Cupcakes & Conversation with Chi Cao, Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
Not so much motivation, more like discipline. I know that to keep dancing at the level I want to I need to train hard.
It’s a family thing I guess. My father was a dancer, so ballet was second nature for me.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Whoever is fun and easy to work with! At this stage of my career, I just want to do something fun and enjoyable.
What is your daily routine at the moment?
I get up two hours before class, eat breakfast and then go to work. I do about an hour of warm up before class, then into rehearsals, and then in the breaks I will do some upper body work.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I just stay in the theatre and relax.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
I would only want to invite three! Manny Pacquiao (the best boxer in the world and an all-time great), Marco Antonio Barrera (a Mexican boxing legend, and the reason I started to love boxing) and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
What would surprise people about you?
I love boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). I want to start to train in boxing when I retire from ballet, then I don’t have to worry about whether my face gets cut or injured.
Who inspired you to dance?
How would someone else describe you?
Hopefully honest and kind.
What is your best piece of advice?
Try your hardest at everything you want to do so you won’t have regrets later in life and wonder ‘what if…’
Which role has tested you the most & how?
Anything that I have to go to the right side! I am a lefty 🙂
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I left my warm up shoes in the middle of the stage in a show!
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?
Something light so I can dance without thinking how heavy the costume is!
A phrase I use far too often is …
Who would play you in the film of your life?
(Chi recently embarked on an acclaimed acting career playing Li Cunxin in the inspirational autobiographical film Mao’s Last Dancer)
What’s on your iPod?
A lot of classical. Not much pop, but 60s, 70s, blues and rock n roll.
Who would you most like to dance for, and why?
Anyone who is coming to watch my show, because they appreciate what I do.
What makes you a good dance partner?
I can’t really say that I am! But I am always willing to work until it’s working.
Describe yourself in just three words.
I am complicated.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?
Healthy and injury free!