Saturday, 12 September 2009

Nicola Henshall : "From Student to Star"

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

Nicola Henshall, Artist, English National Ballet

Henshall is a Graduate of The Royal Ballet School.

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

I’m looking forward to starting a ‘new life’, having been at the Royal Ballet School for 5 years, I now feel ready for a change and a new start.... I can’t wait to start performing on a regular basis, as a student you don’t often have this opportunity. For me being on the stage makes everything worthwhile!

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

Hopefully the feeling of dancing professionally. It’s what you work for all your student life, performing and getting to dance in the ballets you have only watched and occasionally learnt solos or some of the rep from, which sadly is for the school studios only! Also, working for yourself, having the self discipline to constantly push more and often doing class without personal corrections and guidance.

What are your best achievements as a student ?

Whilst I was at school I received ‘ The April Olrich award: Most dynamic dancer’ ‘The Pamela Self award’ and ‘The Ashton award’

The end of year performances at The Royal Opera House also gave me a fantastic opportunity to dance on such a great stage. For one day you feel like a proper ballerina!

In my 2nd year I got to work with Wayne McGregor; for me it was one of the highlights of my student days. He made you work in a different way, you engaged mentally and physically and I learnt so much during those few months, getting to dance his piece at the Opera House was a fantastic feeling, we also took it to Salt Lake City on our graduate tour.

Having the chance to dance with The Royal Ballet Company was another highlight, it also taught me a lot and prepared me more for company life.

Which professional dancer/s do you most admire and why ?

My favourite dancer to watch has to be Marianela Nuñez. She makes it look so effortless, she has a natural quality. However you can tell she is such a determined hardworking dancer, it is very inspiring to watch people like her.

What do you think you will bring to the Company ?

This is a tricky one, most dancers aren’t too good at expressing their positive attributes! I would like to say I am reliable and very hardworking so hopefully fresh from being a student, my eagerness to learn and prove myself will be seen. I would like to build a positive reputation for myself as a dancer and as a person. Hopefully I’m a likeable person!

How do you imagine your first day going ?

I actually started on 29th July, so, it’s still early days, but my first day, was pretty much how I imagined it, however more relaxed.... People were very friendly and there was a family orientated atmosphere which I liked. Obviously I was nervous for class, and it was strange not being surrounded by my usual classmates. However, I didn’t feel pressured which is important and it was very enjoyable. A positive experience all round!

Which role would you most like to dance ?

I would love to dance ‘Lise’ from La Fille mal Gardee. I love the ballet and have always thought I would suit a role most like her character. However I would also love to dance more modern roles or have the chance to work with someone like Wayne McGregor once again.

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

I injured myself 4 weeks into my graduate year and was off for the whole 1st term. Therefore talking from experience, if things don’t seem to be going how you would like them too, keep your spirits up. It makes things much harder if you allow yourself into ‘the black hole’ - something a teacher used to say to me at school, which I think is so true. Keep yourself focused and motivated on what you have to do... but most of all make the most of your final year so that you have many happy memories for the future. I certainly have!

Where would you like to be this time next year ?

I hope to be very happy within ENB Company, dancing and performing like I have always wanted to since being a young girl. I hope to have made a good impression on all dancers and staff and to have lots of friends within the company.

I still can’t believe this is my job!


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving me such kind words :)

  2. :) Great post. The pictures are awesome and the sketch, too.

  3. The sketch is lovely as well as Nicola, the best of luck to you both. Sandi

  4. That sketch is beautiful. Makes me want to dust off my pencils....Thankyou for posting about it.

  5. She is goregeous and so is the sketch . another beautifull blog post about dancing and keep going cause you totally rock !!!

  6. Hello my Sweet,
    What a lovely drawing,but what a lovely young woman.She has a great form,don't you think.A beauty. You ask such wonderful questions. I can see you are a wonderful Journalist.You must be a very busy lady,so I am so glad you could stop by for a visit.I'm not on the puter everyday,I raise peacocks and other things keep me almost overwhelmed.That is why I can only post every two weeks.But I do check my comments. Like you,I love to hear from friends.Take care, XXOO Marie Antionette

  7. Really nice star... Good luck to her ^^

  8. Hello
    What a gorgeous sketch! And a great interview - Im not usually interested in ballet but I am enjoying your blog.
    Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog - I take it you are another cupcake fan?!
    Enjoy the sunshine this weekend
    Claire x

  9. Elise, thanks so much for stopping by and your sweet comment. I've always thought Ballerina's are such talented dancers. Have a great weekend, Theresa

  10. I really love your site, it is interesting and photos are really lovely. Thanks for comments you made for my earrings. Keep it up

  11. Lovely, provoking sketch. The artist certainly fulfilled her task. As for your interview...LOVED IT! This is a beautiful young lady who, as indicated in the photos, is also a very accomplished dancer. Good luck to you both.

