Friday, 14 August 2009

Elisa Badenes : From Student to Star

I am delighted to show another specially commissioned drawing by Sarah, a naturally 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.

Last month I reviewed the Royal Ballet School’s Summer Matinee performance, which included Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, where Elisa Badenes, a Graduate of the School this year, danced the lead role of Titania. Her astounding technique drew roars from the spell-bound audience & her dancing is exquisite - Ashton's very English style does not suit every dancer. You can read the review and see more photographs here. Badenes joins Stuttgart Ballet later this year.

What are you most looking forward to about joining the Company ?

I think the Company can give me more self-confidence, which I think is really important when you dance. I would also like to learn different repertoire which I’ve never done before, and of course have an amazing experience.

How do you think Company life will differ from your student days ?

The work is going to be very different. In the school you have classes and some rehearsals but in the Company you just have rehearsals. You work every day towards the performance, not for yourself. You have more responsibility, you have to work on your own.

What are your best achievements as a student ?

I think this year was incredible for me! I was new in the graduate year and at the beginning of the year I was scared to join in the last year and I didn’t know anyone. But they gave me the opportunities to dance and I went with a school friend to the YAGP 2009 in New York which was an amazing experience. After all the competitors I won the Gold medal in the Senior Women’s category, and the Special Award of Outstanding European Dancer. That was really rewarding after all our hard work. But I think the most amazing experience was dancing the role of Titania at the Royal Opera House in the end of year performance. Apart from the great feeling you have when you are up on the stage with the lights, costumes and this incredible stage, it was really hard but incredible too. All the rehearsals with my school friends and the good teachers and staff really helped me when I finally danced the performance.

What do you think you will bring to the Company ?

I don’t know apart from one new face. I think I’m one of the younger people in the Company so I think what’s good is that I have time to improve and get a stronger technique.

How do you imagine your first day going ?

I will be really lost and scared but so excited too.

Which role would you most like to dance ?

I think the best thing is to have the opportunity to dance different roles, with different techniques and different characters. This year I had the opportunity to dance the Don Quixote pas de deux and it was a fantastic role which I enjoyed so much because I was really comfortable with it, but it was really good too dancing the role of Titania, which was another different style. Apart from these roles our class danced one neoclassical piece "Piano Concerto" where we could try different movement.

What would you say to those students entering their Graduate year now ?

Enjoy every moment because the year is really short and will pass ever so quickly.

Where would you like to be this time next year ?

I don’t know how my life will be in Stuttgart Ballet. I hope it is really good but I also wish to meet all my school friends again and have more experience together.


  1. B E A U T I F U L Blog!
    I have enjoy reading and looking at the amazing photos.I took ballet lessons when i was little...loved it.
    THANK YOU for sharing.


  2. hello elise :)
    thank you so much for leaving that sweet comment on my blog :) wow!! you write about ballet! this is very very cool! i use to do classical ballet until 17. unfortunately i was never good at it... i never got through my intermediate level :) OH! i must recommend your blog to my friend mindy, who is currently teaching ballet in perth australia :)) Yes! definitely must get mindy to come here :)) talk to you again elise :) take care and hugs!!
    luthien :)

  3. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your lovely comment. Ahh, I've always loved the ballet!
    All the best ~ Sharon

  4. Elise, thank you for visiting our Blog...both my girls are in Ballet and love it...that would be my dream gift to my girls to take them to the Royal Ballet for a performance when we come back to London at Christmas...ash, our eldest has never seen a Ballet before and I think she would fall in love.
    How do artists get in to the schools whilst the classes are practicing? I would love to sketch Ballet Dancers!
    I'll be back, I'm following your awesome blog now.
    Have a wonderful day.

  5. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment :)

  6. SimaG - welcome and thank you for your lovely comments

    Luthien - thank you for your comments and yes please to tell your friend Mindy - welcome to you

    Mana - thank you and welcome

    We Blog Artists - hello and welcome Char. Thank you for your really lovely comments and I'm glad you are enjoying reading the articles. To answer your question about artists - sometimes it's possible to arrange to sit in on rehearsals to sketch - much the same way as notators are present in the studio. But Sarah does most of her sketching from memory.

    Just in case you are not aware - a tiny bit of advice about seeing the RB at Christmas this year. The shows are always sold out well in advance - this year it's Nutcracker and Les Patineurs/Beatrix Potter and you can imagine just how popular those are with children. If you do want your children to see them - I'd book for Nutcracker as soon as you can, and if you prefer the other two, you'll need to wait a bit longer until public booking opens (unless you are a patron). Hope that helps - I wouldn't want you to be disappointed if you wait until you are here and then find you can't get in.... And of course - you must keep us posted about how you get on. If you want the exact booking dates let me know and I'll post them here for you (I'm not next to my info right now).

  7. I adore this blog! It brings back so many childhood memories and dreams of being a professional ballerina!

    Sadly, I was too tall and not thin enough to make a go of it (unless I wanted to stay in my small hometown forever).

    Love this blog!

  8. Thanks for stopping by my page.

    Your blog is beautiful! I love all of the ballet photography. I will definitely be back to see what else you post. :)

    Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  9. Thanks for letting me know you're a reader of my blog - it was a fabulous way for me to find you and check out your also great blog :-) Have a fantastic weekend and thanks again for the kind words!

  10. Thanks for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed reading yours as well. I've been dancing most of my life and I love ballet. I'll be checking back often.

  11. wow I so enjoy your blog cause it reminds me of my dance lessons when i was little and sadly I was never any good at it . I truly wish I had been but no . anyway what a lovely blog you have and you open our eyes to so many things of dance I learn something everyday about dance from you . thanks .

  12. beautiful drawing! I also just love seeing the photos of the dancers, I think ballet is such a graceful talent!

  13. Thank you so much for the sweet comment:) That drawing is so beautiful!

  14. Thank you for stopping by Elise! And thank you for the ultimate compliment: quirky!!!

    I did ballet as a kid...will be perusing your site. Makes me want to dance again...

  15. Hi Elise
    How sweet everyone is regarding my drawings.I have re-posted my watercolour of the red pointe shoes without the watermark for you. Hope its ok - I am so enjoying painting and drawing and its all thanks to your encouragement. I think my ballet sketches and paintings are getting better as I work more on the subject! Sarah

  16. Gorgeous photos and sketch!
    Fab interview too!


  17. Hi. I have no idea about actually selling them. How much would I charge? Would I have to set up a Paypal account ? All unknowns... I would love to think there was a market for my work. Perhaps I will think about it and in the meantime build up my portfolio.S


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