Cupcakes & Conversation with Bennet Gartside, First Soloist, The Royal Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
That it’s a new week and that I’m in control of my own future. The decisions that I make will determine what may happen for both me and my wife’s future family and my career. A little deep I know!
Who would you most like to dance with ?
Actually I’ve been lucky to dance with some great names over my career, Sylvie Guillem. Darcey Bussell, Alina Cojocaru, Tamara Rojo, Marianella Nunez, Sarah Wildor, but I think I might have to say my wife. She’s not a dancer – works in PR. At our wedding we did a Tango that was brilliant. I’ve never seen her so nervous in her life! I think because a lot of the guests were dancers, it really got her wound up. But I have dreams of what it could be like if…!
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
My daily routine always changes I guess. I’m a dancer, manage the ballet video archive, am doing an education course at work and continue to run a business at the same time. I’d get bored if I had a routine or didn’t have enough things to do. Maybe at retirement I could slow down, but not yet.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
I have a question each for my six people
George Bush – What the **** did you do?
Sir Fred Goodwin – What the **** have you done?
Gordon Brown – What the **** are you doing?
David Cameron – What the **** are you going to do?
Kanye West – You’re good, but what makes you think you’re “amazing” ?
Michael Jackson – Why?
Then I’d ask, “Who’s paying the bill?” Ultimately, we all know it’ll be the taxpayer!
What would surprise people about you ?
That I’m quite confrontational. Is that a good or a bad thing?
Who inspired you to dance ?
Not sure, but I know Michael Jackson inspired me to continue dancing. I knew every video inside out – that is scary! I think that helped a young northern boy in the playground who did ballet have a little credibility.
How would someone else describe you ?
I know my wife would describe me as a procrastinator! I think she’s right. But I’d like to think that people would describe me as a trustworthy friend.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Confront your problems yourself. Ask for advice from friends but you know what you need to do personally.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Wow, I don’t think I could say one role overrides the rest. There have been a few roles that have been and still are challenging. As you grow, your views change, your body changes and your interpretation of the character changes. That’s why I still love it. 15th season in the Company and to be still able to say that. That’s what excites me.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
When I was a toddler in my pushchair, my mum took me to the local carnival. We were watching the floats go by when I put my hand up an old lady’s skirt! She turned around to immediately strike someone only to see my mum oblivious to this watching the carnival, and me looking up with a grin on my rosy-cheeked face.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
Something like an Ozwald Boateng suit. I envy the Opera company for their ability to wear such amazing costumes, all tailor made for them. I’m not much for one with these generic costumes that are seen of late. Call me old fashioned.
What are you most proud of ?
My wife for finding a job during the worst recession since World War II.
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
Spud from ‘Trainspotting’. I think his name is Ewen Bremner. Can’t exactly say Jude Law can I?
What is your favourite quote?
“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld (then Secretary of Defense).
I swear this guy was achingly dumb, but had this much power?
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
I’d like to say being a dab hand at DIY, but my wife will beg to differ. I think she doesn’t know how much time, thought and effort goes in to putting a shelf up, let alone two!