When did you start dancing?
I was 8 years old. My father was teaching me in the backyard of our house.
Why did you start dancing?
We are a big family — 11 children — my parents had only what they knew to offer us at that point and Ballet was that gift.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Nureyev and Baryshnikov.
Which dancer do you most admire?
Nureyev. He was so much more than a dancer! He was a visionary.
What’s your favourite role?
At first, I did a lot of whining about Nureyev’s Romeo because of its difficulty but then, I fell in love with the role. It is always different, always a challenge but also always so satisfying to perform.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Armand with Tamara Rojo in Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Hans Van Manen.
Who is your favourite writer?
Winston Churchill, Garcia Marquez, and Hemingway for The Old Man and the Sea.
Who is your favourite theatre or cinema director?
Theatre: Nicholas Hytner and Robert Icke. Cinema: Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro
Who is your favourite actor?
The last actor that really made a mark on me at the theatre was Simon Russell Beale in the Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre.
Who is your favourite singer?
Otis Redding, Etta James, Nina, Freddie Mercury… I could have enough to live by with their music.
What is your favourite book?
Very hard question. But for recreation purposes, I could always go back to reading One Hundred Years of Solitude but also The Old Man and The Sea, I find this literature filled with a sort of melancholy and feeling that manages to move me every time.
What is your favourite film?
Singin’ in the Rain — thanks to my dad.
Which is your favourite city?
For me, it is now impossible to say! I have lived in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam and London! I spend time in Paris and Rome often and love Mexico City and Guadalajara. They have all been very special, I don’t think it would be fair to the different places to have to choose one!
What do you like most about yourself?
My will and the freedom I’ve allowed myself, to dream freely and without limits.
What do you dislike about yourself?
I am always looking ahead, even when I’ve accomplished a goal or a dream.
What was your proudest moment?
Realizing things will never be the same for ballet in Mexico and that today, more and more young people can dream of following a dance dream.
When and where were you happiest?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
Professionally speaking: to waste an opportunity.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My herniated lumbar disc!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To have inspired a nation to see dance and the arts differently and to start considering them as a tool for change.
What is your most treasured possession?
Family and health!
What is your greatest extravagance?
To fly my parents and spoil them when I guest around. Last time it was at the Rome Opera, next trip is to Argentina for Don Quixote with Teatro Colon.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
No virtue should be overlooked or overrated.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I say the truth. I wonder if anyone reading this will be able to guess what movie is that line from.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
I was into martial arts and pro target shooting; I wanted to join the army or compete professionally in martial arts.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I suppose my character.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Objectiveness and simplicity.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
The first 27 years of Churchill were remarkable in determination, courage, imagination and drive. Chaplin was extraordinary and incredibly intelligent. But there are too many, too many with incredible and unimaginable flaws and virtues, that it is impossible to pinpoint one.
Which living person do you most admire?
My parents. I believe they have done something special with their life and the few means they had. They have dedicated their life to helping people without expecting anything in return. I find that very special, I know very few people with such a genuine interest to improve people’s lives.
What do you most dislike?
Lack of imagination.
What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to sing well.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
To learn and discover new things next to someone.
How would you like to die?
However it must be.
What is your motto?
First, “Why Not?” Then we go from there…
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.