Cupcakes & Conversation with Elisha Willis, Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet

August 24, 2009

Ballet, Cupcakes & Conversation

Cupcakes & Conversation

Cupcakes & conversation with Elisha Willis, Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet

Elisha Willis
Elisha Willis by Peter Tiegen

Elisha will be performing the lead role (first cast) of Roxane in David Bintley’s Cyrano. She is also dancing in David’s new E=mc² and Garry Stewart’s The Centre and its Opposite in the triple bill Quantum Leaps – in Birmingham and throughout the autumn tour.

Elisha Willis
Elisha Wiliis as Roxane with Iain Mackay as Christian in Cyrano
Photo : Bill Cooper

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
I have to admit I’m not a morning person. The fact that I love my job makes it easier for me to get out of bed in the morning. But I do struggle.

Who would you most like to dance with ?
I’ve had the chance to work with some of the most wonderful partners in my career including Steven Heathcote, albeit only a very small part. If I could turn back time I would have loved to have performed a full length ballet with him, Manon or Onegin would have been a dream, he was exceptional in both.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I am fortunate enough to have my shoes made for me by Bob Martin, which are made perfectly for my feet. All I have to do is sew on the ribbons and go !

What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I don’t really have a daily routine as every day is different.

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Eddie Vedder, Ian Rankin, Dave Grohl, Billy Connolly, Shirley MacLaine, Hugh Jackman.

What would surprise people about you ?
I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Mount Everest. I would love to climb it one day, or at least make it to Base Camp.

Who inspired you to dance ?
There are so many people that inspired me and still do, but if I had to pick one it would be Miranda Coney. I grew up watching her, I was always more excited when I saw her name on the casting. I was lucky enough to join The Australian Ballet Co while she was still dancing. She is such a wonderful person and the most fearless performer I’ve ever seen.

How would someone else describe you ?
Honest, independent and a little bit bossy !

What is your best piece of advice ?
Always try to find the positive in every situation.

Elisha Willis
Elisha Willis as Lise in La Fille mal gardée
Photo : Bill Cooper

Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Odette in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake – it’s technically and physically demanding but the main test is the epic emotion needed to perform it. It always took me hours to recover after the performances.

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
I can’t think of a funniest moment but my husband and I always have a laugh.

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
I absolutely love chiffon empire line dresses. I think they’re flattering, delicate and don’t restrict your dancing like boned bodices do. It would have to be something like that.

What are you most proud of ?
My relationship with my friends.

Who would play you in the film of your life ?
A little unrealistic perhaps but Cate Blanchett. I think she’s an exceptional actress.

What is your favourite quote ?
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I’m not sure it’s a secret skill, but I’m a pretty good swimmer.

Elisha Willis Autograph

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73 Responses to “Cupcakes & Conversation with Elisha Willis, Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet”

  1. Flowerpot Says:

    I like the fact that she can see the positive in everything – that's a real talent!

  2. Dila Says:

    Wooow great great blog! I think I'm gonna follow u :)

  3. melahni3 Says:

    hey thanks for your comment!I see you like Ballet's : )I like them too! They're wonderful to watch!

  4. phonelady Says:

    i learn something everyday about dancing and the ballet from your blog . great blog as usual .

  5. Swatantra Says:

    Your blog is great.. i liked the favorite quote.

  6. Leanne Says:

    You write absolutely beautifully! Thank you so much for the lovely comment on my blog.How did you get into journalism? I've often thought about that as a career.Take careLeanne

  7. Petergaye S. Kisielewicz/ Yahgie Says:

    I love your blog thanks for the comment. :=)

  8. xLovelyMakeupx Says:

    Thank you and i hope you follow. I was checking out your blog and i find it fascinating im going to definitely follow you. your posts and those pictures make me want to be a ballerina but i have no balance =]

  9. Cara Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for your sweet comments! What a wonderful blog you have!

  10. Slices of Beauty... Says:

    Thanks for lovely comment Elise.

  11. Carrie @ Cottage Cozy Says:

    Thanks so much Elise, for stopping by to visit. One of my daughters is a professional dancer. All four of my girls are dancers. Music & dancing are such incredible gifts. Your blog expresses the joy and beauty of dancing wonderfully!Stay Cozy & Dancing…Carrie

  12. skayylove Says:

    Thanks for stopping my page :)I love your page as well! i used to do ballet when i was young haha i will follow you. Have a great day<3

  13. zuveena Says:

    oh…ur blog is superbly awesome….i love it very educational and very very interesting…

  14. elisabeth Says:

    I Love Cupcakes :)

  15. R.C. Says:

    the pictures of her dancing are so beautiful! Great interview, down to earth ballerina!