  12. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment! I'm sure I'll stop back from time to time to visit you ... you see I studied ballet from the time I was 5 until just recently and still love to dance. Love the sketch!

  13. That sketch is beautiful and I enjoyed the interview very much. Your blog is just lovely.
    xo Gigi

  14. Hi, lovely to meet you. I am going to save you to my bloglist (if that's ok with you) as I have always loved ballet. I'm sure I was a ballerina in a former life! It resonates with my very soul. I'll be back later today for a real good ol' browse. Best wishes...Pam in Ireland.

  15. What a wonderful blog you have, Elise! I enjoyed visiting and reading! Thank you so very much for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments! Smiles, Jann

  16. Hi, thanks for visiting me and leaving such lovely comments.

  17. Ballerinas are so beautiful! The sketch is truly a work of art. Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog.

  18. Hi Elise,
    Thank you very much for your sweet comment you left on my blog! I am so glad you did because I never would've found your lovely blog here. Ballet is such a lovely art and how cool to be journalist who reviews Ballet! I remember seeing the American Ballet Theatre perform at the JFK Theater in Washington DC. They did "Romeo and Juliet". It was choreographed by Mikhail Baryshnikov! It was beautiful! What a treat. I still remember the beauty of that performance in my mind's eye.

    ~TattingChic ♥

  19. Hi Elise: What a lovely blog! So inspiring ... my sister is a dancer ... I'm gonna send her a link to your blog; she'll love it!

    And thanks so much for visiting my blog ... I really appreciate your kind words!

    ~Hugs, Deb

  20. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog! It was really interesting reading the interview above - quite fascinating stuff!

    Pomona x

  21. Dear Elise,
    thank you very much for your kind visit and comment! Ballet always was a kind of ´fairy´ world to me; the lightness of being is so beautifully expressed in this art, but certainly behind all this lightness there´s a lot of hard work of course.
    All best greetings from Belgium,

  22. I'm glad you dropped by and enjoyed your visit, and now I'm going to take a wander through the world of ballet:)

  23. This is a beautiful sketch, my wee girl would love it she spends all day in a leotard and tutu(if she could get away with it she would wear it to school lol)!
    Just popped on to say thank you so much for leaving such a lovely comment on my blog!

  24. ohh she's very talented. Her art is just beautiful!
    Hope you have a great weekend Sweetie!

  25. What a lovely Dancer...and a lovely post, too Elise...the drawing is as delicate as a web. Thank you for coming by to see me today and leaving such lovely remarks. You are always welcome!

  26. Ballet is sooo beautiful to me! Keep up your dream!

  27. Elise,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave such a nice comment. Your work is fascinating and rich. I will be visiting your blog again soon!

  28. Hello! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving your kind comments! I really do appreciate it. I love the drawing, as I enjoy drawing myself. I was taken to ballet classes as a small child, but I think they told my mother not to bother, as I just wanted to dance around the edges of the room by myself, making my own dance up! Oh well! Very interesting blog you have here, and what a fascinating job must must have too! Suzie. xxx

  29. Hi Elise,
    What a special girl you are.
    You are very lucky to have arrived in this special place.
    I have never been to the ballet, but would really love oneday to go oneday. I have always held ballet in a special place in my heart. Both my daughters went to ballet classes. Both were told they had a gift. Sadly neither wanted to continue.
    I am pleaed that you did and folllowed that dream.
    You are a beautiful girl. Oneday I hope that I can say I saw you. And that you had visited me!
    Good luck with all you want in life.
    Much love,
    Carol x

  30. What a fabulous blog you have. I'm so happy you stumbled across my blog. I'll for sure follow yours. I'm excited to see where your new life will lead you in your dancing career. Wishing you much success and looking forward to reading about your dance preformances ahead. Much luck!

  31. Elise,

    Thank-you for your nice comment! The photos you have here are so beautiful. . . thanks for visiting!

