Alessandra Ferri arrived to live in New York when she was 22, after Mikhail Baryshnikov invited her to join the American Ballet Theatre. She was born in Milan, and studied at the La Scala Ballet Academy until she transferred to the Royal Ballet School when she was 15, becoming part of the company just two years later. Ferri is Milanese, and feels Milanese, but her home is New York, and she loves it.
In New York you need to create your own city within the city, making your own reality among the thousands of possibilities that exist here. I am very happy here, and after almost thirty years I still find it stimulating. The theatre world is fantastic.
She is less enthusiastic about what she sees in Italy.
Everything seems difficult in Italy, whereas here everything is possible. In America, companies are private, so you could say that it is precarious. At the American Ballet Theatre there have been good years, and others less so, depending on the private subsidy that arrives. But everyone has a will to make things function in the best way possible. In Italy, there is something negative in the atmosphere, and also in the people. Here it’s the opposite: the desire to make things happen wins out. I think this is the big difference. Sometimes in Italy I sense that there is a kind of snobbery that prevents things getting done.
Even so, Ferri, along with her ex-husband Fabrizio Ferri, have decided to send their two girls to the Italian School in New York.
We were not happy bringing up our children as Americans. Cultural roots are important. To grow up Italian in New York combines the best of both worlds. My daughters feel Italian, and I’m proud of that.
Quotes taken from an interview with Federico Rampini for La Repubblica.