Thursday, 23 July 2009

English National Ballet - Anjuli Hudson interviewed

Cupcakes & conversation with Anjuli Hudson, Artist, English National Ballet

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
A big cup of coffee and some good music on the way to work.

Who would you most like to dance with?
I danced the White Cat & Puss in Boots in The Sleeping Beauty with my friend Shevelle Dynott. He’s a great dancer and I had a lot of fun working with him so I’d love to dance with him again.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
I wear handmade shoes by Freed which mould really well to the shape of my foot even after I’ve only worn them once. I darn the ends of my shoes to make them last longer and after I’ve sewn my ribbons on I singe the ends with a lighter so they don’t fray. When the backs of the shoes begin to get soft, I use shellac to harden them. I usually have about three or four pairs on the go at the same time so I don’t wear them out too quickly.

What is your daily routine at the moment?
A typical day at work in London when we’re rehearsing starts at 10:30am and finishes at about 6:30pm. I usually wake up at around 8:00 so I don’t have to rush. It takes me about 45 minutes to get to work, so I aim to get there at around 10:00 and have half an hour to warm up before class. Class is an hour and forty-five minutes and the rest of the day is filled with rehearsals that can last between 15 minutes and 3 hours!

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
Dead or alive? Barack Obama, Alan Carr, Michael Phelps, Gelsey Kirkland, Freddie Mercury and Audrey Hepburn.

What would surprise people about you?
I think people are surprised by how well travelled I am. When I was young, my Dad’s job moved us around a lot. I was lucky enough to live in places such as India, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and then England of course! To experience completely different cultures like that at such a young age was just incredible.

Who inspired you to dance?
My previous dance teacher when I was in Tokyo, Ana Keates. She was a big fan of tough love but full of life and such an inspiration to me. She was also the one who pushed me to audition for Elmhurst School of Dance in Surrey when I was twelve. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

How would someone else describe you?
I’ve always been the little one! People have said I’m quite competitive and maybe even stubborn sometimes, but also fun and outgoing.

What is your best piece of advice?
Don’t regret anything you do. I’ve learned that you’ll end up regretting the things that you didn’t do more than what you did do.

Which role has tested you the most and how?
I still think working with the Company as a student was my biggest challenge. You have to be very quick at picking up the choreography, learn many if not every corps de ballet place and be able to step in for anyone at any time. Plus you don’t know anyone and on top of that you’re hoping to get a contract out of it all. Talk about pressure!

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
There’s so many but this is quite recent. A few months ago my friend and I were on holiday and we decided to rent a jet ski! While we were out, we hit a wave wrong and both of us went flying off the back. We were in the same position in the air, just minus the jet ski! I wish someone had caught it on tape. It took us ages to finally get back on it because we were laughing so much!

Photo : Amber Hunt

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?
I’ve always been a big fan of The Nutcracker. I love the whole Christmas theme so I’d probably design one of the costumes in that. You could have a lot of fun with the second act because it’s supposedly a dream so anything’s possible. It would also be comfortable and flexible for the dancer to be able to move with ease, I think that’s extremely important to the dancer.

What are you most proud of?
I’m so proud of my Dad for overcoming cancer. He had leukaemia and it was caught at a late stage, but he still fought through it and is now in remission.

Photo : Amber Hunt

Who would play you in the film of your life?
I don’t know! Maybe someone like Rachel Bilson, she’s little and feisty like me!

What is your favourite quote?
C’est la vie!

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about?
I was determined to play an instrument at school when I was younger! I signed myself up for everything. Recorder, piano, violin, guitar. I tried so hard with all of them but I was never really good at any of them. At the time I thought I was though! Okay so more unskilled than skilled with instruments, but I’ve found my niche now!


  1. Beautiful interview - thank you. And the pics are lovely too. Really well put together and thought out. Hope for more...

  2. Another super interview.I have nearly finished my first sketch for you. Have decided to do 2 - one with girls, one with boys - if that's ok. Will hope to post on my blog later tonight. If not - tomorrow. S

  3. Thank you Sarah & Anon.

    Can't wait to see the sketches ! Thank you Sarah !

  4. First sketch is now on my blog, Elise.S

  5. Hi Sarah - I think we just crossed posts as it were ! I love the sketch - it's so complex and interesting. I'm just over the moon that you took on the challenge !

  6. Hello, really enjoying your blog :) ... I wondered if there was a way I could keep you up to date with what we're doing at scottish ballet too? It's our 40th anniversry this year, and the autumn season will be opening in london

  7. Hi Ann, yes please - I have been trying to make contact with the Company for months now to no avail !

    I will email you seperately right now !

  8. Anjuli sounds like a little imp ! Great stuff

  9. Excellent interview. How refreshing to read something new and original, for a change.

  10. I was one of Ana Keates' first students in Tokyo and was delighted to read about how she was Anjuli's inspiration to dance. Miss Ana's tough love shaped my love of dance as well and it's nice that Anjuli acknowledged her in this interview!


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