Cupcakes & Conversation with Victoria Marr, First Soloist, Birmingham Royal Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
Working off my Sunday roast!
Ballet is a beautiful and challenging way of expressing yourself.
What are you looking forward to dancing this year?
David Bintley’s Carmina Burana.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
Like a lot of female dancers, Juliet from Romeo and Juliet is up there. As for who with? Someone strong who commits to a role. I like watching Iain Mackay dance for those reasons so maybe him.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
New York. I have not been there for a while but it is always amazing!
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
Sew on ribbons and elastic, scrape the soles and wear them for class.
What is your daily routine at the moment?
Get up, always do breakfast. No matter how hard I try to be early I usually run in five minutes before class (the stairs are a good warm up). Rehearse, then work out either in my lunch break or after work. At the moment I am redecorating so when I get home, a bit of sanding or painting to finish me off.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
Stephen Fry (bright, funny and brilliant), Richard Attenborough (I have a fascination with movie making), Prince Harry (to get the party started!), Mikhail Baryshnikov (a dancer who has conquered stage and screen) and if I could choose from the unliving too then Queen Elizabeth (I love British history) and Frank Sinatra (He knew how to live!)
What would surprise people about you?
I was born in Glasgow (I am the most English sounding Scot you will ever meet!)
Who inspired you to dance?
When I was very young I pranced around the living room watching Fame and Top of the Pops. When I started at ballet school I grew up watching Darcey Bussell, Viviana Durante and Miyako Yoshida.
What is your best piece of advice?
Have a goal but enjoy getting there.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I always do class and have a little something to eat. If it is an evening show I like to keep quite active so as not to go off the boil. If it’s a big show or something I am a bit nervous about I leave plenty of time to do hair, makeup and warm up again.
Which role has tested you the most & how?
Lead Stomper Girl in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. It is a complex piece to learn, and is almost impossible to count so requires you know the music inside out. To add to that, it is a real test of stamina! All of these things also make it one of my favourite and most satisfying pieces to dance.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create?
Something light and easy to move in! Heavy, restrictive costumes can take some of the joy out of a performance. I would have a thin strapped, low backed, fitted bodice with some stretch to see and compliment arm and neck lines and a light chiffon multi-layered skirt to create movement. I love dancing with bare legs, so no tights.
What do you look for in a dance partner?
Strong, relaxed but hard-working, emotive but real in their interpretation of a role. And a sense of humour never goes amiss!
What is your favourite quote?
“There are no small parts, only small actors.” You can make the most of and create opportunity from the smallest breaks.
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you?
I love grande allegro. Not all girls like or can jump well. I think a powerful, graceful jump it is great to watch feels good too.
A phrase I use far too often is …
It could always be worse.
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far?
Guesting with the New National Ballet in Tokyo. An amazing stage, an amazing city, and a lovely company.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about?
I am a closet impersonator (I have a great ear for accents only rivaled by my brother!).
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
Dancing more of the roles I love, at home and abroad.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
My family and close friends. It is a lovely feeling to make them proud and they are always willing you to do your best.