Cupcakes & Conversation with Laura Bury, Het Nationale Ballet (Dutch National Ballet)
I carried out this interview while Laura was dancing with the company. As you read on, you’ll discover that Laura has now left. Unfortunately, I have no images to compliment this feature – save the wonderful cupcakes of course – nevertheless I wanted to share Laura’s lovely interview with you.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
My 18 month old little boy Finn, the day starts when he decides, and when he is awake he is truly awake. I get swept along by his enthusiasm and launched into the new week.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?
A few days ago we had the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s new Don Quixote which is a ballet that is entirely new to our rep. It has been an interesting process and has thrown a fresh, modern twist on the original. Concerto Barocco comes back for the tour. We are about to start rehearsing Theme and Variations and hopefully Forsythe’s In The Middle 😉 [Ed note : In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated]
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
That’s hard to say, there is so much talent out there and a list of ballets as long as my arm. How about Fred Astaire in some glamorous old movie ? I miss the old fashioned glamour of ballet and theatre. It would make a nice change to biking to work in my Uggs and my fiance’s rain suit!
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
After a long snowy winter I have to say anywhere warm. Not such an interesting response but it’s so much easier when it’s nice outside. You wake up happy, your muscles like the warmth and it’s still light when you finish!
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I am not so specific, but I did just learn a new trick. I sew on good strong elastics and then I sew the ribbons onto the elastics. The elastics keep the shoe on and the ribbons are more for show. I now have fewer problems with my Achilles and my calves because they are not restricted by tightly tied ribbons.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Madness. We have shows at the moment and these are the most difficult times to combine with being a mum. Wake up, Finn to the crèche, class and rehearsals, home to see Finn for a couple of hours, back to theatre to prepare, show, shower and then bed. Repeat this by however many shows in a week and phew – there you have it!
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Ricky Gervais, Michael Jackson, Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Winston Churchill and Princess Di …. Tricky to strike the right balance of humour, drama and the unknown.
What would surprise people about you ?
How much I do in a day!
Who inspired you to dance ?
I danced because every little girl did. It wasn’t until I went to the Royal Ballet School that I caught the bug for ballet. At White Lodge you are surrounded by greatness. The building, the people, the history and of course trips to Covent Garden. I grew up watching Durante, Guillem and Bussell; that is inspiration enough.
What is your best piece of advice ?
To remember to let your hair down every now and again. Dancers forget…..all the time.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I now have a much more condensed version than I did when I was younger. I arrive at the theatre a big hour before the show, make-up, hair and a basic warm-up; costume on and then quickly go over choreography or practise steps I find tricky. I don’t like too much time to ponder, it makes me nervous.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I find Balanchine’s ballets test your technique and your musicality. Pink tights and basic leotard always ensure a little extra care in the shapes you try to make. Square Dance and Concerto Barocco are certainly the most testing stamina wise.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
Something black, sleek and modern. It helps your performance if you feel beautiful on stage. Tight corsets or lots of layers restrict or hide the body; you can feel like you are fighting the costume instead of feeling the movement.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
Someone who works efficiently, remembers corrections and can have a laugh. Too serious is not good!
What is your favourite quote ?
Live every day like it is your last! Or at least try to.
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
Entrechat six! I like to jump!
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
“Can I call you back later….I’m in rehearsal/I’m late/I’m feeding the baby” etc etc.
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
A piece I danced by Italian choreographer Jacopo Godani. It was my first really contemporary ballet and it’s just stuck in my mind. I had so much fun, in the studio and on stage.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
Multi, multi tasking whilst smiling. Ballet + Motherhood= steep learning curve.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
Content. I hope that I can say I have done my job to the best of my ability. I also hope I will be just a tiny bit missed. After 9 wonderful years at the Dutch National Ballet I am going to stop dancing at the end of the season.