When did you start dancing?
When I was 9 years old.
Why did you start dancing?
Because I was always moving as a child and I had to do something with my body. I asked my mom and she took me to dance classes.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Julio Bocca, Alexandra Ferri, Gelsey Kirkland and Sylvie Guillem.
Which dancer do you most admire?
Natalia Makarova and Julio Bocca. Julio because he was an icon for us in Argentina, because he showed us that we also have great dancers and that we too can be at the top.
What's your favourite role?
Tatiana in Onegin and Carmen.
What role have you never played but would like to?
I am going to dance Manon in a few months, a role that I had rehearsed in the past but I could not perform due to an injury. Juliet and Pina Bausch's Rite of Spring because I think that the feeling that you get dancing must be amazing.
What's your favourite ballet to watch?
I cannot limit myself to only one. Among my favourites are Manon, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Petite Mort, Bella Figura, A Midsummer Night's Dream, In the Night.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Same thing, I cannot limit myself to one only. So I will name John Cranko, Kenneth MacMillan, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiří Kylián, Mats Ek, Pina Bausch.
Who is your favourite writer?
Again, no single answer: Haruki Murakami, Pablo Neruda, J.R.R. Tolkien, Edward Abbey.
Who is your favourite theatre or cinema director?
Roman Polanski, Clint Eastwood, Gus Van Sant.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite singer?
The Rolling Stones, Rodriguez.
What is your favourite book?
All the books on my bookshelf.
What is your favourite film?
The Lord of the Rings
Which is your favourite city?
I usually appreciate all the cities I visit because they have all something special but Budapest, Prague, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, St Petersburg, Sao Paulo and Edinburgh are among my favourites.
What do you like most about yourself?
I haven't found out yet.
What do you dislike about yourself?
My change of temper, sometimes it can change in 3 seconds.
What was your proudest moment?
When I called my mom to tell her that I had been nominated Étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet.
When and where were you happiest?
In the theatre, it doesn't matter if I'm on stage or in the audience.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
To lose the ability to use my legs.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
When I wake up in the morning, I am in a horrible mood. I can eat you if you bother me.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To have a stage like the Palais Garnier to create art on every day.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Spending my vacations with a backpack, climbing mountains of 5800m and sleeping in a tent.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
When someone asks me too many questions
If you hadn't been a dancer, what would you have liked to be?
An alpinist or globetrotter.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
Honesty and to be able to laugh a lot together.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
The good temper and respect.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
I am not attached to any historical figures. I think that it is good to have historical figures who have done good in the past (Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, for instance) but it is much better to admire living people who are doing good for the future right now.
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother and my father.
What do you most dislike?
Envy and laziness
What talent would you most like to have?
Have the talent to write a bestseller.
What's your idea of perfect happiness?
A world where all people would respect their differences, care for their planet and take care of each other.
How would you like to die?
In a house rounded by mountains and lakes.
What is your motto?
Never lose your dreams.
Ludmila Pagliero – a biography
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ludmila began her professional ballet studies in 1993 at the Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón. She had the privilege to learn from ballet masters such as Olga Ferri. At the end of 1999 she decided that it was time for the next challenge, and in 2000, at only sixteen, she joined the Ballet of Santiago in Chile. Two years later she was promoted to soloist.
There, in this position, Ludmila performed in “The Sleeping Beauty”, “In the Night”, “Giselle”, “Nutcracker”, “The Corsaire”, “A Midsummer Night's Dream”, “Theme and Variations” and “Serenade”.
In 2003, at the 7th International Ballet Competition of New York, Ludmila was awarded the Silver Medal and received the Igor Youskevitch Award (i.e. one year contract with the prestigious American Ballet Theater).
The same year, she decided to put herself to the test once again, but in France. There she became the first Argentinean to join the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet. Three years later, the 21 december 2006, she passed the “concours” to become Coryphée (second rank in the company).
The following year, she passed as Sujet (third rank) and began, again, to dance soloist roles, in particular, the title roles in José Martínez's “Les Enfants du Paradis” (Garance), “Serait-ce La Mort?” by Maurice Béjart, the White Pas de Deux in “Proust ou Les Intermittence du Coeur“ and the Jeune Fille in “The Wolf”, both of Roland Petit and the “Nutcracker” of Nureyev.
On 18 november 2009, she passed as Première Danseuse (soloist). From this point on, she was chosen to perform title roles in “La Petite Danseuse de Degas” of Patrice Bart, “Paquita” of Pierre Lacotte and “Suite en Blanc” of Serge Lifar. She also danced principal and soloist roles in works by Nureyev: Odette-Odile in “Swan Lake”, Gamzatti in “La Bayadère” and one of the evil sisters in “Cinderella“. In John Neumeier's “The Lady of the Camellias”, she danced the roles of Manon and Prudence. In Jerome Robbins' “In The Night”, she performed the first pas de deux. She also danced as a soloist in “Apollo“ and “Dances at a Gathering” of George Balanchine.
The same year, she was awarded the Premio Konex by the Konex foundation in Argentina.
In fall 2011, she performed the premiere of “La Source”, a choreography of Jean Guillaume Bart, an original work commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet with costumes by Christian Lacroix.
On the March 22, 2012, Ludmila was promoted to the prestigious title of “Etoile” at the end of the performance of Nureyev's Bayadère in which she was dancing the role of Gamzatti.
As Etoile, Ludmila performed “Giselle” of Patrice Bart and Eugène Polyakov, “La Sylphide“ and “Paquita“ of Pierre Lacotte, the role of Kitri in “Don Quixote”, princesse Aurora in the “Sleeping Beauty” and Clara in the “Nutcracker”, both of Rudolf Nureyev, the role of Carmen in the work of Roland Petit and the role of Esmeralda on his “Notre Dame de Paris”. She also performed the title roles in various pieces of George Balanchine: “Agon”, “Serenade” and “Apollo”. In 2014, she made her debuts as Tatiana in John Cranko's “Onegin“ and she danced the three movements of “Cristal Palace“ and the pink lady in “Dances at a Gathering” (George Balanchine).
In the past, she has also worked with Mats Ek for “Appartment“ (the door pas de deux), “A sort of…“ and “The House of Bernarda Alba“, Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker for “Rain“, Emmanuel Gat for “Hark!“, Benjamin Millepied for “Amoveo“, Sasha Waltz for “Romeo and Juliet“ and Pina Bausch for “Orpheus and Eurydike“.
She is regularly invited to perform in international galas and theatres, where she has had the opportunity to extend her repertoire with other pieces. Lately, she was received at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow for “Paquita“, in the Abay National Theatre and Opera House in Almaty for “Giselle“, in the Mariinsky Theatre of Saint Petersburg for “La Sylphide“ and in the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater for the New Year's Gala.
She has been awarded the grade of Chevalier (knight) of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
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.