Cupcakes & Conversation with Nancy Osbaldeston, Artist, English National Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Knowing I get paid to do what I love for a living.
If ballet chose you, as many dancers say it did, what is it that has made you stick with it ?
I would say I chose to do it. I have been lucky enough to make it as far as I have and I’ve stuck with it because my feelings haven’t changed. If I wasn’t good enough to do ballet I’d still be dancing in some form or another.
How are you preparing for Petrushka and what are the challenges for you ?
I’ve been watching old videos of previous dancers doing it and learning from them. When I was younger I actually had a Petrushka duet that I performed at small competitions as the ballerina doll so it’s nice to be doing it in the real thing now.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Ooo I don’t know; someone expressive to do Juliet with.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Somewhere to an audience that’s never been able to see a ballet before.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I darn the ends with thick wool, take the nails out the sole, gently bend the whole thing in half, stand on the toe bit to flatten it, maybe bite the area where my bunion sits to make it softer and sew the ribbons on.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
Eggs, smoked salmon on toast for breakfast, maybe a latte on my commute to work, a sandwich of some sort for lunch, and dinner is anything like a steak salad or pasta dish but I definitely always try and get some meat involved. And lots of water throughout the day.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Professor Brian Cox, Stephen Fry, the Dalai Lama, Russell Brand, Tommy Tiernan, Frank Sinatra.
Who inspired you to dance ?
I think it’s mainly been about the music for me. I don’t remember being inspired by just one person. Cats the musical was the first thing that really wowed me.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Believe in yourself because no one else will until you do.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I stretch and warm-up my body. Think through the steps and the role I’ll be performing in the show. The I put my make-up on and do my hair. I also make sure I have a decent pair of shoes ready to go.
How do you deal with the stress of performing ?
What stress? There’s no stress (unless there’s a last minute change or something). Performing is the best bit about our job – it’s why I do it.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
Something sparkly and luxuriously grand! With massive earrings and necklace to match.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
Someone who can make it all look good even when you’re having a bad day not being quite on your leg.
What is your favourite quote ?
“To infinity and beyond.” Buzz Lightyear
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
I swear far too much. I’m going to try and stop – it’s not ladylike.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
Much better at it than I am now.
Who would you like to have a conversation with ?
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it ?
I’ve decided I’m not going to stop. I’ll make a company for old dancing pensioners just so I can perform in it too when I’m a grandma, hahahaaa! No, but really I would like to go into musicals near the end of my career.
Nancy takes the role of the ballerina in Petrushka on 25th and 27th July, which forms part of A Tribute to Nureyev, which is booking now.