Thursday, July 16, 2015

'Understand – it hurts': giants of dance reveal its tolls and triumphs

Body talk … Tamara Rojo and Lauren Cuthbertson. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Late nights, early mornings, punishing schedules, stage fright, pulled hamstrings, failed auditions … Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo, Lauren Cuthbertson, Wayne McGregor, Matthew Bourne and more reveal the secrets of the dance studio

Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian
Thursday 16 July 2015 02.00 EDT

Carlos Acosta

In Cuba, I started break-dancing in the 80s. I was imitating Michael Jackson and so my father forced me into ballet. For three years I struggled; I had the ability to mimic movement very well, but I was unreliable. They cast me in shows and didn’t know if I was going to turn up or not. One time they had to stop a show for an hour and a half to look for me. I was out playing, they found me completely soaked in mud. At the age of 13 I saw the National Ballet of Cuba for the first time. That’s when I fell in love with it. I saw the professionals doing all the lifts and carrying the girl with one hand and I decided, “I want to do that.”

I see an injury as an opportunity to explore a new way of moving Tommy FranzénSprained ankles, pulled hamstrings, back problems, neck problems, shoulder problems. I see it all as an opportunity for learning and I try to explore movement that I can do with that injury, modifying moves, coming up with new moves without using that arm or that leg. Take the opportunity to explore a new way of moving.

Tamara Rojo

A lot of it is just working and working, because repetition creates instinct, especially in ballet. It is literally repeating things so many times that it becomes muscle memory. Only now when I’m about to stop dancing do I feel I am a good dancer, for the first time in my life. Now my body knows how to do things, it’s not my mind telling me how to do it, it’s my body.

(More here.)

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