Cupcakes & conversation with Olivia Cowley, First Artist, The Royal Ballet
Olivia Cowley has recently been promoted and you can see her dancing at the Royal Opera House when the Autumn season begins from October 8th
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Going into a job most girls dream of!
Who would you most like to dance with ?
Jonathan Cope or Carlos Acosta. They both have such charisma and passion on stage. It would be wonderful to work alongside them.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I’ve recently changed my pointe shoes to a brand that are considered to be the ‘Nike air’ of pointe shoes, which makes preparation and sewing almost effortless.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
When I start back at work, I don’t stop until next July. We start at 10.30am and pretty much don’t stop until 10.30 at night, but that’s if we’ve got a show – if it’s a ‘free night’ then we don’t finish until around 6.30pm.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Margot Fonteyn, Lee Evans, Elizabeth 1, Stephen King, Stephen Hawking and Barack Obama! We would have a Mexican and drink Earl Grey!
What would surprise people about you ?
That I can’t stand Musical theatre! Which is strange as I love all types of dance and I’m a big fan of popular music.
Who inspired you to dance ?
No question about it Margot Fonteyn.
How would someone else describe you ?
Well according to my friends my laugh could wake the dead! So I would say loud!
What is your best piece of advice ?
To not laugh too loudly because it annoys your friends!
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
There have been many recently but I’d have to say it was probably my first taste of Principal work when, as a member of the corps who had never danced a solo on the main stage before, I was asked to perform a pas-de-deux with Rupert Pennefather. It was nerve-wracking but exhilarating and it received great reviews.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
I have far too many to mention. I happen to have the funniest family, they crack me up!
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
A classic black leotard with pink tights ( á la Balanchine). It’s very simple but I find it so stylish on stage. It also shows off my body and movement; some costumes can drown the artist.
What are you most proud of ?
The day I was invited to join The Royal Ballet Company.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
Lee Evans in a dark wig!
What is your favourite quote ?
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I can whistle through my nose. But it’s not a secret – all the dancers can hear me breathe and whistle on stage while I’m dancing!