Why did you start dancing?
Saw ballet on TV.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Which dancer do you most admire?
What’s your favourite role?
Onegin by John Cranko.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Des Grieux in Manon by MacMillan.
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
Anything by Balanchine.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Who is your favourite writer?
Who is your favourite director?
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite book?
Orlando by Virginia Woolf.
What is your favourite film?
Impossible to answer.
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
What was your proudest moment?
I think it has yet to come…
When and where were you happiest?
When I’m in Rome…
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My lack of self-confidence.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I hope my greatest achievement is still to come…
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
On what occasion do you lie?
Out of fear.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to do?
What is your most marked characteristic?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
What gift would you most like to have?
To be able play the violin.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
A hotel close to the theatre…
How would you like to die?
Very suddenly and unexpectedly.
What is your motto?
“Live and let live”
Paul Chalmer — a biography
Born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1962, Chalmer studied at the National Ballet School of Canada with Betty Oliphant, Daniel Seillier, Erik Bruhn and Sergiu Stefansci. He danced the role of Albrecht in “Giselle” at his graduation performance and joined the National Ballet of Canada. His admiration for the ballets of choreographer John Cranko were the motivation to leave Canada and join the Stuttgart Ballet in 1980. He became soloist there in 1983 and danced many leading roles in the company’s repertoire. In 1985 he joined Les Ballets de Monte Carlo as Danseur Etoile and partner of ballerina Ghislaine Thesmar. Chalmer has danced as a Guest Artist with The English National Ballet, The Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Scottish Ballet, The London City Ballet, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma and at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
His repertoire included the important leading classical roles such as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet”, Siegfried in “Swan Lake”, Prince Désiré in “The Sleeping Beauty”, James in “La Sylphide”, Albrecht in “Giselle”, Lenski and the title role in Cranko’s “Onegin” and the Prince in “The Nutcracker”. His repertoire also included works by George Balanchine, Jiri Kylián, John Neumeier and Uwe Scholz. He has had the privilege to partner ballerinas such as Eva Evdokimova, Carla Fracci, Marcia Haydée, Susan Jaffe, Birgit Keil, Natalia Makarova, Ekaterina Maximova, Lynn Seymour and Ghislaine Thesmar.
As choreographer Chalmer has created ballets for the Balletto dell´Arena di Verona including “La Fille du Danube”(1996) dancing the premiere with Susan Jaffe, “La Gitana” (1996) and “Il Talismano” (1997) for which he was honoured with the “Premio Massine” in Positano. For the Rome Opera Ballet he has choreographed “Lungo Viaggio” for Vladimir Vassiliev (2000), “The Sleeping Beauty” (2002) and revived his “La Gitana” (2005). In June 2006 he created “La Vestale” and in July, 2007 “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” for the Rome Opera Ballet’s summer seasons at the Terme di Caracalla. In 2009 he choreographed the Pas de Deux “Piaf à Deux” for the Madrid Dance Festival and “Romeo and Juliet” with Paris Opera Etoiles Nicolas Le Riche and Clairemarie Osta for the St. Prex-Festival in Switzerland. In 2010, he created “Chopin racconta Chopin” for the Rome Opera Ballet.
From 2005 until 2010, Paul Chalmer directed the ballet of the Leipzig Opera. For the Leipzig Ballet he created productions of “Swan Lake” (2005), “The Nutcracker” (2007) and “Giselle” (2009). While honouring the legacy of Uwe Scholz and preserving many of his ballets, he also brought to the repertoire of the Leipzig Ballet works by Balanchine, Cranko, MacMillan, Robbins, Tetley, Bigonzetti, Goecke and Spuck.
In 2011, Chalmer was a member of the Jury for the Prix de Lausanne. He has recently choreographed a new production of “Swan Lake” for MaggioDanza which premièred in Florence for the Festival of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, June 1, 2011, and is included in MaggioDanza’s current season with performances in February, 2012.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.