Cupcakes & Conversation with Carlos Lopez, Soloist, American Ballet Theatre
Lopez has now left ABT and is freelancing.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
It’s been a while that I haven’t had to think about that, because we usually rest on Mondays at ABT, but let’s say on Tuesdays, I’m motivated by the feeling that I’m rested from the weekend and I have a lot of energy for the day of rehearsals, new ballets, new choreographers..
Ballet is like a healthy drug that gives you exercise, discipline, routine, adrenaline, and music. All those things and more combine together
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
With Sylvie Guillem, In the middle somewhat elevated.
With Alina Cojocaru, Romeo and Juliet.
With Lucia Lacarra, who I danced with when I was young Le Jeune Homme et la mort.
And with my first partner Tamara Rojo: I would dance anything with her.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
After dancing at the Met Opera House, the Bolshoi, the Royal Theater of Madrid (my hometown) I would say, I would love to dance at the Paris Opera Garnier and at Covent Garden, London. Also, on the Moon, with no gravity: wonderful for the jumps !
What is your daily routine at the moment?
Now I’m on holiday, so I still wake up at 9, have a light breakfast and go to class for 2 hours. I go home, sleep a little and have lunch. In the afternoon I go to the gym to do some cardio, or I get my bike and go for a one-hour run. I go back home and I get together with my friends or my family. I usually go to sleep around midnight.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
After I have rehearsed during part of the day, I try to go home, the hotel or stay at the theater if there is no time, to eat a little bit and take a nap of 30 or 40 minutes. When I wake up two hours before the show, I eat something light, like a banana, a yogurt or some almonds to wake me up. Then, I prepare myself, go to the stage and take my class for the show, which is the second class of the day so I don’t need a full one hour and a half. After trying some steps from the ballet on the stage, I go to my dressing room and start putting on my make up so my legs can rest a little and cool down. Then I stretch my legs and dress up for the show.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2011?
I don’t know what it will be, but I’m very excited about what’s in the future for me. I love challenges and I hope good things are in it for me.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
Nijinsky, Michael Jackson, Obama, the King of Spain, Rocio Jurado, Alejandro Magno.
What would surprise people about you ?
That even though I’ve learned to overcome it, I’m shy.
Who inspired you to dance ?
Fred Astaire, John Travolta, Baryshnikov, Julio Bocca.
How would someone else describe you ?
I don’t know; I hope as a good person, friend of his friends.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Try to be a better person every time. You can learn from the good and the bad experiences in life.
Which role has tested you the most & how?
So far, I would say Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet, because Macmillan’s choreography is very precise and difficult and at the same time you have to play a strong and funny character, and you have to be careful to not exaggerate. But I’m still waiting for the next one!
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
When I was 14 years old, I was rehearsing with my partner and I had to stand up on top of a bench and lift her from the floor. When I lifted her up, it was so hard that I had a tiny fart. We had such a laughter attack that we couldn’t finish the rehearsal. And I still remember it.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
A blue marine or wine colour dance shirt that flows and let you move easily with a vest and tights.
A phrase I use far too often is …
Oh God !!!
Who would play you in the film of your life?
When I was young I loved John Travolta in Staying Alive and Saturday Night Fever so he could be great. If he was my age.
What is your favorite quote?
“Dance like nobody can see you” and “What doesn’t defeat you makes you stronger.”
What’s on your iPod?
Every type of music that you can imagine, from classical, Flamenco, Chill out, House music, R&B or Pop. I love to put it in shuffle mode and surprise myself with what I have in there.
Who would you most like to dance for, and why?
Eventually, with the National Ballet of Spain , because it’s my hometown. Meantime a good ballet company with a mixed repertory where I can grow as a dancer and as an artist. Besides the classical ballets which I love, I would love to dance pieces where the choreographer is there to be inspired by my dancing and for their choreography to inspire me.
What makes you a good dance partner?
I love to partner, and no matter how hard the steps that we have to do are, I always try to be gentle with the girl, and look at her in the eyes so we can connect and relate to each other.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about?
It’s probably so secret than I don’t even know it! I just try to be myself, with the good and the bad.
Describe yourself in just three words.
Honest, hard working, friendly.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
The audience of the Met Opera House with my parents and my family watching. It is incredible.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?
I would like to be happy in a company where they like me and appreciate me, surrounded by my friends and family.