While ballet is perhaps the most beautiful and delicate forms of dance it can also be one of the most gruelling and challenging. Strict diets, long hours of training, and blistered toes don’t make it seem so glamorous, but the final result is stunning;creating a beautiful combining strength and grace. Ahead of this season’s showing of The Nut Cracker at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, we spoke to principal dancer at the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet Natalia Romanova.
What time do you get up in the morning?
It often depends on whether we’ve had a performance the night before as it can be a late night by the time we get back to the hotel. But, in general, I’m up earlier and ready for training.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I usually start my day with fruit or cereal. We’re on strict diets when touring as we need a careful balance of nutrition. Our diets can be quite carb-heavy as you can imagine two performances per day and warm-up classes burns a lot of calories.
What is your routine for the day?
When we’re on tour and it’s not a travel day it’s pretty intense. We usually get up and head down to the venue for a warm-up class which can last about 3 hours. We may have a matinee show but if not, there will be another warm- up class in the afternoon. Then we’ll take a quick break before getting our hair and make-up done and into our costumes. Then it’s show time.
What do you do in your free time?
When on tour we try and take in a bit of the city we’re staying in but usually we don’t get much time. At home, any free time is a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends, go to the cinema and yes even go a watch a ballet. I still try and train every day, though.
What is your favourite music?
I love all the classic music we dance to; it’s so expressive. On tour, we dance with a live orchestra and I don’t think it gets any better than dancing to a live score of Tchaikovsky. I do listen and enjoy most chart music but we don’t use music for our warm up classes we concentrate on what the ballet mistress is telling us.
What is the last book you read?
I don’t get much time to read. Usually, I watch tv or chat with friends. I do try and read books about the country we’re about to tour to and places we’re visiting.
Where will you be for Christmas?
This year I’ll be at home with my friends and family which is wonderful.
How many hours per day do you train?
Again, it depends on the performance schedule but I’d say I train for around 6 hours a day. Ballet is a way of life, it’s my job which I Iove so I don’t mind training and I love performing.
You can see Natalia Romanova and the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet dancing in The Nut Cracker at The Bord Gais Theatre until Saturday, November 26th.