Cupcakes & Conversation with Li Jia-bo, Soloist, The Hong Kong Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Realizing that there are still so many interesting and challenging creations to be completed.
Ballet chose me when I was a boy, then I started to appreciate and love ballet, and turned my gift into a rewarding career.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Well, I don’t have anyone particular in mind to dance with at the moment. If I had the opportunity to dance with any of the big names, I would love to have the honour of presenting my own creation.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
If I could pick a place, I would choose dancing in space. It would be really cool to try to dance with no gravity.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Ballet classes in the mornings, followed by rehearsals for the upcoming shows. After work, I normally do some reading at home, or make my own music, or go for driving classes.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
I don’t have any special dietary requirement, just like everybody else.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
Make sure I have good make up, good warm up and a good mood.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2013 ?
More classical pieces, which I find more challenging. They also make me a better dancer.
How do you deal with the stresses of performing ?
I try to listen to music, any kind of music.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Barack Obama, Leehom Wang, Ziyi Zhang, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Mikhail Baryshnikov – I think they are all cool people, and have done a fantastic job in their area, and their spirit really inspires me to excel in my own career.
What would surprise people about you ?
I am 5’9” tall, and people always ask me whether I play any sports when they first meet me. But honestly, I don’t do any sports except swimming. As a ballet dancer, I need to take good care of my body, and avoid any possible injury.
Who inspired you to dance ?
Well, it’s such a common question! My answer is… no one, actually… I am kind of a self motivator.
How would someone else describe you ?
Too many requirements! But really I just try to make everything as perfect as it can be.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Life lies in movement!
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
The Nutcracker. In both the old and new version performed by The Hong Kong Ballet, there are lots of challenges in terms of technique and performance.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
Ummm, can’t think of “the funniest thing”… I like joking around and laughing everyday.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
I want to try leather jacket and jeans. They are perceived as hippy fashion, but I think it would be really cool to incorporate them into a stylish costume for modern ballet.
A phrase I use far too often is …
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
If Leehom Wang could play me, it would be fabulous! He’s my idol in many ways.
What is your favourite quote?
You must be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
What’s on your iPod ?
Mostly Chinese pop music.
Who would you most like to dance for, and why?
My family, who encouraged and supported me to become who I am now.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I’m detail-orientated, patient and a good communicator. But most importantly, I practise practise and practise!
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
Describe yourself in just three words.
Detailed, confident, no boundaries.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
Guess still here, in Hong Kong. At The Hong Kong Ballet, but with more confidence!
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it ?
Maybe try something totally different, I believe there is a whole new world outside dancing.