Sunday, 20 September 2009

Elsa Godard interviewed for "Cupcakes & Conversation ..."

Cupcakes & Conversation with Elsa Godard, Artist, The Royal Ballet

Photo : Anais Godard

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
I feel really lucky to do my job. It's always fascinating to learn and discover something every day, to give the most of ourselves. And the best thing is to know that we can enjoy it on stage and hopefully make people in the audience dream as well...

Who would you most like to dance with ?
There are so many great artists in the "ballet world". I find it difficult to pick one person out of all the wonderful dancers - I really appreciate what they do. I think the most important thing is that there is a real connection between the two partners. If something true is shared between the two of them, then it should be a moment to enjoy.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
First, I darn the end of the shoes and cut the satin to make it less slippery. I sew the ribbons and elastics, and take off the nail on the "heel part" of the shoe. Then I slice off a bit of the bottom part of the sole with a Stanley knife to make the shoe more stable. I usually need to do this operation several times a week, so I generally sew a couple of them in a row, so that if one of them wears out.... a few others are already waiting to be worn!

What is your daily routine at the moment ?
At the moment, it's only the beginning of the season. The day starts with a ballet class at 10.30am, followed by rehearsals in the afternoon which can go on until 6.30pm. It gets busier once the shows start. Rehearsals then go on to 5.30, then we have a 2 hour break in which we get some dinner and prepare ourselves for the show about to start!

You can ask six famous people to dinner - who would you invite ?
There are so many people I find really interesting. Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, Mr Baryshnikov, and Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Photo: Johan Persson

What would surprise people about you ?
People usually say I'm a quiet person, but I laugh louder than one would think!

Who inspired you to dance ?
As a child, I loved watching Fred Astaire's movies. This was a "dance and music" dimension I really enjoyed. Then my mum and sister registered me into a small ballet school, and "ballet" quickly became a real passion. I got to know my great teacher Dominique Khalfouni... She taught me so much, as much technically as emotionally.

How would someone else describe you ?
I feel I need to ask my friends and family to answer this question... according to them, I'm shy but spontaneous, honest, and really stubborn!

What is your best piece of advice ?
Never give up, work hard, stay authentic, and hang on tightly to your dreams...

Which role has tested you the most & how ?
As a corp de ballet, all the big productions such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty & La Bayadere are real challenges stamina wise, and also to stay coordinated and form a harmonious whole with all the other girls in the corp. But if I had to pick one ballet, I would say Serenade by George Balanchine. This is a half hour ballet, which doesn't really stop, and this makes it quite hard to catch your breath ... but the music is so outstanding that it makes you forget the difficulty of the steps and lets you fully enjoy the moment. It taught me a lot about how to deal with difficulty and just enjoy every minute of the show... a lesson that helps me with any other productions now.

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
It was actually in a dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker. We were doing Snowflakes, and I lost my wig on stage! I ended up with my Snowflake dress, a wig in my hand and my stocking top on my head! (it’s a bald cap worn underneath a wig to hide traces of real hair). What a look! I can now laugh about it, but it was not actually as funny at the time.... it was one of the first times I danced on that great stage!

Photo : Johan Persson

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
I would create a really floaty dress, preferably a light pink or even white... A bit of a Juliet (from Romeo & Juliet) type of dress.

What are you most proud of ?
My family.

Who would play you in the film of your life ?
I would love to say Audrey Hepburn if she was still alive...

What is your favourite quote ?
Rise above the storm, and you will find the sunshine.


  1. oh! she kinda looks like Audrey Hepburn in that photo of hers!

  2. Good morning Elise,
    So happy you stopped by. Hope you enjoyed your visit. I find your field of work very intresting. I have a niece that loves ballet and now I can impress her by learning a bit about it through your blog. Thanks again for dropping by and I hope you have a wonderful day.


  3. just found your blog since you commented on mine - and i love it! :) hope you've had a good weekend & you've definitely found a new follower in me!

  4. Hi there! :D

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  5. Hello Elise,
    thank you so much for your comment on my blog - I feel really flattered!
    Your blog is quite different from what I've seen in blogland so far. Thank you for giving me an insight to a field I haven't had access to until now.
    Have a pleasant week,

  6. Very cool! I've never had the pleasure of meeting a ballet dancer. Thanks for this! Wonderful site here.

  7. lovely blog... i used to dance as a little girl... wish i were still dancing... at 46 my creaky body could use the flexibility... have a wonderful week... i will visit again often... x pam

  8. Elise,

    You NEED that little framed photo more than I do.
    I think it's calling your name.
    Send me your address and I'll send you a treasure.
    Fritzi Marie

  9. Hi Elise,
    Thanks so much for visiting my fledgling blog and leaving those kind words. I am still at the stage where I let out a squeal of delight whenever there's a new comment or follower,lol
    You have a fascinating blog, one which I'm sure I will keep in mind.

  10. Great interview and I Love the fave quote! true!

    One Love,

  11. I love ballet! Your blog makes me regret that I stopped doing ballet :(

  12. definitely an interesting interview, love the last quote and the bit with Audrey Hepburn! Elsa is simply gorgeous as well!! and the black and white photo of her is beautiful :)

    Thank You for your comment , made me smile :D <3

  13. Fabulous!As a child I wanted to be a ballet dancer (short lived dream!!) so I love reading about those who have fulfilled their dream!

  14. Ms. Godard is very beautiful. She must look utterly lovely dancing on stage. Thank you, Elise for visiting my blog and commenting!

