When did you start dancing?
When I was 3.
Why did you start dancing?
My mum had a ballet school and when I saw the other children moving to music I couldn’t help myself.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Which dancer do you most admire?
Ray Barra and Patricia Neary for being such wonderful artists but more importantly inspiring human beings.
What’s your favourite role?
Manon, the Sylphide, Marguerite from Lady of the Camellias, oh and there are so many more.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Mary Vestra in Mayerling.
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
Bella Figura, Taming of the Shrew.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Cranko, MacMillan, Neumeier, Kylián, Balanchine etc
Who is your favourite writer?
Who is your favourite director?
Who is your favourite actor?
Johnny Depp, he’s unique in everything he does.
Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite book?
The Gruffulo by Julia Donaldson
What is your favourite film?
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
My wanting to help others.
What do you dislike about yourself?
My inability to say no, among many other things.
What was your proudest moment?
Receiving the Kammertanzerin Award.
When and where were you happiest?
Being back on stage after my knee injury.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My son, Connor.
What is your greatest fear?
Having no value in life.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My metabolic system.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a mother.
What is your most treasured possession?
My love of dance.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My attention to details.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Quantity over quality.
On what occasion do you lie?
I don’t generally approve of lying but if I must it would be to protect someone I love.
If you hadn’t been a dancer, what would you have liked to be?
I couldn’t say, I never wanted to be anything else.
What is your most marked characteristic?
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?
My husband, Vincent.
What do you most dislike?
What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to really cook.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Is there such a thing?
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
Less is more.
Lisa-Maree Cullum – a biography
Lisa-Marre Cullum was born in New Zealand and trained in New Zealand, Sydney and Monte Carlo. She started her professional career dancing with the English National Ballet.
From 1990 to 1998 she was a leading ballerina with the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, dancing all the major repertory – Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake etc – as well as the company’s large modern repertory.
In 1998 she joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett, becoming a Principal in the 1999/2000 season. Her initial roles with the company included Olga in Onegin (Cranko), Nikiya in La Bayadère (Bart/Petipa), Manon, Prudence in The Lady of the Camellias (Neumeier), and Terpsichore in Balanchine’s Apollo. In the modern repertory, she danced leading roles in Peter Martin’s Fearful Symmetries and Zakouski as well as William Forsythe’s Artifact II. In 1999 she created the role of the Virgin Mary in Grand-Maître’s Emma B.
With the company she went on to dance the title role in A Cinderella Story (Neumeier), Manon in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Tatjana in Cranko’s Onegin, Swan Lake, Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, Brahms-Schönberg-Quartett, Jerome Robbins’ In the Night and many others. She created the role of Raymonda in Ray Barra’s new Raymonda production.
On 7 June 2015 in Munich Lisa-Maree Cullum gave the last performance of her career as The Hostess in Bronislawa Nijinska’s Les Biches.
In 1988 she was a gold-medalist at the Adéline Genée-Competition in London and won the Prix de Lausanne. In 1995 she was the winner of the Leonide Massine-Award in Positano, Italy. In 1998, Cullum was acclaimed dancer of the year by a leading Munich newspaper. She was nominated for the Prix Benois de la danse in Moskau 2002 and she was acclaimed Dancer of the Year 2002 for her outstanding interpretation of the title role in Sleeping Beauty with the Rome Opera Ballet. She has appeared as a guest dancer worldwide with the Kirov Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and many more.
In 2008, she was awarded the honorary title ‘Kammertänzerin’ by the Bavarian Ministry of Culture.
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.