Opening her fridge and taking out a tin of “Faux Gras” – foie gras for vegans – Sylvie Guillem returns to the public eye in an Italian programme about responsible eating.
I was part of that group of people who say, “Ah, the poor little lambs, but they're so tasty,” because I hadn't seen what went on.
I became a vegan six or seven years ago, when I was still dancing, and I heard millions of times, “But how to you get protein?” I get protein from vegetables… in all sorts of foods.
Guillem spends much time in her renovated farmhouse in the hills of upper Lazio, between Rome and Florence and her Italian is fluent and colloquial. She loves Italy: “Working here is a little difficult, but living isn't. The simple things still count. To have a coffee in the town square in the morning makes me feel good.”
What I would tell young dancers was that I had incredible strength… I want to say to all dancers, become vegan! There are many athletes who are vegan.
We don't have a choice. We must do something. It's not only politicians that can do something.
The problem is business. 82% of children who die from hunger live in countries which produce grain for animals.
People can't just close their eyes; we can't do this anymore. What can I do? I can do this. It's already a lot. It was a moral choice and not because I was obliged to do it. I knew why I was doing it: I didn't want to be a part of this torture anymore. I'm doing my part, even if it's just a drop in the ocean, because one drop plus another plus another will eventually add up.
There is a dilemma in those who eat meat because they think, well if she's right, then I'm wrong. I might make people afraid, but even if they're not interested in the welfare of the animals, then at least they can think about the future… their future.
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.