  15. Hi Elise
    Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog. All these talented artist are just mesmerizing to me.. but I have to admit .. I have never been to a ballet..shhh! don't tell anyone. haha..Feels embarassing to make that statement here. I noticed the Russian ballet [i think] was at the State Theatre here in Sydney. I will have to keep my eye out and take the plunge one day soon. Take care. Julie

  16. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. You hav a beautiful blog. Have a nice day

  17. Many thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment....Betty

  18. I always think dancers are so disciplined. But I also think when you love something, you shine more so, doing such and nothing is a chore.It becomes as natural as breathing; I am thinking.

  19. what a delightful blog and so totally interesting and inspiring. Makes me want to dance....

  20. what a lovely blog! and what a beautiful interview!
    i wish i could have the grace of a ballerina! :)

    thanks so much for stopping by & commenting on my little blog! :)

  21. Hi, Elise..

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving your sweet comment. :o) I'm glad you did.. I know nothing about ballet, but have always been shyly curious, if that makes any sense! lol ;o) As a young girl, I always towered over all my friends, until we all hit 13, and I stopped growing and they all carried on and overtook me. Sadly, my mother always said it would be a waste of time my taking up ballet, as she predicted I would be too tall to be a ballerina.

    Oh well. Now I can dream through your blog!

    Bye for now.

    Chris xx

  22. she is a ringer for the great audrey is she not ... thanks for coing by whoop whoop ... we have no ballet school for miles and miles ... I had my boys in dance when we lived in the city - my youngest in particular loved it ... maybe I need to start a saturday class in the hall for all the wee ones up here ... best le

  23. I enjoyed reading this interview! I've never done ballet, and reading this interview makes me WANT to do ballet.. if only my bones and muscles are still that flexible ;)

    Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on


  24. You have a beautiful, amazing blog. I, too, would pick Depp and Hitchcock for a dinner party. xx

  25. Elise, what a beautiful blog you have. I am so happy that I came across it. You are truly a gifted journalist. I am in school myself I am not too young any more however, started a little later in life. I think you are so wonderfully talented. Keep it up girl. :0) I love your photos also they are incredible to go along with your story. If you have a second drop on over and visit me sometime.


    PS. I am a follower, I love it.

  26. Thankyou for your visit, I have found your blog an interesting diversion from what I usually of the good things about blogland!

    I admire ballerina's and ice skaters...they have such control and elegance and dedication to what they do. I on the other hand have 2 left feet!

  27. I have read through several posts and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I took twelve years of dance and I taught for 6 years (beginners... when my health was better). It is a beautiful art!

  28. She's very pretty...Lovely interview. I enjoyed it.


  29. Hello, I'm still making my Pink Saturday visits. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a sweet comment. Love your post on ballet, cute blog!
    Blessings to ya! Shirl
    Shirls Rose Cottage

  30. Dearest Elsie,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and peek at my blog. I am so taken with yours. I am so anxious to read about these talented dancers, I feel like I've stepped on a new stepping stone in life coming to your blog and it is beautiful. I will return. Smiles from Washington...just for you!

  31. So graceful, ballet makes me happy. i think i want to direct a short ballet film for "Carol of the Bells". eventually. ;)

    xoxo Mo

  32. Thanks for your sweet words on my blog :)
    You have a super awesome site here, I've always loved dance (never been coordinated enough to do it though ^-^)

  33. Hello Elise! Another fascinating interview! Elsa is so lovely. My goodness, she has to do so much to prepare her pointe shoes! Her Nutcracker story was really funny! ... thank you for visiting my blog and for your sweet words! Hugs, Paulette ;)

  34. what a lovely glad you stopped by my blog, so I could come find you as well. i like the peek into your dancer's lives. have a wonderful day.

  35. Sassy Scribbles - you are right, she does !

    Ana - thank you for your comment

    laura marie - thank you and welcome - lovely to meet you !

    The Stiletto Effect - thank you

    belles choses - thank you and welcome

    MME - thank you for your comment and welcome; glad you enjoyed your visit

    red ticking - thank you - I know a lot of people here feel the same way !

    parker - you are very kind but we are in different countries and I couldn't expect you to pay the postage overseas !

    chair up - and why not ? Thank you and welcome

    Jowy - thank you

    betty - well, you are not alone here !

    pigtails and blushing cheeks - thank you !

    Catherine - thank you

    cottagesweet - I'm sure Elsa will appreciate your lovely compliment, thank you

    Julie - Well, I think it's time we changed that don't you ? There is NOTHING like a live performance and you have a great national ballet company there. Please keep us posted !

    Riet - thank you

    Betty - thank you

    SarahA - I agree with you !

    Amy C - thank you; you are too kind !

    myan - thank you - you are in good company here !

    Christine - welcome ! I know many people who have a story similar to your's. Hope you continue to enjoy and do let me know if there is anything in particular you want to read about

    le @ whoopwhoop - that's a shame but yes, why not start one up ? Keep us posted !!

    Farrah - Never too late to enjoy the benefits of ballet, even adult classes have something to offer...

    fashionable palette - thank you very much

    Heidi - thank you so much, you are too kind, much appreciated. great to see you here more often, welcome !

    Lisa Scarsfield - you might be interested in Les Patineurs, a ballet choreographed along the lines of ice skating moves.... it's on at the Royal Opera House this Christmas if you are in town

    jennifer - welcome & thank you

    raven - thankyou !

    Shirl - thank you

    Jacqueline - thank you for such kind words, I like the idea of new stepping stones ! Welcome and I hope you continue to enjoy

    Mo - Well, keep us posted, we'll surely follow your progress on that one....

    Desiree Cassidy - thank you

    beedeebabee - yes, those pointe shoes take a lot of work which is why I asked the question.

    stitiching under oaks - thank you and welcome !

  36. Darling, I came by to thank you for visiting me often… you are a good friend. Today was a gorgeous day and I hope that it will stay sunny the entire weekend. I wish you a lovely and sunny weekend.

    Love & Hugs


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