When did you start dancing?
I started taking “ballet” class when I was very little; about 4 years old. But I think I really started proper classes when I turned 6 or 7.
Why did you start dancing?
I started ballet class because I had a hip condition: dysplasia. So, to make sure I would have good coordination, the family doctor advised my parents to get me to do some “dancing”. And I just never stopped loving it ever since.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
As a child, I didn't grow up with much TV… lots of books though! I had a beautiful book about ballet, explaining the history of ballet with a picture of Makarova and Baryshnikov on the cover. I remember absolutely loving going through it and being literally in awe looking at every single picture, and finding every time new inspiring details. I read over and over again the stories of the different ballets… it always made me dream.
Hanging out at my teacher's place too was key, because she did have a TV and I was allowed sometimes to watch video from Eurovision de la Danse… good times. Agnès Letestu was the one at the time for me.
What's your favourite role?
Juliette is definitely my favourite, but I also loved dancing in The Lady of the Camellias… and MacMillan's Manon.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Aurora. And also, I'm just dying to dance some of Kylián's work… one day may be. And why doesn't anybody choreograph a version of Madame Bovary???!!
What's your favourite ballet to watch?
Ha-ha, that's funny coz the ballets I love to watch are usually of stuff I can't really do, or see myself doing, so I absolutely love watching Ekman's Cacti.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Hard one… can't answer that!!!
Who is your favourite writer?
Rudyard Kipling; Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Who is your favourite theatre or cinema director?
Cohen brothers; Spielberg; Eastwood.
Who is your favourite actor?
Robin Williams and Meryl Streep. Geniuses. I've so much admiration for those two.
Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite book?
Hum… all the Harry Potters.
What is your favourite film?
The Dead Poets Society.
Which is your favourite city?
Well, I loved London; I think NYC is the capital of the world; but, I feel home in Boston. Go Red Sox!!!!
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
The “yes but” in my head…
What was your proudest moment?
Well, it should be when I got promoted officially to principal, but it actually isn't. I think it's when I held my little sister in my arms for the first time, 18 years ago.
When and where were you happiest?
Here and now.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Well, ballet is my first love. But the greatest love is my family.
What is your greatest fear?
I can't even express it in words…
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Believe me, there are a ton of things I would love to change but I also believe that we are the way we are. And the journey that you spend accepting yourself, is life itself. So I don't want to change anything. Bring it on: Life, I'm ready!!! (Though… maybe a tiny bit bigger boobs )
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To have kept going, no matter what.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
A Burberry bag I bought after my first Swan Lake guesting.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion, do you lie?
Er… what do you mean?!… I never lie…!
If you hadn't been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
I don't know… a musician maybe. Or a social worker… or something to do with animals… I mean, taking care of animals, not killing animals. Like working in a zoo in Australia or in a reserve in Africa or something.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Honesty, truth, intelligence in the movement.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
The ones we never talk about.
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
People copying and faking everything around them in order to build themselves a personality. I mean… would you go and wear the same perfume as one of your colleagues?!!! Seriously deviant!
Also, I just hate when people make noises when they eat.
What talent would you most like to have?
To know when to shut up.
What's your idea of perfect happiness?
Never ending massage… foot massage actually.
How would you like to die?
On stage…. kidding. I don't wanna die! Period!!!
What is your motto?
Always do your best.
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.