  32. Beautiful posts! I have always admired ballerinas! I grew up dancing but danced only modern and jazz. I hope that I will still be able to dance even though I recently broke my foot.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier this week!

  33. Thanks so much for visiting my blog Elise ♥!!
    When I logged on to yours I was stunned - I love the ballet!! I live in Northern California and always attend the S.F. Ballet each and every year and support local ballet performance closer to home. How wonderful to be able to write about and review performances in the U.K.!!

  34. Hello Elise! Thanks for stopping by my blog and your friendly comment.
    I doubt you knew this, but my name is Elise too! Same spelling!
    Don't you hate it when people call you Elsie?

  35. Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm so glad you enjoyed my blog. I've been hoping for a lot of people to notice it and gain an interest in my shirts. College isn't cheap... haha.
    That sketch is gorgeous! I wish I could do that.
    Stop by any time!!
    Thanks again!

  36. Thanks so much for visiting me at Altered Glass and for your wonderfully kind words. I just took a little time and went through a few pages of yours. What amazing photos you have regarding the students. I especially love, love, love the picture of Mara Galeazzi. She seems suspended in air as if time stood still. What an amazing shot with such extension... Thanks for the visit and I have joined your followers list so I can continue to read your post... thanks again.

  37. Thanks for checking out my blog. By the way, lovely blog yourself. I used to dance, and I have a new post that I think is right up your alley.

    All the best,

  38. fascinating interview and such a lovely young woman...the drawing was wonderfully done! in fact, all the photography on your blog is exquisite.


  39. I love the lines of great ballet dancers, and the sheer strength of their bodies. That's just the superficial, but their dance ability too is just impressive.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  40. I want to thank you so much for you very lovely footprint you left on my nice from you.......
    Oh I love ballet so much.....That is a real art with all your body and soul.......
    And the drawing is such a beauty..........
    Wishing you all the best and a fine sunday.

  41. Thank you so much for stopping by & leaving lovely comms. you have amazing piccys blog & info,I have great admiration for dancers who have great commitment to their chosen art...fab blog yourself wishing you losts of luck for the future..

    hugs Christine xxxx

  42. What a wonderful discovery your blog is! So full of vibrant and beautiful people and ideas. The sketch is so sweet.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog, I'll be by to visit regularly now that we've discovered each other!

  43. Well hello,
    Thank you for visiting, which has brought me to your wonderful place on the web. I so agree with you as to this piece of art. It is wonderful and makes me consider the long journey of a dancer! Dancing holds a sweet and lovely place in my heart.
    Your interview with the dancer is wonderful. I wish her a life of dance that thrills her heart.

  44. wow! thank you for finding me! i love that sketch! :) have a lovely day!

  45. Hi Elise

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment :)
    I actually don't know much about Ballet at all but I'll keep reading and see if I can learn something out of here :)

  46. How wonderful you are!!^^D I really love those ballets dresses , best wishes for you.

  47. she is so lovely,
    I adore your blog.

  48. Thank you so much for stopping by PB.
    I'm delighted to have found you. My first paper dolls were of the Royal Ballet and I was completely besotted if one can be at age 6 or so.
    What a delght your site is!

  49. Hi Elsie, I love the top sketch, many thanks for sharing and hope you are not working too hard! Sharon xxoo

  50. Elise, your blog is for real. I found it to be very interesting. It's so different from the blogs that I am use to. I follow allot of moms with family things going on. You stopped by my blog Just Breathe and I appreciate you kind words. I also have a blog For Your Tears were I send out handkerchiefs to grieving mothers. I am going to follow you and actually learn about the ballet. I'm excited. Actually my sons girlfriend was becoming a ballerina and had to leave because of a knee injury years ago. I know she trained in NY. I bet she would love this blog.
    Hope your having a great weekend.

  51. Thank you so much for your nice comments, you are so sweet! I must say blogging has been such an amzing experience, people are so helpful and nice, its just amazing! Thanks again hun, Happy Blogging.

  52. hey =) thank you for dropping by at my blog =) you have a great blog here =)

  53. Thanks for reading la vie...j'aime and your nice comment!

    Lovely blog- I used to dance when I was younger...for 8 years, stopped as a jr in high school. Would love to take adult classes again!

    Lovely sketch as well- talented artist!

