Thursday, 6 August 2009
I am delighted to display a specially commissioned drawing by Sarah, an immensely talented artist, to introduce this latest interview series. Sarah’s brief was to depict the dancers’ progression from student to professional, and the resulting sketch perfectly represents that transition.
From Student to Star is a series of interviews featuring Graduates as they begin their professional careers, and will be following them regularly.
Benjamin Ella, a Graduate of The Royal Ballet School, has accepted a contract with the Company and begins work as an Artist in the Autumn.
What are you most looking forward to about joining the Company ?
I'm looking forward to finally becoming a professional dancer and to have the opportunity to learn and perform the Royal Ballet's wide range of fantastic repertoire. I'm excited about forging my career with the Royal Ballet.
How do you think Company life will differ from your student days ?
Firstly, it's going to be great not having to wear the same uniform every day! However, there are many luxuries as a student which I will miss such as having so much done for you and having the time to just concentrate on training.
What are your best achievements as a student ?
Well, graduating with Honours and sharing the Most Outstanding Graduate award with my friend Vadim Muntagirov was a great finish to my three years at the Royal Ballet School. Also winning the 2nd prize and the Mary Day artistic award at the Youth America Grand Prix in 2008 was a highlight. There have been others but for me personally, having been given the opportunity to tour so often (9 times) usually with a group of dancers that have become some of my closest friends and to so many different countries during my three years has been incredible.
Which professional dancer/s do you most admire and why ?
There are so many that it makes it difficult for me to list all of them! However, I would say Carlos Acosta, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Vladimir Vasiliev and Tetsuya Kumakawa have been some of my top idols that have had a lot of influence on me as a dancer. There are also many young, up and coming dancers that I admire and learn from.
What do you think you will bring to the Company ?
That's a tough one! I guess at this stage I really don't know but I am extremely eager to learn and perform many different ballets so I hope to contribute to this already great company my passion for performing.
How do you imagine your first day going ?
I already know quite a few members of the company thankfully, so it won't be too daunting. However, unfortunately I have been on crutches for over a month with a stress fracture in my foot and am slowly recovering now, which means I will not be dancing fully when I start with the company. I hope to recover well and soon.
Which role would you most like to dance ?
I don't have a particular favourite role but there are definitely several that I would love to dance such as Romeo, Siegfried, Albrecht, Solor and maybe even Basilio (although Royal Ballet haven't done Don Quixote for a long time.). But there are many ballets I am not very familiar with including some of the shorter and possibly not so well known works that no doubt I would be interested in.
What would you say to those students entering their Graduate year now ?
Don't waste a moment of your last year as a student because you never know when opportunities will come up. Also don't be complacent with looking for a job.
Where would you like to be this time next year ?
I would hope to be well established with a good reputation in the company and be looking forward to some bigger and more demanding roles in the 2nd season.