  16. funkiimonkee Says:

    Hey:) Thanks for dropping by my blog and for your sweet comment! I don't know much about ballet but hopefully I can learn more from you on your blog:) Have a great day!

  17. Susie from Bienvenue Says:

    Thank you for dropping in on my blog.I have enjoyed looking around yours as well…Now I need a cupcake..smiles~

  18. crochet lady Says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I don't know much about ballet and have never even been to a performance, but have always thought it a very expressive and lovely art form. Maybe I can learn a few things by reading your blog!

  19. Hollyrocks Says:

    Dave Grohl would be on my list of people I'd like to take out to dinner too! Although I have to be honest, the fact that he's a handsome rocker is a large part of my reasoning on that. :-)~

  20. Fafibaby12 Says:

    Aww thanks! I love yours too:] Ballet is great. Wish i knew how to dance so fluidly like you guys!xoxo

  21. michelleK Says:

    What a gorgeous blog. I don't follow ballet but the pictures speak volumes to me. Absolutely enchanting

  22. Claire Says:

    Thank you so so much for the really kinda comment about my blog. It was really one of the lovliest I've ever gotten :)your blog is fantastic!I adore ballet. I actually study music in college so I'm more into that end of it but I love to go to ballet's. I've been to a few shows.Great interview!x

  23. ♥ Mone Says:

    Oh, i like you Blog :) Beautiful Interviews!

  24. PeriwinkleSu Says:

    Hi Elise,Thanks for such a lovely comment on my blog.I like to read your blog interviews.

  25. Tracey Says:

    Hi Elise! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful interview! Have a lovely week…:) T

  26. Rajkumar Says:

    thays really cool….

  27. Michela Says:

    Hello Elise!Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving me such a kind comment!How interesting a blog about ballett!Warm wishes and greetings from Italy!

  28. ◄Blab About Beauty► Says:

    thank you so much for your comment babe, i really appreciate it.i'm aspiring to be a journalist too, and i'll definitely seek inspiration from your blog ;)xoxo

  29. My Passport to Style Says:

    Hi thanks for your generous comments, I love your blog too! I was once a aspiring dancer, but didn't make the grade to go professional.Stunning pictures have decided to follow you! Sxx

  30. Pomona Says:

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and your lovely comment! I love the pictures at the top – it's really nice to discover new bloggers (new to me that is!) – have a good day.Pomona x

  31. Maggi Says:

    What a fabulous interview!

  32. Girl With One Eye Says:

    Thank you so much for your comment, it made my day. It's for people like yourself, that leave comments like that, that make it a joy to take the time out and write about the things and going on's in my life. So thank you.I was reading your blog, and it's so pretty too, i'm now a happy follower. Girl With One Eye xx

  33. Quelccy Says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely comment on my blog.I loved your blog too!!!Kissesxxxxxx

  34. Mary Says:

    Elise, I am so glad I found your blog (via your comment on Kim VanDerHoek's blog). This is a fascinating interview due to your creative questions and to the dancer's lovely outlook. I like the way information on her dancing and the super photos are combined with fascinating, broader Q & As that show her as a well-rounded person–you are fortunate to have spent time with her, and we are fortunate you have shared your talk.

  35. booboo Says:

    Thank you soo much! I am excited for this new venture :)

  36. Monica Says:

    Hello Elise:Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot to me.Have a great day"

  37. I Love Brownies Says:

    How sweet of you to say such nice things about my crazy blog….it's just a fun outlet. I have a friend who is a professional ballerina – it's an amazing art form. Thanks again and please…Stop by any time!!

  38. Tulip Says:

    Hello Elise,Thank You so much for such inspiring comments in my blog. I am so glad that you liked it. The pictures are taken by my husband, who is a passionate photographer. He is building his own website, please visit it when you have time : http://www.thru-my-lens.info/You write so well… I have always been fascinated by the art of ballet… am glad that I can learn more from your blog. Thanks and please visit again.Take Care.

  39. Mary Poppins Says:

    What a beautiful inspirational blog. I always wanted to be a dancer, I find it a perfect way for me to express myself. I did some workshops with some dance companies when I was studying Drama. I loved the more physical theatre side of things and am very much moved by passionate Ballet and loved my workshops with Ballet Rambert, think it is the Rambert Dance Company now.Thank you for your lovely comment.Unfortunately and feel a little tear a coming, my passion for being on the stage remains unfulfilled.HugsX

  40. Thea Says:

    HI Elise,Thank you for visiting my blog and your lovely comment. These ballerinas are all stunning.

