Cupcakes & Conversation with Adam Bull, Principal, The Australian Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
A swim in the ocean at Manly beach followed by a long macchiato.
If ballet chose you, as many dancers say it did, what is it that has made you stick with it ?
Working in such a supportive and creative environment day after day. The people that surround me are the most talented passionate people and they inspire me endlessly.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I dance with the most incredible generous partners here at The Australian Ballet. I’ve shared the most precious moments on stage with them dancing a varied range of repertoire. But I must say I was a little star struck dancing Manon last year with ABT star Julie Kent at our 50th Anniversary Gala – a kind hearted, natural beauty on stage and off.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
On a glass bottomed stage on the water over looking Whitehaven beach in the Whitsunday Islands.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I wake up around 7am and go for my morning swim at Manly beach. Quick breakfast then on to the ferry to cross Sydney Harbour to the Sydney Opera House (a sight I will never tire of). Class at 11am to 12.15. Rehearsals for 2.5 hrs probably practicing three different ballets within that time. Break till around 5pm when I have a meal before the show. I do my make-up and warm up barre till 7. Curtain up 7.30. Ferry home at 10.15 and some dinner. Lights out and sound asleep at midnight.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
For breakfast I squeeze a fresh juice of carrot, ginger, celery, lemon and apple. Also either some eggs on toast or some cereal. Then I snack on muesli bars and water throughout the day.
Lunch is usually something like pasta or something with rice to sustain me throughout the show, and dinner is often a protein dish with chicken to get a good recovery happening.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
Eat, sleep, make-up, warm up barre, costume, hairspray, stage!
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2013 ?
The season Vanguard which we are performing at the moment. Balanchine, Kylian and McGregor … does it get much better?
How do you deal with the stresses of performing ?
I acknowledge it but don’t let it overtake you.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
David Attenborough, Sir Douglas Mawson, Gene Kelly, Toni Collete, Prince Harry and Tina Turner.
What would surprise people about you ?
How tall I am – 6’4 (192cm)
Who inspired you to dance ?
My grade 1 primary school teacher Janine Kip. Thank you Mrs Kip!
How would someone else describe you ?
Distracting, supportive and generous.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Approach everything with an open mind and a sense of humour.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. It came at a time in my career where it challenged me in so many ways but it made me a better dancer because of all of its challenges. It is a role I cherish now and can’t wait to be performing it again in June.
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
A singlet and Lycra shorts.
A phrase I use far too often is …
“Sorry that was my fault!”
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
Meryl Streep of course. Is there anything that woman can’t do?
What is your favourite quote?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do” – Mark Twain.
What’s on your iPod ?
Muse, Ella Fitzgerald to Mozart.
Who would you most like to dance for, and why?
My nana. She was always very supportive of me when I was really young but died before I started dancing professionally. I think she would have been really proud.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
You may have to ask some of the ladies I dance with, they might have a different story! But I like to think of myself as a caring and open minded towards my partners. I also like to have a good laugh during the rehearsal process and keep it fun; it’s too much hard work otherwise.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret now would it!
Describe yourself in just three words.
Curly, laidback and lanky.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
Where I am now. Injury free and loving it!
Who would you like to have a conversation with ?
Sir Douglas Mawson, the Australian Antarctic Explorer. I was fortunate enough to tick off a long life dream of visiting the Antarctic continent and actually step foot inside his cabin which is still preserved in the ice from 1914. I am so fascinated by this time where there was still so much unknown about the world. The men of this time I believe are true definition of heroes.
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it?
I don’t have an exit strategy. This scares me a lot and I tend to just keep pushing it away, thinking can’t this just last forever! Nothing will ever replicate the feeling of what this career has given me. But I am a firm believer of when one door closes another opens.