Cupcakes & Conversation with Robyn Hendricks, Soloist, the Australian Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
I usually like to start my week off with an early morning Pilates session, especially after having a day off. It gets me motivated for the week ahead and is the best way for me to get my mind and body going.
I grew up in a very academic and sport orientated family. I thought ballet was a good addition to the mix. It has always been a unique way for me to express myself and I still enjoy the challenges that come along with it!
What are you looking forward to dancing this year?
I’m loving our current season at the moment called British Liaisons, especially Christopher Wheeldon’s beautiful pas de deux from After the Rain. I can’t wait to start working with Graeme Murphy later on in the year as he creates a whole new Romeo and Juliet.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
Johnny Depp. After seeing his quirky moves in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland I think he would be a whole lot of fun on the dance floor!
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
I spent most of my life in South Africa before being lucky enough to get a spot in The Australian Ballet School. I have never performed in my home country since leaving in 2002 and that is something I would really love to give back to my country.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
I think I might be one of the lucky dancers who don’t have to do much to her shoes. Sew some elasto-ribbons along the seams and they are good to go!
What is your daily routine at the moment?
I always start the day with a good brekkie and some fish oil. I get my coffee to go as I head to do an early morning Pilates session, followed by class and rehearsals for upcoming seasons. I try to get either a myotherapy or physio appointment, depending on how my body is feeling. Then it’s lunch time! If there is any time to spare I enjoy going to the pool or gym. Then head back into the theatre and prepare for the show- make-up, hair and barre. Then it’s showtime! After a busy night I usually do an ice-bucket and head home for dinner and my favourite meal of the day- dessert! Then it’s time to wind down and catch up on what’s happening in the rest of the world.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day?
I try to eat a balanced diet consisting of proteins and carbohydrates as well as lots of fresh fruit and veg. I also have a very sweet tooth so dessert is a must!
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
Nelson Mandela, Dr.Gregory House [aka Hugh Laurie], Johnny Depp, Sylvie Guillem, Gordon Ramsey, Paolo Bulgari.
What would surprise people about you?
English is my second language.
Who inspired you to dance?
I don’t think there is one person in particular. I think dancers I have watched and dancers I dance with every day inspire me to be better and to persevere with my goals and dreams.
What is your best piece of advice?
Something my dad said to my sister, brother and I all through our childhood – “Everything you do, do it with humility and integrity.”
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I usually try to keep busy before a show. I really enjoy swimming. I find it very relaxing and one of the only activities where I find I can really switch off. Then I head back into the theatre to do you my hair, make-up and a barre.
Which role has tested you the most & how?
My first season with The Australian Ballet Company was Jiri Kylian’s Stepping Stones. I was so young and very inexperienced. There were a lot of tears behind closed doors!
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create?
A white tutu is the ultimate ballet costume.
What do you look for in a dance partner?
Someone with great strength and a gentle personality.
What is your favourite quote?
Quality not Quantity!
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you?
People have always told me that I have a freaky arabesque.
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far?
I can’t really choose one moment, as they are all very significant and special in very different ways. I treasure a lot of great moments!
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
I would still like to be challenging myself in the classroom and out on stage. I would also hope to be more of a role model to some of the younger dancers out there. It is so important to have people you look up to.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
My family. I very rarely get to see them and they very rarely get to see me dance. It would be so special to share such a big part of me with them.