  41. OceanDreams Says:

    Lovely quote and I always learning more and taking more info from your blog. I love ballet! Have a lovely day.

  42. Emily Pickle Says:

    Hi Elise, thanks for the lovely comment you left me. Your blog is very beautiful, I feel even less graceful than usual looking at all the gorgeous pics! Kate x

  43. Cathy Says:

    I am so glad that you stopped by my blog earlier and left your sweet comments!!! I am also happy to have discovered your gorgeous blog!!! I am a ballet nut!!! I danced for 16 years…from 4yrs old to 20yrs old. I loved it!!! I saw Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev(spelling?)dance when I was young…wonderful!!! I look forward to keeping up with you and the ballet through your blog!!!Have a wonderful day!!!XOXOCathy

  44. madame b fatale Says:

    Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog! (I like yours too!!)

  45. Civilla Says:

    How exciting to have you come to my blog, Elise! Can you believe I've never seen a ballet, except on tv briefly?

  46. Rebecca @ Belle Blog Says:

    Hi Elise, Thanks for coming to visit my blog. Your photos are amazing!! Love them all.♥ Rebecca

  47. Rebecca @ Belle Blog Says:

    Hi Elise,Thanks for visiting my blog. I am glad I got to visit you, your photos are amazing!! What a pretty blog. My niece would love it too. She is a dancer. ♥ Rebecca

  48. sunshine Says:

    Thanks so much for the lovely comment you left on my blog for me. I appreciate it!Great post. That cupcake looks very yummy! Hehe..((Hugs))Laura

  49. Rose Charles Says:

    Hi there,Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog :-)It is much appreciated! I really hope you do enjoy reading my ramblings!I have a giveaway on at the moment – for my 100th post! It would be great if you entered – to do this you just have to leave a comment on my 100th post from Sunday :-DRose XXX

  50. saraeden Says:

    Thank you for such a lovely comment and i do hope you pop back again !!Sara x

  51. Bobo Bun Says:

    What lovely words you left for me. Thanks so much – it always makes me smile through the day when someone takes the time to do that. Now off to learn about ballet – at 6ft 1" my dream was squashed quite early on as a left footed loon. Lisa x

  52. Andrea Says:

    Elise:Thank you for stopping by arise 2 write and leaving a comment. I am thankful you enjoyed my blog. I look forward to getting to know you better through your blog.Blessings, andrea

  53. Heather Says:

    Elise–thanks so much for your visit and very sweet comments :) you have a lovely blog here, so many heavenly images and great interviews! I so admire dancers….wish I could be one, but am content to paint them ;)~Heather

  54. ♥ Kristina ♥ Says:

    Thanks for stopping by the blog and showing your love. I appreciate it a lot=] I love your blog. Ballet used to be one of my passions when I was younger, didn't go far, but I still love to watch and read about performances and dancers who perform or used to perform.

  55. Rita :D Says:

    Thank's for the comment to my blog (: And I really must say that i like your blog a lot its full of life just like you (i guess) xDXoxo Rita :p

  56. blushing rose Says:

    TY for popping over, I am going to follow you. I loved the 'interview' today, & the previous one. Such wonderful insight … have a lovely day. TTFN ~Marydon

  57. Dawn Says:

    Good Morning Elise,Thank you for the kind comments. I have a B.A. in journalism but life took me in other directions. My blog is the first opportunity to express myself in a long, long, time. I'm thrilled that so many people are enjoying it.I must say I was surprised upon arriving here. Your blog is a beautiful look into a world I know very little about. It amazes me how these blogs lead us to experience new things.Sincerely,Dawn

  58. Holly Loves Art Says:

    What a beautiful blog you have here! Thank you so much for stopping by mine and for leaving such a sweet comment. I've always loved the ballet so I've really enjoyed looking through your blog at all your amazing photos. Have a lovely day.

  59. Nancy Says:

    Hi Elise,Thank you for visiting my blog. Yours is so nice! It's very interesting reading. Thanks for your nice comment and have a wonderful day!Nancy

  60. sweetpralinemadness Says:

    I love your blog! My husband and I attend/support the Houston opera and ballet. If you come to Houston please let me know. I would love to see you dance. The ballet is my absolute favorite….Thanks for stopping by my blog and please visit again.

