Cupcakes & conversation with Jeffrey Cirio, Second Soloist, Boston Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
My alarm clock. It makes such an annoying sound that I only allow myself to press the snooze button twice. Then, the shower and music blasting to help me wake up are the things that motivate me.
Why ballet ?
I ask myself that a lot. Ha Ha. Really, for me, it just kind of happened. I was into sports – soccer and tang soo do, mostly. My sister was dancing at CPYB, and I asked if I could try a class. That was pretty much it. I didn’t really think I would be a dancer until I watched a video of Fernando Bujones, and then I knew that ballet was what I wanted to do.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Obviously, I’d like to dance any leading role, but the three that I would most like to dance are Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Basilio in Don Quixote and Albrecht in Giselle.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Get up, shower, breakfast, and leave for work by 8:45 a.m. Check rehearsal schedule, stretch, take class at 9:45, rehearse from 11:30 until 6:30, go home, make dinner.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
Dinner, chill in the dressing room with music and the other guys, make-up, warm-up, and then right before I go on stage I say a prayer and send a “this is for you” to God.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?
Right now I am rehearsing the Bronze Idol role from La Bayadere, so I am looking forward to performing that. I am learning Oberon and Puck in Balanchine’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, which should be fun. The company is doing a whole program dedicated to Jorma Elo’s choreography, which I can’t wait to be a part of. I love dancing anything by Jorma. I also want to work with Helen Pickett again, and hope to get to dance in Forsythe’s The Second Detail.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
It’s hard for me to choose just six. These would be at the top of the list: Jesus, Fernando Bujones, Bruce Lee, Kid Cudi, Pharrell Williams, and Princess Grace of Monaco
What would surprise people about you ?
That I am a goofball.
Who inspired you to dance ?
Seriously, I have had amazing teachers, coaches and people around me who were also inspirations. But, I’d have to say that my first inspiration was my sister, Lia, who I watched work very hard to accomplish her goals. But, it was when I first watched Fernando Bujones on video that I was truly inspired to go forward in ballet. I don’t have any regrets in my lifetime except not having the chance to meet him.
How would someone else describe you ?
I would hope they would say that I am a happy and upbeat person, hard-working, and that I love life.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Work harder than anyone else around you, live each day to the fullest, as if it’s your last, and live outside the box.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I don’t feel like I’ve had a particular role that has tested me. There were two particular times that I felt very tested, though. Most people know that I did a lot of competing. I did them mostly because they just gave me a goal of working on variations and improving them each time out. I could usually just take competitions in stride. But, I was competing in the seniors of YAGP. I really felt a lot of pressure to do well because I had received a gold medal as a junior, and kept thinking how embarrassing it would be if I didn’t medal again. I tried to keep telling myself that it didn’t matter, but it did. I did medal, but I don’t feel as though they were my best performances because of the pressure I had put on myself.
The other time was when I decided to choreograph a piece for myself for the Helsinki competition. I picked a piece of music and started the process, and it ended up becoming something really personal for me – the piece actually took on the exploration of my fear of losing people in my life and facing death. I haven’t danced the piece since then because of the energy and emotion it requires.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
A phrase I use far too often is …
“Like.. you know,” “Oh yeah,” “Ok sound good.”
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
Me, of course.
What is your favourite quote?
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
What’s on your iPod
I really love music. I listen to everything from folk to rap and everything in between (except country). Right now I have been listening to: Kid Cudi, The Temper Trap, Mr. Hudson, K-os, Ray LaMontagne, Earth Wind and Fire, Al Green, B.O.B, Max Richter, Andre 3000, Billy Joel, Black Milk, David Guetta, Jay-Z, Gorillaz, J. Cole, Rjd2, Theophilus London, and greatest Michael Jackson. The list would go on and on.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
Listen to whatever your partner has to say, support her, be there for her, and did I say, listen to whatever she has to say?
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
I make great French toast and grilled cheese sandwiches Seriously, if you know me, you know I have no secret skills.
Describe yourself in just three words.
Hard-working, happy, fun-loving.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
I would absolutely be lying if I didn’t say that I’d like to be a full-fledged soloist by this time next year. But nobody knows the future, so I just try to take each day as it comes and do my best. Hopefully, I’ll be dancing, and working and growing toward becoming a better artist.