The word “comeback” isn’t one I like; what I am doing is going ahead. These years off stage have taught me that I can’t live without dance. I am fully realised only when I dance.
Alessandra Ferri is in Florence to dance Roland Petit’s Le jeune homme et la mort, one of her many projects since she’s come out of retirement.
When I decided to retire Roland was very angry with me. He was the only one who made me have doubts. I told him all of my reasons and he pierced with with those eyes. All my motives which had seemed as solid as a rock, suddenly crumbled. Roland is no longer with us, but this ballet is for him.
Ferri, talking to Oggi magazine’s Fiamma Tinelli, opened up about the sadness in her private life.
When Fabrizio* left me I saw my life fall apart. I felt rejected, I felt pain and surprise. I was devastated, and could have caved in. Instead, I began to realise that we don’t have full control of our lives, but we can control how we confront what happens in them. I decided to treat it as a moment for growth. Fabrizio was a man that I had loved without doubt for fifteen years, but he made that decision and I decided to respect that. I rid myself of any bitterness and freed myself.
I feel stronger now. I’ve learned that ‘for ever’ doesn’t exist and that love can change: there’s that which lasts for life, that your children give you, but even a relationship that endures only six months can we wonderful. If I want to live life to the full I can’t be afraid to turn a new page.
Ferri was meant to have shared the stage with Herman Cornejo in Florence, but he withdrew due to injury, and so she has danced with Yonah Acosta, and the last two performances will be with Denys Cherevychko. In the last two years she has danced often with Cornejo and, according to the Italian journalist, “it is a relationship that extends outside the professional one”.
I’m very sorry that he’s not dancing. Herman is the perfect Jeune homme: intense, dramatic, powerful.
When she’s asked about a relationship she says,
Let’s just say that I’m in a transitional phase, I don’t know that I want to put labels on what I’m feeling. Let’s just see where it goes.
Does age difference matter?
No. What’s important is the energy inside, the way in which you give to each other.
The Ferris have two daughters, Matilde, 17, and Emma, 13. Maybe surprisingly, the elder daughter has decided to leave New York where she has been schooled, and return to Milan to finish liceo.
I certainly miss her, but I was fifteen when I left home [for the Royal Ballet School], so how could I of all people stop her living her own life? I’m happy if she’s happy.
So what kind of mother is she?
I’m a guide, nothing more. I know that I don’t own my children and that they must have their own experiences. It is important to be authentic. To look upon life with love, because life is beautiful even when you suffer. I want them to live day by day because a happy ending is a happy ending in your own eyes, not those of others.
Her relationship with dance has changed as has, obviously, her repertoire.
I’ve looked hard at myself and thought about it. Today, I’m no longer the romantic heroine… Giselle… Manon. I’m a different Alessandra, also on stage. I love roles about women who have lived and who control their own destiny.
My days are disciplined: I get up, have breakfast, go to class, return home, have a massage, a hot bath, and rest without moving until the next day. My body needs to be treated with kid gloves and taken care of; I can’t tire it out and push it over the limit. It means that if my daughters ask to go out for an afternoon of shopping, nine times out of ten I say no.
In the video below (in Italian) filmed for the Florence Opera, she says,
What I like about this new artistic phase is that it doesn’t feel like a career. It’s like a return to my origins when little Alessandra danced just for the passion of it, though I’m doing it now with the privilege I have for being able to live out my dream… my passion.
She was talking in London, back at Covent Garden where she began her career, where she is working with Wayne McGregor on his new three act ballet based on Virginia Woolf stories.
To be back here to create a work that is so new, so modern, it feels like a new beginning… or the closing of a circle… good signs.
*Fabrizio Ferri, the photographer and video maker, who took these recent photos of Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo in Le Jeune homme et la mort.