Roberto Bolle is a serious person.
He does half-an-hour of stretching and abs as soon as he gets out of bed, he doesn’t drink coffee with his breakfast but water (“sometimes warm”), and eats simple, healthy dishes (“rice with olive oil and parmesan cheese” or “salad with tuna”).
He doesn’t go out often,
But there are special events that are nice to attend. The Met Ball, fashion shows, aesthetically rich, even glitzy, it’s like entering in an enchanted world… Also I know everybody, and I’ve many friends. Since I was 20 they’ve been inviting me, I know Stefano, Domenico, Armani, Versace. Many celebrities.
So does he live the glamorous life, asked Cristiana si San Marzano of Italy’s ‘A’ magazine,
Not at all. There is a touch of glamour, but for the main part it’s sacrifice. I go through most of my life in rehearsal studios preparing; there’s a lot of dedication and sweat in what I do.
Yet Nureyev was known for riotous living while still managing to perform.
I don’t know how he did it. For me it’s unimaginable. I could never recover from those excesses, a night in the discotheque and the day after a performance. I need a stable life, rest, thorough preparation… that’s my priority.
So after a ballet when everyone goes out to eat together…?
No, no. It might happen after the last show of the season, but generally I go home, have a hot bath, and relax for the next day.
Is it worth the sacrifice?
The world of the theatre is a real one, rich in emotions we can communicate. That’s what I love, compared with world of television, say… It’s something immediate that goes straight to the heart: with a gesture, a glance, you give something to the audience.
Bolle is now 38. When asked how long a dancing career is, he replies,
It’s subjective. Baryshnikov is still dancing at over 60, and La Fracci danced until she was 70. However, at around 45 most dancers start to do something else.
It certainly can’t have been an easy decision for her, especially being that several years have passed since her farewell. But she has a physique that was made for dance, extraordinary attributes that few others have, and this helps a lot. This, together with her artistic maturity, means that she still has much to offer.
We’ve talked, and I’d like to [dance with her again], but there’s nothing fixed.
Recently Italy has seen the closure of one of its few remaining ballet companies, MaggioDanza. Cuts are everywhere. From a state subsidized system, companies are now turning toward private sponsors.
The state subsidized everything, but now with this crisis, there isn’t enough time to change the system in time.
We don’t lack talent. At La Scala there is a young principal dancer [Claudio Coviello] who has just been promoted, but if the theatres close, what can you do?
Ours is a country full of creativity and artists, but now, more than ever, they are forced to go abroad. Theatres are offering fewer contracts… and often not even for a full season.
It is important that [culture] is source of income and not debt: a black hole where you can go and lose some money. Culture should be given a place of pride which attracts tourism and generates resources. People like me, ambassadors throughout the world, can only raise their voice and talk about this. If the Culture Minister wants to listen, I’m ready.
Roberto Bolle & Friends from the American Ballet Theatre will be at the Politeama Rossetti in Trieste on 19 July; at Rome’s Caracalla Baths on 21–22 July; at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa on 24 July, and finishing at Sicily’s glorious Teatro Antico in Taormina on 26 July.
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.