Thursday, 30 July 2009

Anaïs Chalendard interviewed

Cupcakes & conversation with Anaïs Chalendard, First Soloist, English National Ballet

Anaïs has recently been promoted from Soloist to First Soloist.

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
It sounds a bit of a cliché but I'm very lucky because I'm doing my passion: I am dancing. I don't know a lot of people, at our time, who are able to say that they are working for their passion. When I turn on the radio or the TV, or when I read the newspaper, and see the news.... well.... all this makes me think that I'm really not in a position to complain or try to look for the "motivation". On the other hand, saying everyday is a "dream come true" would be wrong. The life of a ballet dancer is hard, tiring and painful. What you need is not motivation. It is support.

Who would you most like to dance with ?
I would love to dance with Friedemann Vogel. And I would love to dance again with my previous partner in Germany, Flavio Salamanka.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
The preparation is one thing, but of course the basic shape of the shoe is extremely important. It takes a ballerina years and years to find the perfect shoe. The way to prepare a shoe depends on its shape. I think pointe shoes have to look like gloves. They have to look like they are part of the leg. It is just a thin extension. So I prepare my pointe shoes with this in mind.

What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Well... I am on holiday at the moment so ... I wake up about 8:30 and I go to swim for about 1/2 hour and then I do some stretching for 1/2 hour as well. Then I have breakfast with my family. Afterwards, we all go to the beach to grill until around 3pm. There I have something light for lunch. This is followed by a little siesta or reading a book. Finally I just hang around with my sister (she's 11) until dinner time. Voilà !!!

You can ask six famous people to dinner - who would you invite ?
Dominique Khalfouni: étoile of Paris OPERA, she was one of my teachers at school.
J K Rowling: I'm fan of Harry Potter!!!
Zinedine Zidane: the man who can dance with a balloon!!
Rudyard Kipling: my favourite poet
Isabelle Adjani: what an actress !!!
Le Dalaï Lama: because , he is the Dalaï Lama !!!

What would surprise people about you ?
I'm not too bad at cooking...I surprise myself sometimes thou !!! hhehehee!!!

Who inspired you to dance ?
Well... Basically, dance was more of a therapy because I had some health problems when I was younger. So I can't say that anyone in particular inspired me. Of course there are fabulous dancers and my heart beats stronger when I'm watching a beautiful performance. But to be honest, what inspires me is music and the feelings it carries. It is like magic, especially in the choreographic work. Music and feeling becomes movement. And movement is LIFE !!

How would someone else describe you ?
If this person knows me, I would appear extremely sensitive. Always worried. I doubt everything including myself.

What is your best piece of advice ?
Keep a cool head and look straight forward.

Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Giselle was my first big part, I was very impressed by the role itself. It was an honour and a challenge at the same time. But with Giselle, I had the feeling of the weight of tradition on my shoulder, something just much, much bigger than me. But then, it was a fabulous journey and each time I danced Giselle, I discovered new things. Working on Giselle never ends.

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
It actually happened more than once and I'm sure it's gonna happen again!! Sometimes, my sister and I (for no reason), have uncontrollable laughter. I love it!! and it's really fun !!

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
I think a costume has to relate to a ballet, so, I can't tell how I would design a costume right now. But one of my favourite costumes was when I danced Gamzatti. My costumes were amazing. I had to wear skirts in beautiful fabrics. The belly was free because I only had a sort of bra on top set with colourful stones. I also had to wear gorgeous bracelets and earrings. Everything was very exotic and feminine.

What are you most proud of ?
My family.

Who would play you in the film of your life ?
I have no idea !!!

What is your favourite quote ?
"When you give yourself you receive more than you give." Antoine de st EXUPERY.

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
Yes sure ... but it's a secret skill...


  1. What a lovely interview. She is very thoughtful. And I love that top pic with the flowers and cupcakes. So pretty!

  2. Thank you JennyMac for your kind comments. That picture took weeks of planning and acquisition of materials and it's still a work on progress, but I'm glad you like it !

    I agree with your comment about Anais being thoughtful - such great answers !

  3. How utterly charming - lovely interview and thank you for writing it Elise. Lovely dancer, I will watch out for in future now I know a bit more about her


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