Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Cupcakes & conversation with Rym Kechacha, Apprentice, Northern Ballet Theatre
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
On Mondays I always feel nice and rested from the weekend; so the thought of a whole new week where there’s loads of new stuff to learn and literally anything can happen, is exciting!
What are you looking forward to dancing next season ?
I’m looking forward to performing A Christmas Carol, because it’s so much fun and so festive! The music’s great and the movement of all the group dances are really involved and challenging.
Who would you most like to dance with ?
Fred Astaire. He was magic and in all his films he looks so elegant and glamorous.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I don’t think I really do that much. First, I cut the satin off the toe, to give a better grip on the floor, then I sew ribbons and one elastic on each shoe. Then I’ll take the top nail out of the shank so that the shoe bends with my foot, and work the sole with my hands to make it a bit more flexible. It takes about 45 minutes for a pair, I think. Then, I use shellac on the inside of the soles - it makes them keep their shape longer.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I get up at about 7.30, get ready and walk to NBT’s studios for class. I warm up for about an hour, then do class. Then there are various rehearsals until about 6.30. Then I walk home, make some dinner and either write emails to my far away friends and browse my favourite websites for a bit, or watch an episode of TV shows I’m addicted to!
You can ask six famous people to dinner - who would you invite ?
It’s going to be hard to only invite six - but I think it would be: Isadora Duncan, Jim Morrison, Coco Chanel, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and Rudolf Nureyev. And I’d have Frank Sinatra and Edith Piaf there too, serenading us!
What would surprise people about you ?
I have a huge fear of being late. I keep my watch five minutes early, and I am never ever late for anything. Usually I turn up a good half an hour early, just to be on the safe side!
The NBT girls as fairies in David Nixon’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Who inspired you to dance ?
When I first started seeing ballets when I was younger, every single show I saw inspired me. I’ve been really lucky to have incredibly inspiring teachers all throughout my training, and someone that always inspires me every time I see or speak to her is my friend, the American ballerina Naomi Sorkin.
How would someone else describe you ?
I think people would mostly say that I’m funny and bubbly, I always seem to be making people laugh in one way or another! I think they’d also say that I’m quite curious, always asking questions about all sorts of random things - sometimes it can exasperate my friends!
What is your best piece of advice ?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Though I’m still working on taking that advice myself!
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Being a swan in David Nixon’s Swan Lake was tough, because the choreography is hard, it goes on forever, and you get cramp. You’re also trying desperately to stay in line and be in the correct spacing. Plus, there’s the voice of the little girl inside you saying ‘we’ve always wanted to be a swan and dance to this fabulous music, don’t mess this up!’ so I felt a bit pressured! In third year at Central School of Ballet I performed Christopher Gable’s Fireside pas de deux from his Cinderella. I loved it, but it tested my maturity and dramatic powers. I learnt a lot from that role.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
I am a notoriously clumsy person, so every day I have an amusing mishap. A silly thing that happened once was that I woke up and found that the fridge in my flat wasn’t working, it was completely warm. I rang up a repair man, and kicked up such a fuss. When he came, he found the switch and switched it on - I’d turned the switch for the fridge and freezer off by mistake. I felt very, very small.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
I love costumes with tons of drama, so I think I’d have a dancer in a dark flowing cape, with a hood covering her head, which trails behind her as she runs across the stage- I’m seeing Juliet running to Friar Laurence...!
What are you most proud of ?
It’s nice to feel proud of everything you’ve achieved, professionally and personally, even though I hope I’ve got more to go! I’m proud of overcoming obstacles in my life and still having a sense of humour. I’m also proud of being financially solvent and independent from my parents, even at the relatively young age of 19. That’s a big thing for me!
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
I’d love to say Penelope Cruz, I think she’s just beautiful! But I’ll go for Ava Gardner, if she’s being funny and not too tragic. Possibly Juliette Binoche, she’s quite cool.
What is your favourite quote ?
‘Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.’ And Oscar Wilde said some lovely things, but my favourite is ‘We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
It’s not much of a skill, and everyone knows about it, but I write a blog about life at Northern Ballet Theatre. I enjoy doing it and people tell me that they actually read it, so that’s nice!