When did you start dancing?
I started when I was 10 years old at the Teatro San Carlo ballet school in Naples.
Why did you start dancing?
My elder brother Raffaele took me to the audition and I fell in love with ballet immediately. Till then I had no idea of what ballet was.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Absolutely: Rudolf Nureyev.
Which dancer do you most admire?
I admire and respect Julio Bocca.
What’s your favourite role?
Albrecht in Giselle.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Scheherazade is an amazing ballet!
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
When you like ballet you like to watch all of them.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Who is your favourite writer?
I like Italian writers Oriana Fallaci and Fabio Volo.
Who is your favourite director?
[direttore d’orchestra – conductor] David Coleman – the best!!!
Who is your favourite actor?
Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and Anna Magnani.
Who is your favourite singer?
Pavarotti and Michael Jackson. Lately I like Adele.
What is your favourite book?
What is your favourite film?
Dangerous Liaisons, directed by Stephen Frears with Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer and John Malkovich.
Which is your favourite city?
Roma… Caput Mundi.
What do you like most about yourself?
I like life.
What do you dislike about yourself?
At times I’m too nice with people who don’t deserve it… big mistake!
What was your proudest moment?
I left home at 14 years old and my country at 16. It was very difficult, but my passion for ballet was strong and I’m very proud I did it.
When and where were you happiest?
When my six nephews were born.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family, my love, my friends.
What is your greatest fear?
I’m scared to not be able to move anymore.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
We should accept what we are and deal with it!!!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To have satisfied my instincts as a dancer and still have a private and normal life outside ballet.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
I rarely go to sleep before 2am because I like to have fun. But when you have to get up at 8am for class… it’s hard.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Fake kindness and fake smiles.
On what occasion do you lie?
Only white lies to tease friends…
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to do?
A stylist… I love clothes.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
A true friendship.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Which living person do you most admire?
All people who volunteer.
What do you most dislike?
Poverty, because it’s killed so many people.
What gift would you most like to have?
I’ve got it… a DOG!
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Family. Private Life. Ballet at its best.
How would you like to die?
Do you know I’m from Naples? That means I’m superstitious… so no comment.
What is your motto?
Live and let live.
Giuseppe Picone – a biography
Giuseppe Picone trained at the Ballet School of Teatro San Carlo in Naples and at twelve years old was chosen by Beppe Menegatti to dance the role of the young Nijinsky in the World Premiere of the ballet Nijinsky with Carla Fracci and Vladimir Vassiliev. He also trained at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome and was the recipient of the first prize at the Rieti and Positano competitions.Pierre Lacotte invited him to join the Ballet National de Nancy as soloist when he was sixteen, and he danced in the leading roles of Petruska (Fokine), La Sonnambula (Balanchine), Paquita (Petipa), L’ Ombre (Lacotte). In 1993 he joined the English National Ballet in London, where he danced until 1997. He then moved to the American Ballet Theatre in New York, his début being in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella.
He has danced the leading roles of classical ballet: Giselle (Deane, Fracci, Jude, McKenzie), Swan Lake (Nureyev McKenzie, Dowell, Jude), Cinderella (Corder, Stevenson), Romeo and Juliet (Nureyev, MacMillan, Jude), The Nutcracker (Stevenson, Holmes, McKenzie, Amodio, Deane), La Bayadère (Makarova), Études (Lander), Onegin (Cranko), Gaîté parisienne (Franklin), Les Patineurs (Ashton),Variation for Four (Dolin), The Sleeping Beauty (Hynd, MacMillan, Wright), Raymonda (Gacio), Don Quixote (McKenzie), Il Corsaro (Holmes, Khomyakov).
He has also danced leading roles in many neoclassical, modern and contemporary works: Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux, Square Dance, Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments, Divertissement 15′ (Balanchine), Sinfonietta (Kylián), Spring and Fall (Neumeier), Gong (Morris), Black Tuesday (Taylor), Known by heart, Push come to shove, Brahms Haydn Variation (Tharp), L’Arlésienne (Petit), In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Slingerland pas de deux (Forsythe), Symphonic Dance (Bigonzetti), Disposition (Selya), Homage à Miles Davis (Naisy), Te vojo bene assaje, Franca Florio, La Sonnambula (Cannito), I have a dream (Cannito e Merola), The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (Bouy), Bacco e Arianna (Franzutti), I due gentiluomini di Verona, David, Apollo e Dafne (Giannetti), La Lacrimosa (Tanesini), Viderunt Omnes (Martorana), Dibbuk, Dream about Japan (Ratmansky), Morte di un innocente, Spartacus, Amadeus Mozart, Alles Walzer, Thaïs, Apollon musagète (Zanella), the ballets in Aida and Macbeth (Iancu), Sahara, Bolero (Matteini), Narciso, Blue Moon (Garofoli).
When he danced in the American Ballet Theatre’s world première of Le Corsaire with Nina Ananiashvili he was nominated for the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse. He was invited to participate in Nina Ananiashvili and Friends in Japan and at the International Ballet Star Gala in Taipei. He has been a guest artist at several important ballet companies such as the Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Bolshoi Theatre, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Wiener Staatsoper, Dutch National Ballet, Los Angeles Dance Theatre, Bucarest National Opera, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Ballet National de Bordeaux, Slovene National Ballet, Macedonian Opera and Ballet, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Arena di Verona, Teatro Massimo di Palermo and at many international festivals and galas. He was invited by Renato Zanella to dance at the Vienna New Year’s Concert in 2005, becoming the first Italian to do so.
He is often a guest in Italian television including , Festa della Repubbica from Rome, the last night of the famous San Remo Festival in 2009, Premio Caruso from Sorrento and in 2010 he was the leading dancer in the Italian New Year’s Concert from the Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
John Clifford, Director of the Los Angeles Dance Theatre, created the role of Humphrey Bogart in the Dance Musical Casablanca.
In 2010 Giuseppe Picone was invited to take part in Vladimir Vasiliev: A Gala Tribute to a Dance Legend at the City Center Theatre in New York, and in Italy, Mario Piazza created the role of Mackie Messer in the Ballet Opera da tre soldi with the Ballet of the Arena of Verona.
He was the recipient of the Premio Positano in 1997 and 2002, Premio Caserta 1999, Premio Gino Tani, as well as Premio Danza and Danza as Best Dancer in 2002. He danced in Les Étoiles de Ballet2000 at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes as one of Dancers of 2004, and he was awarded the Premio Anita Bucchi as best male dancer of the season 2005/2006, Premio Asti Danza 2007, International Prize Apulia Arte 2008, Prize MozArt Box 2008, Prize Ugo Dell’Ara 2010, MPS Danzainfiera Prize and Napoli Cultur Classic Prize 2011, Prize Aurel Millos 2011, Special Prize GD Awards 2011. Since 2004 he has been the artistic director of the Gran Galà Picone and The Giants of Ballet.
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.