Cupcakes & Conversation with Lia Cirio, Soloist, Boston Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Coffee and my kitty, Lady:)
What are you looking forward to dancing this year ?
Right now I am looking forward to dancing Terpsichore in Apollo, the principal role in Theme & Variations, and Kylian’s Black and White. That’s what we are rehearsing right now. I’m busy, but happy. I am also really looking forward to next season, as we are opening with La Bayadere. It’s a really beautiful ballet with some acting opportunities, so that makes me happy.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. I think that I would want to dance it with my best friend, Principal with Boston Ballet, James Whiteside. We know each other so well, we’ve practically grown up together. It would feel most comfortable which is extremely important in a role as intense as Juliet.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Somewhere I could dance freely without feeling the pressure of stupid dance critics, hehe!
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I start out by darning just the bottom of the tip of the shoe. I’ve been doing this for a few years now to make them quieter. I then sew my elastics and ribbons. I wear Freed specials, they are half-shanked with elastic drawstrings. I take the two nails out of the shanks and put hot pink duct tape (a gift from my boyfriend) on them to prevent blisters.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
If we are not in the theatre – breakfast, shower, class at 9:45, rehearsals till 6:30, dinner with friends or with brother at home (he’s my roomie), Skype with my boyfriend, bed. If we are in the theatre – breakfast, shower, class at 11:45, rehearsals until 4:00, light snack/dinner, warm-up for performance, performance, home to bed.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Jesus (that would be just amazing), Audrey Hepburn (of course because she was so beautiful and iconic), Queen Elizabeth (I love British history and have always been a little obsessed with her), Marc Jacobs (he better bring me something to wear), Sandra Bullock (she would bring some life to the party), and Walt Disney (an incredibly creative mind).
What would surprise people about you ?
Nothing, what you see is what you get. I think that when people first meet me they think that I’m a snob, but really I’m very shy and quiet until you get to know me:)
Who inspired you to dance ?
There was no one person who inspired me to dance. My parents say that as soon as I could speak, I wanted to dance. During my school years, the inspiration came from my own drive and desire to “make it.” Now, I find inspiration from many things and many people. Mostly, dance itself is my inspiration.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Be kind, give it your all at all times, and above all, be yourself.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I like to have a light meal before a show. Usually by half hour my hair and makeup is done and I am stretching. I give myself a barre that I have been doing since my first year in the corps. Before I put my costume on I spray my perfume (Chanel Chance) 3 times and then right before I go onstage I say a prayer and check my ribbons. Routine before a show is really important.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I think that doing the principal role in Theme & Variations has been challenging just because there has been so much pressure to be perfect. Also, last fall, we performed Giselle. I had a lot on my plate at the time, so I was only cast to do the peasant pas. At the last minute, there were some injuries, and I had to learn the role of Myrtha – in less than three days – and then perform three performances of it. I wished I had had more time to study her as a character.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
Something made just for me, with both beauty and comfort.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
It’s really nice to have a partner that I can connect with on a personal level, first of all. Then, I like partners who communicate with me directly, work things out, and are willing to practice more if needed.
What is your favourite quote ?
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
Hmmm, arabesque or développé second? I really like jumping though:)
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
I would have to say there were two. Dancing the role of Micaela in Jorma Elo’s Carmen. She begins and ends the ballet – it’s very empowering. The other was dancing Helen Pickett’s Tsukiyo which is a pas de deux. I danced this piece with Sabi Varga (who is not only one of my good friends, but a big brother to me). It’s set to a beautiful piece of music by Arvo Part and it’s extremely intimate. The connection that Sabi and I had during this piece was amazing. It’s hard to find that kind of connection with a partner. The audience was so silent as we danced – I don’t think I’ve ever felt such a captivated audience.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I like to make headbands in my free time, but I don’t think that’s a secret skill. haha.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
Right here. I have been promoted to principal for next year, so I am hoping I will have the opportunity to dance a principal role in a full-length ballet. I haven’t had much of an opportunity for in-depth acting, so that’s what I‘d like to be doing next year.