Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Cupcakes & Conversation with Alice Topp

Following the news that The Australian Ballet has received the largest donation in its history, here is an interview with one of their Corp dancers.

Cupcakes and conversation with Alice Topp, Corp de Ballet, The Australian Ballet

Photograph :  James Braund

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
I would say the people I work with and our shared passion to be the best we can be, as individuals and as a collective. I love getting to work and seeing my friends, plus Monday morning means catching up on weekend gossip!!!

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010?
Every production brings its own challenges and excitement but I’m particularly looking forward to performing in Japan with Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake and Nutcracker.

Who would you most like to dance with and what would you dance?
There is no one particular dance partner that I desire to dance with but if Steven Heathcote was still dancing, it would have been him, in any production!!

 Photograph :  Tim Richardson

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
I'd have to say right here. Our audiences are responsive, our theatres are lovely and I love living in my own country. It's a great lifestyle that we have here. We are also very lucky with our fantastic facilities and repertoire and the company is full of such beautiful creative and talented people.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
I usually bend them a little and just stick them on!!! I tend to go through shoes pretty quickly so there's not much I do to prepare them. I spend more time trying to make them last!!

What is your daily routine at the moment?
Well we are currently in a rehearsal period, preparing for The Silver Rose. I've been waking up with my kitten alarm clock (I just adopted a little 4 month old kitten that thinks breakfast time is 6am!) and then get up at around 8am. I do yoga every morning an hour before class with fellow dancer Gina Brescianini which helps me feel warm and balanced, ready to take on class at 10.30am. Ordinarily rehearsals take us through the day til 6.30pm. After work I usually catch up with friends over dinner, films or shows or spend the night in with my flatmate and cat.

Photograph :  Tim Richardson

You can ask six famous people to dinner- who would you invite?
I would invite the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank (if she were still present), Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston....I mean, what is going on!!!

What would surprise people about you?
I love cricket and footy, beer and I have 2 tattoos.

Photograph :  Tim Richardson

Who inspired you to dance?
A combination of my mum, who introduced me to dance, my first ballet teacher, who really invoked a fire in my belly and a determination in me, and the stars of The Australian Ballet when I was growing up, for their memorable performances and moments where as a child I lost myself in time.

What is your best piece of advice?
It's not what happens to you, it's how you react to what happens to you.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I usually have a nice warm shower then put my iPod in and listen to some music whilst putting on my makeup and doing my hair. I will then do company warm-up barre, get into costume and perhaps do some yoga breathing exercises before starting the show.

Which role has tested you the most and how?
I would say the most challenging piece of choreography I have been involved in was Wayne McGregor's Dyad 1929. I found it exhilarating and physically demanding at the same time. The movement felt foreign on my body at first until I found a place within myself and the work in which to expand and grow. It's proven to be my favourite piece to perform to date.

Australian Ballet's Bodytorque "Chemical Trigger"
Photograph :  C Branco Gaica

If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create?
Something comfortable that would move with the body and compliment the figure. Perhaps a nice boy leg leotard that showed the beautiful muscular physiques of the dancers with a chiffon overlay for the women to create a softness and femininity.

What do you look for in a dance partner?
Someone with good communications skills. A person willing to listen and compromise. A dancer with commitment to the work and to the dance partner and also a good sense of humour!!!!

What is your favourite quote?
Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of Earth.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to my hand, even when I have gone away from you.

A phrase I use far to often is....?
'Awesome!!!' Or 'Excellent.' Or 'Heck Yes!!!'

What's been your best on-stage moment so far?
I can't really narrow it down to one!! There's been a few very memorable moments. I particularly loved our tour to Paris in 2008 where we performed Swan Lake and received a standing ovation. Dyad 1929 and Divergence both brought some extremely exciting stage moments for me, plus every time a colleague steps onto the stage for the last time..... that always brings extra magic and a few tears!!

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
Still loving dancing as much as I do now and making the most of every moment that I have in this career that I feel very fortunate to have. Wherever that takes me, in whatever capacity I contribute in.


  1. What a great interview! I want to know what's up with the whole Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie thing too :) I also love that she has a kitty alarm (I have a two year old toddler alarm that likes to wake me up at 5:30 am!) and that she does yoga every morning. I adore doing yoga. I might not have an ounce of dancing talent, but it's good to see I have something in common with a beautiful ballerina !

  2. such stunning photos :) i love her favorite quote.

