When did you start dancing?
Aged 2, on our coffee table at home.
Why did you start dancing?
To satisfy my urge to move all the time. I really had “ants in my pants”!
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Sylvie Guillem, for her incredibly beautiful physique, amazing physical abilities and her strong personality.
Which dancer do you most admire?
Gene Kelly, for his athletic and energetic dancing style and good looks. He reminds me of my grandfather.
What’s your favourite role?
Tatiana in John Cranko’s ballet Onegin.
Who are your favourite choreographers?
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Kenneth Macmillan.
Who is your favourite writer?
For the moment it is Yuval Noah Harari. I have read his first two books and I am about to finish his 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
Who is your favourite theatre or cinema director?
I don’t have just one favourite as I am very attracted to films made by the Italian directors Antonioni, Bertolucci and Fellini and equally to the Persian film directors Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi and Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Their films invite comparison to the Italian neo-realistic cinema. Persian cinema is praised by critics worldwide as being one of the most important artistically.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite singer?
I listen to numerous different genres of music. I have too many favourites!
What is your favourite book?
Manolo Blahnik: Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions. It’s a stunning tome! Not only for the visual enjoyment I get when looking at all the beautiful, artistic photos but also for the inspiring dialogues he has with Anna Piaggi, Pedro Almodovar and Sofia Coppola, amongst others. I can dream, I can reflect, and I learned a lot from his intelligent dialogues.
What are your favourite films?
Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore, Il Postino by Michael Radford, The Colour of Paradise and Children of Heaven both by Majid Majidi.
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
That I am kind.
What do you dislike about yourself?
My ability to stress myself out needlessly.
What was your proudest moment?
When I was promoted to Principal ballerina.
When and where were you happiest?
During the past summer when I travelled free-spirited through Italy. My boyfriend and I travelled from the Italian Riviera down to Sardinia, onwards through Sicily, back to mainland Puglia, Umbria and Tuscany.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My boyfriend Riccardo, and my parents and sister Tatiana.
What is your greatest fear?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To be less harsh on myself and to worry less.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to speak Italian in less than 12 months.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t really treasure material possessions, but if I have to make a materialistic choice, I’d go for my Manolo Blahnik peacock blue satin, ostrich feathered, open-toe high heels. Real beauties!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Splashing out on high-quality food. Riccardo and I love cooking together and having dinner parties at our home. We are real foodies and on Saturday morning we are often at our local fresh fish market and we also go in search for the freshest vegetables and herbs.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Loyalty (which I highly value in people but how many do stay loyal?)
On what occasion do you lie?
How long I am going to take to get ready when Riccardo asks me.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
A Marine biologist. Since childhood I had a great fascination by marine animals and swimming is also my favourite activity after ballet.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What quality do you most value in a friend?
Honesty and respect.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Being unassuming and down-to-earth. I really dislike any display of airs and graces and pretence.
Which historical figures do you most admire?
Which living person do you most admire?
Currently it is the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinta Ardern.
What do you most dislike?
Fake people, pretentious people, arrogant people, and condescending people.
What talent would you most like to have?
To be a genius in maths.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Sunset on a beach in Puglia with an Aperol Spritz in hand.
How would you like to die?
Peacefully in my sleep
What is your motto?
Act or accept.
Top photo: Preparing for Gamzatti, photo by Dasa Wharton
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.