Cupcakes & Conversation with Itziar Mendizabal, Principal, Leipzig Ballet
Itziar’s season at Leipzig Ballet finishes on 16th August and after a short holiday, she will join The Royal Ballet as a First Soloist. The Company don’t audition. Itziar’s Ballet Mistress gave a DVD of her work to The Royal Ballet’s Artistic Director – Monica Mason – who invited her to take class and subsequently offered her a contract. It’s not unusual for dancers to take a lower rank when joining the Company, and I’m sure Itziar will work hard for promotion as she has been a Principal dancer at Leipzig Ballet since 2008.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
My motivation arrives later in the day 😉
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?
Pieces which I haven´t danced yet, classical or modern. I like to find new “me´s” by dancing.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Onegin from Cranko with Jean Sebastien Colau. But there are many things more I would like to dance…
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
In the Bolshoi Theater or on the beach in my home city, Hondarribia!
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I sew on the ribbons and elastics with my sewing machine. I´m kind of lazy with these things, and the rest I do differently depending on the piece I am dancing.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I wake up at 8; I have a nice breakfast and I arrive at the opera around 9:30. Class is at 10 and then rehearsals until 6. After work I usually have a beer with my friends or go home to have dinner and watch a film.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
I´d rather have dinner with 6 friends than with any celebrity!
What would surprise people about you ?
That I am not always happy !
Who inspired you to dance ?
What is your best piece of advice ?
Never decide to become a ballet dancer if you are not completely sure that this is your dream.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
My “siesta” is sacred. And I like to be very calm. It´s the only time my phone is switched off.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Katherina from Cranko´s Taming of the Shrew because it was my first Principal role in a full length ballet. Or, Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude from William Forsythe; I was just 19 when I danced it.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
I have already done that for Piaf a Deux – it was a very feminine black dress.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
Someone who puts all his heart into what he is dancing, and is open to share truthful emotions on the stage.
What is your favourite quote ?
The most difficult thing – but an essential one – is to love Life, to love it even while one suffers, because Life is all. Life is God, and to love Life means to love God. (Tolstoy)
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
Not that I know about…
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
“It´s ok!” 🙂
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
There have been many but I would say my first Swan Lake or my last Giselle with Jean Sebastien Colau.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
It is a secret…hahaha!
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
In the Royal Ballet.