Cupcakes & Conversation with Steven Monteith, Soloist, Birmingham Royal Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
Well, if the truth be known, I am still asleep at 8am unless Taylor has woken me up. She is my Great Dane. Mondays are a late start so I get up at 10, have a coffee, take the dog out then rush in with only 5 minutes to spare. Maybe I should start setting my alarm earlier?
My parents took me to see a show one Christmas and I loved it! I decided I fancied doing ballet from then and my mum enrolled me in Susan Richards Ballet School in Scarborough where we lived. I then auditioned for the Royal Ballet Summer School and was invited to attend full time with 3 weeks’ notice.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
I always remember seeing a video of Sylvie Guillem and Adam Cooper doing Herman Schmerman and loving it. That would be great to do. I also love the role of Edward II by David Bintley. It’s a great piece.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
Friends of mine, Toby and Stephanie Hickish, live on an estate in Wales. I often thought that their lake would make a fantastic venue with a stage over the water. It really would be “weather permitting” though.
What is your daily routine at the moment?
Get up, lots of coffee, sort the dog out, rush in, do class. At the moment we are preparing for David Bintley’s new Cinderella so we are concentrating on that. At the end of the day I like to come home, light the log burner and relax with a glass of red wine.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I start roughly an hour and a half before the show… do make up, tame my mane (I really need a haircut) then at the half go and limber up on stage where I should warm up but I usually just end up talking!
What are you looking forward to dancing for the rest of this year & in 2011?
For the rest of 2010 we are doing Cinderella. It’s a new production so we still have yet to see the finished costumes and sets. It’s going to be beautiful though! In 2011 I am looking forward to dancing Fred Beanstock in Hobson’s Choice. I did it a few years ago but couldn’t complete the run as I injured my back. It was a fun role to do!
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
Stevie Wonder, Oscar Wilde, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Saunders, Roald Dahl and Jeremy Clarkson.
What would surprise people about you?
I love being in the countryside with my dog and no people! I think when I retire I will be a recluse in the middle of nowhere!
Who inspired you to dance?
Well, I guess I always wanted to do it from when I was a kid but so many people along the way have helped me!
How would someone else describe you?
A happy, kind person who loves being with his friends (thank you Carol-Anne!) and easy going with a great smile (thank you Dusty!)
What is your best piece of advice?
Do whatever makes you happy!
Which role has tested you the most & how?
There are three that stick in my mind: In the Upper Room, Grosse Fugue and Volga Vouty from Nutcracker Sweeties. I had trouble picking them up, doing them and getting through them but I got there in the end!
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I am always ending up in funny situations and have a tendency to laugh and giggle! My friend Virginia and I thought we were stuck in a lift for 20 minutes but we didn’t realise we just had to open the door! Once we got over how stupid we had been, we were crying with laughter all evening!
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?
Something smart, elegant and different with a bit of fur and sparkle!
A phrase I use far too often is…
“*sigh*…this is so annoying.”
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Leonardo DiCaprio after losing a bit of weight!
What is your favourite quote?
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde.
What’s on your iPod?
It’s a bit of a mix really… Lena Horne, Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, Michael Buble, The Cranberries, Whitney Houston, Roisin Murphy, Rod Stewart
What makes you a good dance partner?
I am lucky that it seems to come naturally and I don’t seem to have many problems! However, if something is a bit tricky, I just do whatever the girl wants… it makes for a quieter life! Haha.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about?
I can’t really keep secrets but I am very good at spending money!
Describe yourself in just three words.
Very laid back.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?
I hope I will still be enjoying what I do with the people I enjoy doing it with!