Cupcakes & Conversation with Marijn Rademaker, Principal, Stuttgart Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ? Why ballet ?
The love for ballet that I have. As a kid I loved to do sport, especially tennis and soccer. I also loved classical music. Ballet is a great combination of these two. With that comes acting & storytelling which I discovered through dance. On top of that, I just like to work and go for something all the way. It’s all or nothing.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Last year I danced on the San Marco square in Venice, Italy with Roberto Bolle and Friends. That was one of the most amazing places I’ve danced…. I would love to dance on a stage without wings in the middle of the ocean, so that one would only see the ocean and the dancer in front of you.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I wake up at 7:30, make a cappuccino, stretch and do my exercises. After that’s done, I have breakfast. At 10:30 it’s training, then rehearsal until 14:00. Lunchtime is from 14:00-15:00 which I often use to rehearse extras like galas or guesting’s. Then the rehearsals continue until 18:30. If there is a show I work till 14:00 and the show starts around 19:00.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I don’t prepare much really.. I do my makeup and hair, always do a warm-up barre, put on my costume and go a stage:) I used to try things just before the curtain went up on stage, and often I got mental about, for instance, a pirouette. Because the pirouette then didn’t work I would get nervous about it just before the sow started. One time, when Marcia Haydee danced as my mother in Mauro Bigonzetti’s I Fratelli, I was trying stuff again and she said: “I’ve never seen you trying steps before ANY rehearsal before, and it always goes fine, with no problems, so why would you try them before a show?!!” And I think she is right. One rehearses so much for performance. So why suddenly try every hard thing in the ballet before the curtain goes up? Her comment really helped me stay calm and trust the work I have done before.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Honestly I don’t really care about ‘famous people’, but I would like to have dinner with Philip Seymour Hoffman. I love his acting and he just seems like a really interesting person. And I would like to have dinner with Meryl Streep. What an amazing actress. Another person I would like to get to know more is Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer and conductor. We started to have a conversation after the premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Yantra for us. Wayne used his Foreign Bodies, a work I really love. Somehow the conversation ended up to be too short… That dinner could end up being extremely interesting and above all, fun!
What would surprise people about you ?
That I am a pretty good soccer player:)
Who inspired you to dance ?
Music did. I was always dancing around in the living room to music with my little brother. After a minute he sat down on the couch and was just laughing at me. I continued of course:) One day my mam said: ‘Wouldn’t you like to take ballet class?’ I thought that was for girls and wasn’t really interested at first. When she asked again I went. The first class was very difficult and I had to cry because there were only girls. But after a few times they were my best friends.
How would someone else describe you ?
You should ask them:)!
What is your best piece of advice ?
Think about what you are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing, what ARE you doing?
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Jago, in John Neumeier’s Othello. Normally I dance the romantic roles, Romeo, Albrecht, Armand and so on. This time I had to be the evil and calculated Jago. It was very challenging but it turned out to be so much fun:) I loved working on the role. It was like a big complicated puzzle. A big spider’s web of actions and reactions. I had to know exactly what I was doing, what the other characters were doing, how they felt and how they would react to my actions. It’s like that in any ballet, but with this role it was extreme.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
The ‘funniest’ thing that ever happened to me was when I was on a 10 day holiday in Brazil and my director, Reid Anderson, called me up and asked me if I could dance Armand in Lady of the Camellias with Sue Jin Kang with the Hamburg Ballet the day after I got back. Of course I said “of course.” We were in Florianopolis, a beautiful island, with no ballet studio whatsoever…. In the house where we were staying, there was a perfect-height stair rail, so I did my barre there. There also was a thick rug which I could actually jump on, even though it was just 1 m2… Of course I went to the gym every day to keep my condition up. Now the day before the departure came and my partner, Sue Jin, called me and said “Are you in Stuttgart yet?” I told her I was leaving tomorrow, like we discussed. Then there was a long silence…….. Then she told me to look at the date on the ticket…… Then there was total panic. I was supposed to leave yesterday! Sue Jin told me John Neumeier wanted to rehearse the next day at 15:00, with the whole company. So, she said, you HAVE to be in Hamburg at 14:00 and not later! I rushed to the airport, tried to rebook my flight with TAM Airlines, which of course, didn’t work. By now I thought I was never ever going to dance another Neumeier ballet again if I didn’t make it on time. Thank god a friend at Lufthansa got me a seat on a plane to Frankfurt via San Paulo. (which I happily paid for!!) San Paulo………the custom officials were on strike…… I had never seen a line up like that before and have never seen one since. Well, that was that, I thought… I waited for hours in that line. Fortunately I wasn’t the only Lufthansa passenger in that line so the plane decided to wait for us. The only thing I did on that plane was going over steps and hope. Hope that I would catch my connection to Hamburg. And you know what?! I arrived in Hamburg at 13:50! Before Sue Jin:) I think that is funny! After rehearsal I had the most painful muscles ever, but I really didn’t care, I made it after a 20 hour journey. Also the show went very well and I have learned something from this. Always keep track of the days…….
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
It would depend on what the piece and role would be.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
What is your favourite quote?
“Guys, get your shit together!”
What’s on your iPod ?
Adele, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Ballet Class Music, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, McFunk Divas, Queen, Robyn.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I learned over time to be a better partner. Our rep, with of course Cranko and a lot of Neumeier has a lot of really hard partnering. The pas de deux Legende or Homage a Bolshoi from Cranko for instance are extremely difficult partner wise. Already in the corps de ballet the dancers in Stuttgart are exposed to difficult partnering like the blue and red balls in Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias. So over the years, one learns to be a very good partner.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
I hope I have a secret skill that I don’t know about yet.
Describe yourself in just three words.
Patient, passionate and positive.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
My grandmother who passed away. She has never seen me dance and I think she would really love it and would be proud of me. I loved her very much and she was an amazingly kind person.
Why do you use social media such as twitter to talk about ballet ?
I think it’s a great way to connect to people who are interested in what I do. Also social media is a great tool to reach out to people who, without it, wouldn’t know about what I am doing.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
I don’t have any specific goals for my career. It’s not that I do not have drive. It’s just that I take what comes on my path and I try to create a path that I like. I love to work hard and a lot and to have fun with it. So that’s what I’m going to do and I will see where it brings me next year!
Read about Marijn on his website
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Watch Marijn rehearsing The Sleeping Beauty