  61. Kelly Berkey Says:

    Hi Elise,Beautiful blog! I grew up dancing ballet and have continued practicing on a small bar at home. I love your intervies! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and your kind words. I will look forward to following your interviews and looking at your beautiful photos!Kelly

  62. sarah-jane down the lane Says:

    Wow a ballet blog how divine! I had never even thought to look for one, DOH!My favourite books when I was small were all Noel Streatfield and of course Ballet shoes and White Boots were read over and over again~ plus a beautiful translation of a Russian book about a little orphan girl who dreams of the Bolshoi. Stupidly I gave it away and cant remember what it was called.Sorry I am digressing! Thanks so much for your comments, it was lovely to meet you! ;D Sarah x

  63. NIC-KIA Says:

    those cupcakes look soooooo yummmm!and btw…i love how u write!

  64. Elise Says:

    Flowerpot – that's so true. Welcome & thanks for your commentDila – thankyou – hope you continue to enjoy and welcomemelahni3 – you are in good company here – welcome and thanks for your commentphonelady – that's so nice to hear – hope you are enjoying the site. Thank youSwatantra – thank you and welcome, me too !Leanne – well, thank you so much for the lovely compliment. There are quite a few routes into journalism – I'd say the things to ask yourself are : can you write a story ? do you want to specialise (i.e. do you have a particular interest in something and experience to back it up) or do you prefer to generalise and cover all topics ? Once you know where your talents lie, you can find a route that suits you. Best wishes and keep me posted !Petergaye – thank you so much and welcomexLovelyMakeupx – thank you for your lovely comment. I'm sure balance can be worked on – it's all about strengthening the right muscles. Don't give up if it's something you really want to try… vocationally it muight not be for everyone but there is so much to gain from taking class anyway – posture, muscle tone, grace and style to name four ! Keep me posted !!Cara – that's so kind of you – thankyou and welcomeSlices of Beauty – thankyou and welcomeCarrie – how lovely for you – where does your daughter dance ? You must be an very gifted family to have four daughters dancing ! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and welcome – and, please keep me posted ! I love "stay cozy and dancing".. maybe I'll use that sometime !skayylove – thank you for your lovely comment and welcome – lucky you to have done ballet from a young agezuveena – that's so kind of you to say – thank you ! Welcomeelisabeth – who doesn't ? welcome and thanks for your commentR.C. – thank you, welcomefunkiimonkee – thank you and welcome – hope you are enjoying the site and if you want to know anything in particular just shout

  65. Elise Says:

    Susie – me too ! welcome and thankscrochet lady – hope you are enjoying the site – please do try to see a live performance – there is nothing else quite like it and I bet you'd be hooked. Let me know !! WelcomeHollyrocks – ha ha ! welcome and thank you for your commentFafibaby12 – welcome and thank you for your lovely commentmichellek – thank you – I hope you will be inspired to see a live performance sometime – you will be amazed if you like the pictures – welcome and do keep me posted !Claire – thank you ! You are most welcome. Lucky you to get to see shows – I think everyone should if possible ! Thank you for your lovely comments and welcomeMone – thank you and welcomePeriwinkleSu – thank you and welcome, glad you are enjoying them, they are a pleasure to write !Tracey – you are welcome, thank you and best wishesRajkumar – thank you and welcomeMichela – lovely to hear from you in Italy – welcome and thank you

  66. Elise Says:

    Blab About Beauty – that's lovely to hear – thank you and welcome. Good luck and keep me postedMy Passport to Style – thank you and welcome. Vocationally it's a tough choice but I'm really pleased you are still following balletPomona – Thank you and welcomeMaggi – thank you so much – and welcome !Girl with One Eye – I'm so pleased and thank you – welcome !Quelccy – thank you and welcomeMary – thank you for your lovely comment. I did take some time to draw up the questions and keep tinkering with them, so it's good to hear that you like them ! Some of the dancers have told me how much they've enjoyed doing the interviews too. Welcome !booboo – good luck ! keep me posted…Monica – thank you and welcomeI Love Brownies – thank you for your comment and welcome. Who does your friend dance with ?Tulip – thank you so much for your lovely comment about my writing. Welcome !