  54. Elise,
    Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.



  55. You are right. You have a wonderful job.

  56. Thanks for visiting my blog Elise :) What a beautiful sketch... I'll be sure to pop by your site more often as I love ballet myself. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

  57. Elise, thank you for the sweet comment on my made my day.

  58. Thank you for your comment on my blog, I will follow your blog - it is allways interesting to learn more about things I don't know too much about, such as ballet.

    Have a nice week!

    Hug from Lenemora

  59. hello! thank you for your very nice comment. i absolutely love and enjoy your blog too! have a wonderful day!

    God Bless,

  60. I love your blog! ♥ it's so feminine and pretty.
    Thanks for the really sweet comment about my blog, it really made my day ! (:

  61. wow yor blog is so nice, it is a new discovery for me, thank you for your super nice and lovely comment. from now on, i am your follower! :)

    xoxo, Nath

  62. Elise - Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I appreciate it. The ballet art here is beautiful! I'm looking forward to reading through your posts and enjoying the photography. -- Michele

  63. Thank you so much for you lovely comment! I tend to feel as if I am blogging about the mundane and might be boring whatever small audience I am lucky enough to have! It's nice to know that my little blog can make someone smile : )

    I must say that the opening sketch in this post is so beautiful. I only studied ballet in high school because it was required along with my other dance classes and I have had such an appreciation for ballet since because it takes unbelievable dedication to obtain the appearance of effortless beauty ballet evokes. You have a wonderful blog here and I look foward to reading more!

  64. Thank you for stopping by GirlWhimsy and for leaving such lovely comments and compliments! They are most appreciated! Stop back again, soon. Have a whimsical week!

  65. Hi Elise!
    Sorry it's taken me so long to make it over to your blog ... you left such wonderfully kind comments on mine and just wanted you to know how much it meant to me! Very encouraging. ;0)

    You have a lovely blog as well... I tried to make my daughter into a ballerina, but she gravitated toward soccer instead! ;0)

  66. Elsie, thank you for visiting my blog and for your sweet comments. Your blog is gorgeous. I look forward to looking around. Pam

  67. Hi Elise!
    Sorry it's taken me so long to visit your lovely blog ... Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words about mine ... I really appreciate it!

    I tried to turn my daughter into a ballerina, but she chose soccer instead! ;0)

  68. Hi! Thank you for the super sweet comment you left!! The drawing and photos are really beautiful! =) Best wishes to you too!

  69. Thank you!!!! I have never been to a ballet class in my life, but I love it. One of my favorite painters is Degas. I have the pink and green dancers in my bedroom. Plus, the dancer statue. Not to mention, the Nutcracker is my favorite Christmas story. Thank you for reading my blog!!!

  70. she's so beautiful! <3
    such a great post! :) i really like the sketch!!!

    thanks so much for stopping by my blog :) really made my day <3
    was very nice of you to say hi :)

  71. Hi Elise... What a lovely blog you have here !
    I've enjoyed reading your interview and i LOVE the sketch :)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment !
    I will drop by again soon.
    Have a lovely day !

  72. Wow! What a gorgeous blog! So glad I found it :) Ballet is stunning. xo

  73. I love the drawing. It's so gorgeous! Also, thank you so much for the sweet comment you left. It made my day, and I'm so glad you enjoyed reading :)

    Andrea Yu

  74. hey sweetie, thanks for the lovely comment!

    i'm sure u'll do great in the future making friends and meeting a lot of new people within and out of the company!

  75. Hi Elise and thank you for stopping by our blog and for your very nice comment. Look forward to following your blog. Take care!

  76. E - you are welcome

    Closed Eyes - thank you, much appreciated

    CelticWoman - thank you !

    Lyn - I know what you mean - not that I can draw ! Welcome and thank you

    phonelady - well, thank you so much for the compliment, I certainly will !

    Marie Antoinette - welcome and thank you for your lovely comment & compliments about my writing - you sound very busy too !

    Galaxy6139 - welcome and thank you for your comment

    Raspberry Cupcake - fab name ! Indeed I am a fan ! Delighted to have captured your interest - that is the best compliment you can give ! Welcome & thank you

    Garden Antqs Vintage - thank you and welcome

    gauci123 - thank you so much - welcome !

    C Hummel Kornell - I agree, the sketch has such depth. So pleased you enjoyed the interview; they are a pleasure to do !

    Lynda Naranjo - So were you dancing profesionally then ? I'm wondering whatever made you stop.... Welcome and thank you for your comment

    Gigi - thank you so much for the lovely compliments & welcome

    whitemorn - Fine by me ! Thank you & welcome ! I have done the same.