  3. Hi sunny one! Love to come and warm my toes here. You know just the right amount of lamb's wool for those pretty pink slippers. Hope you are well. Blessings dear.

  4. She is awesome and loved this interview. Her head is totally screwed on straight - love her quotes and her comments about life.

  5. i always look forward to reading these interviews!! alice is absolutely beautiful, and my goodness.....the photographs are stunning!! of course, i must admit, that you had my attention from the very beginning with that cupcake..... :))))

  6. What a radiant dancer!

    Aloha, Friend

    Comfort Spiral

  7. Hi Alice. Great to see and hear that you're still doing so well and loving it too.

  8. Lovely interview with a beautiful dancer. I am in awe when I see the beautiful form that a dancer such as this can create. I loved the interview and learning that such a feminine dancer loves cricket and footy, beer and has 2 tattoos!


  9. Always enjoy my visits here. Great interview.


  10. I loved reading this, and I envy/respect such dedication to this gorgeous art. (and would love to be this physically in shape!) All of the photos here are beautiful, but I especially love the 1st one shown by Tim Richardson!


  11. AlyGatr - thank you ! I know what you mean re Brangelina;

    Audrey Allure - me too ! I'd not heard that one before and it's always good to learn something new.

    Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space - lovely to think of you leaving here with toasty toes ! Thank you

    pve design - "awesome" is such a great work isn't it ? very Antipodean though and entirely appropriate !

    lori vliegen - it's so kind of you to say so, thank you. And yes, that cupcake quite caught my eye too, which is why I use it...

    Cloudia - I think you are right, radiant is a good word for Alice, thank you !

    KarenHarveyCox - it's a great contrast isn't it ?

    French-Kissed - how lovely, thank you for saying so !

    Inspiration in Italy - I know, but to stay in that kind of shape takes a great deal of dedication....!

  12. she looks like a very cool stylish dancer!

  13. What a wonderful interview. The one question that I always would like to ask any dancer that does point is how do they cope with the stress that their feet go through. I know that some suffer more than others.
    The one thing that I also wonder is after all of this time and new materials being produced daily is there any advances on the traditional point to make them more comfortable? It is just a thought - but knowing how hard they are, I am filled with awe and admiration when every movement appears to be done so effortlessly.

  14. I am not sure how many so-called sexy figures I have seen before...but hers is just beyond sexy n' perfection!! She is just so gorgeous in every movement (from the pic.).

  15. Elise darling thanks so much for your sweet and caring comments. I treasure our friendship and wanted to wish you a lovely weekend and a love filled Valentine’s Day.

    Love & Hugs

  16. Hi Elise!
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice message. I enjoyed reading this wonderful interview with Alice Topp accompanied by such beautiful photography! She is truly poetry in motion!

    Love her favorite quote..I'm saving that in my journal!

    Kind regards, Pat

  17. Great interview! The photos are stunning!

  18. Hello Everyone!! Alice Topp here!! It's been lovely to read all your great feedback! I would just like to answer the question in regards to pointe shoes and how us ladies cope with our feet. I find that we all have different ways of managing the daily stresses on our feet but in general, all of us find that sticking them in ice buckets after a show for about 15 minutes reduces a lot of the swelling and inflammation that comes from being on pointe all day. Regular physio treatment aids us in injury prevention and management throughout a season and most of us have some sort of protection for our toes in the shoe, like bandaids, gel toes, strapping tape, wool or chux cloth.
    I find the pressure on the feet always varies depending on the intensity of the workload so it's not like we always are suffering from blisters.

    Pointe shoes have come a long way since they were first made and the makers have the ability to custom make them now, so that they can be made to suit our individual needs. Some people have 3/4 soles, some have the heal tapered up to contour the ankle so these are some things which help make the shoes more comfortable.

  19. noomiedoodlesfashion - that's true ! And great fun too.

    Kloggers/Polly - hope you enjoy Alice's answer !

    litlstrawberry - I'm sure Alice will appreciate your compliments - thank you

    Duchess of Tea - thank you

    Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti - thank you ! So glad you enjoyed it.

    Miss Val's Creations - thank you !

    Alice - many thanks as ever. What a star !!!

  20. I love Alice! I'm curious to were her tats are and what they are.

    She is one of my favourites in the company :)


If you've got this far and would like to leave a comment, well, YES YOU CAN.

I'd be delighted to hear from you & will respond when I can (I'm not glued to my computer so please be patient).

Please don't post spam, and constructive critique is the way to go if you want to post a comment which is anything less than nice ! Thanks.