Who would you most like to dance with ?
Rupert Pennefather – the future of British ballet and someone I’ve known since White Lodge.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I darn the ends, sew ribbons on, elastics for performance and then spray water onto the block and insole to soften them so that they mould to the contours of my feet.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I have a quick hot bath to get my body moving and coffee. I force myself to eat porridge in the morning even though I don’t like it as it’s the only thing that truly gives me energy for the day, quite frankly though I would rather be starting the day with an almond croissant! Once I’m at work I do a Pilate’s warm up to keep my body strong and balanced.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Lincoln Kirstein, Sylvie Guillem, Igor Stravinsky, Benazir Bhutto, Nelson Mandela, Elizabeth I.
What would surprise people about you ?
I have a secret ambition to be a stand up comic.
Who inspired you to dance ?
No one person in particular but music. When I was little any time there was music playing I would just start moving. For me dance is the expression of music and thus a constant source of inspiration.
How would someone else describe you ?
Probably quite family orientated as I am and fun – you can’t get through the peaks and troughs without a sense of humour! I always try to take my work seriously, but never myself.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Look at setbacks as speed bumps along the way.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Probably Clara (from The Nutcracker) which I performed at Christmas. It challenged me because there was very little time to prepare and rehearse, but ultimately it was a great learning curve. One always wants to be so prepared and rehearse the minutiae but when there is little rehearsal time you just dance and then begin to realise that actually you can just do it.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
Being on stage and trying not to corpse as a Courtesan in Manon. It was during Act 1 and I caught sight of the legendary Michael Coleman as one of the harlots going across the back in the cart. It was absolutely hilarious and all the funnier because he was so convincing!
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
I’ve had the privilege of wearing and had made for me some absolutely stunning costumes however it would have to be a tutu. I would design one which doesn’t restrict ones arabesque as for some reason no matter how beautiful they always do.
What are you most proud of ?
My father who has recently been awarded an honorary doctorate for services to film education. He has a wonderful initiative called Film School in a Box which teaches children in under privileged areas about filmmaking with the most recent event taking place in Malawi.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
What is your favourite quote ?
A Nelson Mandela speech, however this line from it in particular: “And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I am a great mimic and good at impersonations.