    Jann - thank you so much for complimenting my work & welcome

    Lisa - thank you and welcome

    Kyn Drum - thank you for your lovely comment & welcome

    TattingChic - I hope you get to see much more of ABT - they are a fantastic company. Welcome & thank you for your lovely compliments

    Deb Neerman - Thank you ! Such a great compliment to be able to inspire someone - and the point of the whole site really ! Hope your sister enjoys it as much ! Welcome

    Pomona - thank you so much for your comment and welcome !

    Something White - dancing certainly is a lot of hard work - something I'm endeavouring to bring to you here - the behind-the-scenes angles & to show that dancers are human ! welcome & thank you !

    HookandScumble - brilliant name ! Welcome and thank you

    Jane - thank you and welcome. Hope your little girl carries on twirling !

    Deva84 - thank you and welcome !

  77. Sandi McBride - thank you and welcome. I agree, Nicola is very talented and I shall be keeping you up to date with her progress over time

    Kelsey - thank you and welcome

    Halliehoop - thank you for the lovely compliment and welcome !

    Itch2stitch - love your story ! Welcome and thanks

    Carol - I hope Nicola picks up your lovely compliments. Shame your daughters didn't want to pursue dance if they were gifted, but then it is a lot of hard work and if you're not really into it.... I too hope that you get to see Nicola dance - there is absolutely nothing like a live performance so I would urge you to see whatever you can. Welcome !

    midnight macaroons - brilliant name ! I hope Nicola picks up your compliments and thank you - welcome !

    Kayleen - thank you and welcome

    Kelli - hope your foot is on the mend.. best wishes & thank you - welcome !

    Sabina - well, that's some compliment - thank you ! I love to stun an audience whenever possible ! Great that you are supporting local ballet companies and the SF ballet company - who are great. Welcome !

    Comedy Goddess - I didn't. Yep, any kind of carelessless with people's names really gets my goat. Welcome !

    tay - fingers crossed for you - thank you and welcome

    SY:-D - thankyou - loved your post ! Welcome

    linda - thank you so much for the lovely compliments. Welcome

    Anika - you are right there. Welcome and thank you

    Bonjade - thank you and welcome !

    Christine - thankyou so much for a lovely comment and welcome !

    Yaya - thank you !

    the paris apartment - thank you ! Such a lovely compliment. Welcome

    S - thankyou too and welcome

    Tammie Lee - thank you for your lovely comments - I'm sure Nicola will be delighted with the compliments. Welcome !

    Chelsea - thank you and welcome !

    Shanghainese Dumpling - I hope you do - delighted that you are going to read more & I hope you will soon be hooked ! Welcome

    Tiana Couture's Addict - thankyou and welcome

    daisychain - thank you so much and welcome

    Parisbreakfast - Merci ! Such lovely compliments. Welcome

    My Passport to Style - thank you so much. It's been a busy old time that's for sure but that's the best way...

    Just Breathe - hope your son's girlfriend enjoys the site too - thank you for your lovely comments and welcome !

    Niki - thank you and welcome

    Eli - thankyou and welcome

    Jaime - why don't you ? Thank you for your comment and welcome

    Cathy - thank you

    Melissa - Thank you for your comment & I hope you continue to enjoy

    My Favourite Things - thank you and you are very welcome !

  78. Angela Henrie - I'm so pleased, thank you ! Welcome

    Lenemora - welcome and I hope you continue to enjoy ballet - you'll soom be hooked I'm sure !

    charmaine - thank you so much and welcome

    asunlitday - thank you - such lovely compliments. Welcome !

    Nath - Welcome ! And thank you

    calicodaisy - welcome and thank you

    Kait - welcome and I hope you wil be inspired again about ballet

    Debbie - thank you, and welcome

    Melinda - you are welcome

    Chaos Cottage - thankyou so much, lovely compliment ! Welcome !

    paperdollrevenge - thank you

    thesydneygirl - it certanly is. Thank you

    Southern Belle - welcome and thank you !

    kAy - thank you and welcome

    cerelina Jewelry - thankyou, and welcome !

    Little Miss Baker - thank you - and welcome

    VanityMakeup - thank you so much, and welcome

    Andrea Yu - thank you

    MEii - I'm sure Nicola will pick up your lovely compliments - thank you and welcome !

    petit - thank you - and welcome !


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