to Vivaldi’s amazing score will be a treat in itself. Secondly, I am excited to be playing the role of Puck in the company’s last program; Midsummer Night’s Dream. Trying to portray a character with such impish tendencies will be fun! I think my most difficult challenge this year is to continue to push myself to become an extremely versatile dancer. My comfort level has always fallen towards classical ballet and I have been typecast in all the dainty, graceful, adagio roles. This year after working with a string of new choreographers, I was forced to drop my weight into the floor, travel and move bigger than I ever would have expected myself to. It was a challenge for sure considering my classical tendencies, but learning how to use my classical training to enhance the bigger, deeper movement is what has proved to be so fulfilling.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I have been lucky to dance with some truly beautiful partners so far in my career and look forward to dancing with anyone else who is passionate, willing to work and be as detailed in the rehearsal process as I am! Romeo and Juliet is a ballet I would love to dance, and Val Caniparoli’s, Lady of the Camellias has always tugged at my heart strings.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Give me anywhere with a warm climate and I am happy:)
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I get my shoes made with a custom shank by Gaynor Minden, so despite the typical elastic/ribbon sewing and a bit of water to soften the bunion area of the shoe, I am good to go!
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I am up at 7:15am in order to have breakfast and warm up properly (unlike other dancers I like to warm up at home where I have an elliptical machine to use and can stretch on my carpet;) Class begins at 9am and goes until 10:30 when we begin rehearsal. We have a break for lunch and rehearse until 4:00 on a regular day. When we are in performance mode, whether on tour or not, we usually get to sleep in a bit, class starting around 11am, followed by rehearsal at the theatre, a quick dinner break and then back to the theatre to prepare for a typical 7:30 curtain call.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
As a naturally tiny person, I have found that the best way to maintain my strength and muscle tone is to add protein to every meal. Breakfast is typically apple cinnamon flavored oatmeal and an egg. (or if I’m really lucky, one of my Nanny’s raisin tea biscuits:)
Lunch is some sort of vegetable and dip and a turkey & cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, followed by a snack after work which usually consists of yogurt and fruit.
Dinner varies…fish, chicken, scrambled eggs (a personal fav) combined with what I like to call an “everything but the kitchen sink salad” including every vegetable imaginable, olives etc.
At night I like to snack on anything salty, pretzels and sunchips are typical faves.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Balanchine, Baryshnikov, Tchaikovsky, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep and Natalia Makarova.
What would surprise people about you ?
I love reading murder mysteries..
Who inspired you to dance ?
I can’t say that anyone in particular inspired me to dance. I have had many teachers and dancers inspire me along the way, but I think ballet was something that was just ingrained in me from the beginning.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Believe in yourself (as hard as it may be) and remember that hard work and dedication DO pay off.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I make sure that in class that day I push myself to work correctly and intelligently, remaining calm, but focused. I usually begin my hair and make-up two hours pre-show, do my own 30 min. warm-up barre on stage at our one-hour call, head back to the dressing rooms to change into costume, and then head back onstage to work through anything I’d like to from the rep. about 15min before curtain!
How do you deal with the stress of performing ?
Finding the perfect mental state before a show is a challenge for many dancers. Personally, if I can get into that mental zone in which I am calm, confident, focused and positive, I am able to perform my best.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I think that any of the roles I have performed, whether it be the delicate simplicity required for Odette’s variation from Act II in Swan Lake, the regalness of the Grand Pas in Sleeping Beauty, or even some of the difficult lifts in Norbert Vesak’s ballet Belong, it tests you in a different way. I think it is the roles which test you the most, whether technically or artistically, that are the most exciting roles to be able to perform!
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
Anything pink with bling!
What do you look for in a dance partner?
Dancing with someone who is willing to work hard, give and take, and connect with me not only onstage, but during the rehearsal process as well.
What is your favourite quote ?
” What is once well done is done forever. When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.”
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
Pirouettes and adagio.
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
“I know eh?!”
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
Any moment I am onstage and I am able to get completely lost in my character; when everything falls in to place, the technique, the artistry..these are the moments worth living for.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I love to sing.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
I think the thing that attracts me most to ballet is the simple fact that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know, if that makes any sense?!? Still being in the early stages of my career, the only thing I know I want to have accomplished a year from now is growth..growth in all aspects of my art form.
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it ?
I am so happy doing what I love to do that I suppose I have not put much thought into an exit strategy per say. I do however think that after my body says it has had enough ballet I might look further into some singing/acting possibilities.