  67. Elise Says:

    Mary Poppins – what a lovely comment you've left me – thank you so much. I don't think I've ever brought a tear to someone's eye before. Such a compliment ! I hope you continue to dance in some way – that dream of the stage is very hard to shake off… even harder if you achieve it and then have to retire or give it up later !Thea – I agree – welcome and thank youOceanDreams – thank you and welcome; I hope you will continue to enjoy the site !Emily Pickle – I know what you mean ! Welcome and thank youCathy – A ballet nut eh ? I wonder why you stoppede age 20 – were you dancing professionally by then ? And you are sooooo lucky to have seen Rudy and Margot. Welcome and thank you for your lovely commentsmadame b fatale – thank you and welcomeCivilla – Oh no ! You must see a ballet live. The TV simply can't do it justice. Please try – and keep me posted ! Welcome and thank you for your commentRebecca – thank you and welcome. Who does your niece dance with ?sunshine – it was ! thank you and welcome !Rose Charles – welcome and thankssaraden – thank you and welcomeSlices of Beauty – thankyou and welcomeCarrie – how lovely for you – where does your daughter dance ? You must be an very gifted family to have four daughters dancing ! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and welcome – and, please keep me posted ! I love "stay cozy and dancing".. maybe I'll use that sometime !skayylove – thank you for your lovely comment and welcome – lucky you to have done ballet from a young agezuveena – that's so kind of you to say – thank you ! Welcomeelisabeth – who doesn't ? welcome and thanks for your commentR.C. – thank you, welcomefunkiimonkee – thank you and welcome – hope you are enjoying the site and if you want to know anything in particular just shoutSusie – me too ! welcome and thankscrochet lady – hope you are enjoying the site – please do try to see a live performance – there is nothing else quite like it and I bet you'd be hooked. Let me know !! WelcomeHollyrocks – ha ha ! welcome and thank you for your commentFafibaby12 – welcome and thank you for your lovely commentmichellek – thank you – I hope you will be inspired to see a live performance sometime – you will be amazed if you like the pictures – welcome and do keep me posted !Claire – thank you ! You are most welcome. Lucky you to get to see shows – I think everyone should if possible ! Thank you for your lovely comments and welcomeMone – thank you and welcomePeriwinkleSu – thank you and welcome, glad you are enjoying them, they are a pleasure to write !Tracey – you are welcome, thank you and best wishesRajkumar – thank you and welcomeMichela – lovely to hear from you in Italy – welcome and thank youBlab About Beauty – that's lovely to hear – thank you and welcome. Good luck and keep me postedMy Passport to Style – thank you and welcome. Vocationally it's a tough choice but I'm really pleased you are still following balletPomona – Thank you and welcome

  68. Elise Says:

    Maggi – thank you so much – and welcome !Girl with One Eye – I'm so pleased and thank you – welcome !Quelccy – thank you and welcomeMary – thank you for your lovely comment. I did take some time to draw up the questions and keep tinkering with them, so it's good to hear that you like them ! Some of the dancers have told me how much they've enjoyed doing the interviews too. Welcome !booboo – good luck ! keep me posted…Monica – thank you and welcomeI Love Brownies – thank you for your comment and welcome. Who does your friend dance with ?Tulip – thank you so much for your lovely comment about my writing. Welcome !Mary Poppins – what a lovely comment you've left me – thank you so much. I don't think I've ever brought a tear to someone's eye before. Such a compliment ! I hope you continue to dance in some way – that dream of the stage is very hard to shake off… even harder if you achieve it and then have to retire or give it up later !

  69. Elise Says:

    Bobo Bun – shame – but thank you for your comment and welcomeAndrea – welcome and thank youHeather – welcome and thanksKristina – welcome and thank youRita – ow, thank you for such a lovely compliment. Welcome !blushing rose – thank you so much for your lovely comments and welcomeDawn – hope you are continuing to enjoy the site – welcome and thanks for your commentHolly Loves Art – welcome and thank younancy – thank you and welcomesweetpralinemadness – lovely to hear from you. I am following Rachel Ware – who is a student just about to join Boston ballet school. I hope you'll report back if you see her perform… welcome and thank you !Kelly Berkey – welcome and thank you for your lovely commentssarah-jane – thank you for your lovely comments. I will have to try to find out what that Bolshoi book was called. Welcome !NIC-KIA – they were !! thank you for the compliment about my writing – welcome !

  70. Rob Lindsay Says:

    Hello,Just a quick note to say there's an excerpt of Elisha dancing the role of Roxane in David Bintley's Cyrano in the second half of this video clip:http://www.vimeo.com/2966242

  71. Elise Says:

    Thank you Rob – it certainly is a lovely clip of Elisha dancing. I'm very happy for you to link to this interview from your (BRB) website if you want to (plus Natasha's too if you wish !)

  72. Marcie Hart - A Work Of Hart Says:

    Hello Elise! What a beautiful blog you have! Very informative and creative. Love Ballet so I will be watching your posts. Thank you also for stopping by my blog. Nice to meet you!!! ;-) Marcie – A Work Of Hart

  73. Alice Says:

    Hi Elise!Thanks for such a fantastic interview!I run a fansite for Elisha at http://elisha-willis.tripod.com and was wondering if I could have permission to post your interview in the articles section? Will give full credit of course, just thought it would be such a treat for the fans to read your interview!ThanksAlicedancingintherain14@hotmail.com