When did you start dancing?
When I was 10 years old in my hometown of Camagüey, Cuba.
Why did you start dancing?
I was bored in school and a teacher came looking for kids for ballet school and I put my hand up as I thought it would be good to get out of the classroom. I didn’t really know what ballet was but something told me to raise my hand.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Firstly Barbara Garcia, a Cuban Principal who danced with Ballet de Camagüey, Victor Ullate and then National Ballet of Cuba. The things she could do technically!!! Then of course Carlos Acosta!!!
Which dancer do you most admire?
So many!! But firstly my friend Cynthia Harvey who was an incredible ballerina but also it’s such an amazing and generous person. Baryshnikov my idol, and Marianela Nuñez because of her cleverness and her work. She puts so much thought into her dancing and I really appreciate that.
What’s your favourite role?
Romeo hands down and I also loved dancing Des Grieux in Manon. You see, lots of people see me mainly for the cheeky technical roles like Basilio and Franz but I really enjoy dancing the romantic leads.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Lensky in Onegin.
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
Who is your favourite choreographer?
MacMillan and Balanchine.
Who is your favourite writer?
Who is your favourite director?
Steven Spielberg. Whatever he touches becomes magic. But I’m also a big fan of Buz Luhrmann. The cinematography and music on his movies are always gorgeous.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite book?
The Secret. It changed my life!!
What is your favourite film?
Pretty Woman, Notting Hill and The Help. Could watch them over and over again.
Which is your favourite city?
London of course!
What do you like most about yourself?
When I know what I want I go for it.
What do you dislike about yourself?
I over-think everything too much.
What was your proudest moment?
So many! But off the top of my head my last performance with The Australian Ballet. I danced Basilio in Nureyev’s Don Quixote at the Sydney Opera House and I had so many friends in the audience! The energy was incredible and I felt the love and the support from the audience and the dancers onstage like never had in my whole career. Also, online, I got so many messages from ballet-goers saying how sorry they were that I was leaving and that I was their favourite dancer in the company, which is a big compliment in a company with so many amazing dancers.
When and where were you happiest?
Last time I was in NYC a few weeks ago.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
To die before I fall in love. I have never been in love, believe it or not.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My height. I wish I was 6 feet tall. Things in my career would have been easier not that I can complain with the career I’ve had so far!!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
What is your most treasured possession?
All my ballet pictures and videos.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Travelling. I’m always travelling! I’m always somewhere.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
I’m too generous sometimes with people who doesn’t deserve it.
On what occasion do you lie?
I prefer not to say anything then to tell a lie. I don’t say I’ve never lied but I try to be truthful especially the older I get.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
A singer or an actor.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I think I’m easy to get along with that’s why I make friends so easily.
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?
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
To be deceived.
What talent would you most like to have?
Being able to sing like some of the creates singers out there.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Having a loving partner, a dog and being in a company where I’m loved and appreciated.
How would you like to die?
Quick and painless, but not till I’m like 80 or something (laughs).
What is your motto?
Don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done to you.
Yosvani Ramos — a biography
Ramos was born to Juan Ramos Barba and Gisela Fontes Lopez in Camagüey, Cuba. He studied dance at the Vocational School of Arts there from 1989, and in 1994 won the gold medal at the Vignale Festival of Dance. He was then admitted to study ballet at the Cuban National Ballet School under the direction of Ramona de Sáa, graduating in 1997.
In September 1997 Ramos joined the Jeune Ballet de France, a French touring company. Started by Robert Berthier with the assistance of Rosella Hightower, the dancers trained for three months and toured for nine – a Professional Year type of training. Ramos remained with the company for two years, leaving in April 1999 for the Paris Opera Ballet. He performed Nureyev’s Swan Lake as a surnuméraire (extra member of the corps de ballet).
Ramos was invited to join English National Ballet as a soloist in August 1999 by Derek Deane, and was promoted to senior soloist in 2000, then principal in 2003 after a performance of Coppélia at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
The Australian Ballet had only two male principals at the end of 2007, and artistic director David McAllister invited Ramos to join the company as a principal artist from February 2008. He also had many opportunities to perform as a guest artist outside Australia, frequently taking The Australian Ballet’s Leanne Stojmenov as his partner. Ramos left The Australian Ballet in April 2013.
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.