Cupcakes & Conversation with Jacopo Bellussi, Trainee, Bavarian State Ballet II
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
I think is the fact that I absolutely love everything about this job, even when you are just rehearsing in a studio you know already that you are preparing something to show to an audience later and that makes everything so exciting and enjoyable.
Why ballet ?
Well I don’t really know it that well myself. It feels like it was always supposed to be that way, and since I discovered it when I was five the journey has been pretty straight forward. I started training in Italy in my home town and then moved to La Scala ballet school when I was eleven. It wasn’t an easy choice to leave my family to go to Milan first and then to The Royal Ballet School in London, but I always felt that it was totally worth it because I was doing what I liked doing the most. The past four years at The Royal Ballet school were really crucial for me; they made me realise how much I loved ballet and that that was going to be my career. Last season in my graduate year at the school after performing in shows with The Royal Ballet company and going on tour with the school to the US I was offered a contract as a member of the Bavarian State Ballet 11, which I thought was a great opportunity for me and I decided to accept it straight away.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I would love to dance with my best friend Yasmine Naghdi who is an artist with the Royal Ballet. We danced together quite a few times in school shows and we promised ourselves that one day we will dance a full length ballet like La Bayadere or Swan Lake together. From the Bavarian State Ballet I would really love to dance with any of the principals there and especially with Mai Kono, who is a soloist with the company.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
I would love to dance inside the park of Villa Borghese in Rome. It has always been my dream since I was a little kid.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I wake up every morning at eight and I get to the ballet studio by nine. I need a good hour to warm up as I feel I need to do my own strengthening exercises before I start class which is one hour and fifteen minutes long. At eleven thirty we start our morning session of rehearsals which finishes at two, and after a one hour lunch break we have our second part of rehearsals which ends at six thirty if we don’t have a show with the company in the evening. If we have a performance we get to finish rehearsals a bit earlier so that we have time to rest and get ready before going on stage. Shows normally finish at ten and I get home at around ten thirty. I eat something quick and then I go to sleep as soon as possible as I need a good night’s sleep before starting a new day.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day
I really love eating but I find it really hard to rehearse if I have to much food before dancing. I always try and have as many quick snacks as I can during the day like fruit or a chocolate bar between one rehearsal and another, as they give me the energy that I need during a rehearsal day.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I like to get ready very early before the performance starts so that I can get to the stage as soon as I can to warm up and to practise one more time the steps that I feel less comfortable with.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2011/12 ?
I am really looking forward to dancing in the first show of the junior company at the end of October. We are taking some really wonderful pieces like Na Floresta by Nacho Duato and Symphony in D by Jiri Kylian. I am also looking forward to going on tour with them to Italy and Spain.
How do you deal with the stresses of performing
I personally find myself dancing better if I feel nervous before going on stage. It helps me concentrate and focus on what I am doing, so I guess stress doesn’t really have a bad effect on me.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Oscar Wilde, John Cranko, Princes Diana, Yuri Gagarin, Ninette De Valois, Andrea Boccelli.
What would surprise people about you ?
That I am a disaster with technology.
Who inspired you to dance ?
My first ballet teacher. She taught me so much more than just how to do a correct battement tendu; she taught me the joy of dancing, the freedom of being on stage and performing for an audience.
What is your favourite quote?
Believe you can and you are halfway there. (Theodore Roosevelt)
Describe yourself in just three words.
Ambitious, stubborn, honest.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I think dancing the lead role in John Cranko’s Opus One for the Royal Ballet school summer performances. It is a very difficult part to dance when you are still young because it’s very demanding both technically and also artistically.
Who would you most like to dance for, and why?
There are many people but definitely my parents first. They really have done so much for me and I would never be where I am now if it wasn’t for them. I owe them everything.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I think to be a good partner you first of all have to learn to step aside and ask yourself how to make your partner look good before even thinking about yourself. It is something very hard to do because you have to find the right balance with your girl so that neither of the two overhangs the other one.
What is your best piece of advice ?
To develop success from failure and to always believe in yourself and your abilities.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
I would like to be continuing to work on my technique and on my artistry and to get as much experience possible performing on stage with the company.
What’s on your iPod ?
Any type of music but ballet; I like to listen to different music in my free time.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
Myself. It would be a too complicated part even for the best actor.