Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Cupcakes & Conversation with Robert Curran, Principal, The Australian Ballet

Cupcakes & Conversation with Robert Curran, Principal, The Australian Ballet

Robert Curran in Don Quixote
Photograph :  Justin Smith

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
I’m usually up at 7am and what motivates me the most at that time is the peace and quiet. I relish the opportunity to see the start of the day over a cup of coffee in my office at home, preparing for the day and knocking a few items off my ‘to-do’ list.

Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
I would most like to dance with the company that I have created and that I, with a team of friends, am responsible for producing. I have collaborated with a great team of people and the debut performance of JACK Productions* will be later this year with a work titled Human Abstract.

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
I’d really like to dance on the Covent Garden stage. The building has a history that you can feel as you walk in the door. So many amazing artists have opened their hearts to an audience in that building. It feels a bit like church, in a good way…

What is your daily routine at the moment & how do you fit in your study?
7am – Bed to coffee machine
7.05am – Coffee machine to office (Study & JACK)
9.30am – Leave for work
10.00am – warm-up for Class
11.00am – Class
12.30pm – Rehearsals
3.00pm – Retire to dressing room (Study, JACK & maybe lunch)
5.30pm – Prepare for the Performance
6.30pm – Evening Barre
7.30pm – Performance Starts
10.00pm – Performance Ends
10.30pm – Arrive Home (Glass of Wine & prepare for next day)
12am - Bed

How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
15 years with The Australian Ballet has seen me develop quite a strict routine for preparing for the show, along with my tendency towards routine (as a typical Taurus) and my slight OCD.

I always like to get physiotherapy or myotherapy (massage) before the show to iron out anything that I feel might distract me during the show. As far as my outer appearance, I can’t perform without showering before I do anything, I feel like it gives me a clean slate to start building whatever character or mood I need for the night. After showering I do hair and make-up (always the right side of my face before the left…weird), sometimes this takes 5 minutes sometimes it takes 30 minutes, but after 15 years, it is time that I use to think about what I need to achieve in the show. After the quiet time of ‘putting on my face’ the time before the show really disappears very quickly, with evening barre ending right as the half-hour call announcement comes from stage management, dressers arriving in your dressing room, last minute notes from ballet staff, check your props, head on to the stage via the resin box, standing by, curtain….

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010?
Highlights this year will be Cinderella Pas de Deux with Lucinda Dunn and dancing in Tim Harbour’s new ballet with Rachel Rawlins.

You can ask six famous people to dinner. Who would you invite?
Cate Blanchet
Jiri Kylian
Meryl Streep
Crystal Pite
James Newton Howard
David Thompson (to cook !!)

Robert Curran and Lynette Willis
Photograph :  Jim McFarlane

What would surprise people about you?
I get nervous, very nervous, often.

Who inspired you to dance?
My family, everyone that I dance with and every dancer I watch.

How would someone else describe you?
Can you ask someone else?

What is your best piece of advice?
Do it now, don’t wait until later.

Which role has tested you the most & how?
Without a doubt it would be Basilio in Don Quixote. The physical and psychological demands were almost more than I was able to handle. Only recently have I contemplated the idea of doing the role again, only contemplated though… nothing more…

Robert Curran in Beyond Bach

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?
Falling flat on my face, downstage centre, carrying (dropping!) armfuls of props, on my first show of Camille de Rossillon in The Merry Widow, on the Sydney Opera House stage. As shocked and embarrassed as I was at the time, even I could see how funny that was!!

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?
I need something that will give me an edge over all the young talented men rising through the ranks of the Australian Ballet… Something like the ‘fastskin’ suit the swimmers use… I need it soon!!!

A phrase I use far too often is...
Yes, I can do that, no problems…

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Jake Gyllenhal (love his work).

What is your favourite quote?
At the moment it is:
Everything you can imagine is real. Pablo Picasso.

What’s on your iPod?
Over 5000 songs.

What makes you a good dance partner?
I think the most important thing you need as a dance partner is a willingness, and a capacity, to learn your partner’s choreography first, then yours second.

Do you have a secret skill that no one knows about?
Of course.

Describe yourself in just three words.
Happy. Busy. Ready.

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?
On stage with The Australian Ballet.

*About Jack Productions:
JACK is a project-based dance initiative created to inspire both expert and unseasoned audiences of classical and contemporary dance. JACK was founded by Lucas Jervies, Robert Curran, Andrew Killian and Laura Tong out of a desire to produce dance in Australia that was genuinely innovative whilst exploring the ample possibilities of the cherished classical ballet technique.


  1. so interesting, I always love reading who they would invite to dinner!

  2. Wow. What a grueling schedule he has. And I complain about mine! :)

  3. Oh Elise - What a surprise! You have changed your sign in and I didn't, at first, recognise that the comment on the lilac was from you.

    As always you have presented a very interesting and thorough interview. It is lovely to hear the Australian perspective.

    Very best wishes to you, Polly

  4. Hello my darling, hope you had a blessed and happy Easter and that your week is equally wonderful. Thanks so much for coming over my cottage carrying such kind words, you are a good friend.

    Love & Hugs

  5. he's an amazing person, you could tell from his answers that he works hard and has passion for what he does, organized and focused. 'great pictures too!

    I enjoyed this interview, thanks for sharing! :)

    hugs from manila


  6. Sorry I don't comment often, I read all your posts and love love love your blog.

  7. Wow! His dedication is so evident in his hectic schedule. I have to say it's extremely admirable. And I love the fact that his iPod is so overloaded with songs - I can never resist a person with a love of music!! :)

  8. And I thought I had a lot on my iPod, haha. Great interview!

  9. Amazing post as usual:)
    Thank you for your words, I absolutely agree on "no black" for spring time:)
    I am all about colours, but from time to time the timeless black steals my heart:)
    Take care.


  10. I find the details of his schedule particularly fascinating, especially as they relate to class and rehearsals.

  11. Andrea - thank you

    Amy C - me too !

    The girl with the flour in her hair - a ballet dancers schedule always makes you very grateful for your own !

    Kloggers/Polly - oh dear, I didn't mean to confuse you !

    Duchess of Tea - thank you

    Sassy Scribbles - thank you. Glad to hear you enjoyed it !

    daisychain - I think you've just made up for it ! Thank you so much; very kind of you to say so

    Cafe Fashionista - I agree !

    Audrey Allure - thank you

    Gia - thank you

    Anne - details are always good !


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