Cupcakes & Conversation with Piotr Stanczyk, Principal, National Ballet of Canada
Piotr will dance the title role in Hamlet, which makes its North American premiere on June 1 in Toronto, Canada at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. He will also perform in Chroma by Wayne McGregor, June 13 to 17, 2012.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
What motivates me is my discipline and the thought of performing and being on stage. It is such a strong desire and feeling that it helps me overcome the daily pain and struggle.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I would like to dance Onegin with my oft-dance partner Sonia Rodriguez.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Most definitely Poland. It’s not my home anymore but I was born there and spent many years studying there and I still haven’t had the opportunity to dance there.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
It’s always the same: class at 10:00 am until 11:15 am, followed by rehearsals until 6:30 pm.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2012 ?
Looking forward to John Neumeier’s Nijinsky and James Kudelka’s The Man in Black. Both of these ballets are very powerful works.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
That’s a good question. There are so many people that I would love to talk to. On the artistic side, I think Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Vaslav Nijinsky, Jiří Kylian, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa, to name a few. But then of course is Bill Maher, Ricky Gervais, Richard Dawkins, Carl Jung, and many more.
Who inspired you to dance ?
Mikhail Baryshnikov. When I lived in Poland, I would watch a tape of him over and over and over again. He is so powerful on stage and intelligent. I love that about him.
How would someone else describe you ?
I think “blunt” is the word . I don’t often hold back. I say how things are most of the time and a lot of people don’t like it. I like to get things done and don’t like to waste time. I think that’s the worst thing we do as people, we waste so much time.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Whatever you do in your life and with your life, don’t be afraid. Conquer your fear.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Rudolf Nureyev’s The Sleeping Beauty, this is the ultimate ballet to dance. It’s hard to convey how much work and effort goes into get this ballet ready. And when it’s done you really feel accomplished.
What’s on your iPod ?
I have 30 gigs of music on my iPod and listen to all kinds of stuff, from classical to pop, rock and heavy metal. Besides the sound what’s important in music is the message and how it makes you feel.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
Intelligent approach to the mechanics of partnering and instinct. Both come with years of practice as well as experience.
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it ?
I recently started to teach and never thought that I would develop a passion for it, but it is something that I would like to do. Teaching ballet is like sculpting the body, it requires very special skills. I hope that someday, after all this dancing, I will be a great teacher.