Cupcakes & Conversation with Alexander Campbell, Soloist, The Royal Ballet
Alexander Campbell has until recently danced with Birmingham Royal Ballet, and I’ve often noted his dancing in my reviews. It’s great news that he has been offered a soloist contract with The Royal Ballet and you can see him dancing with the company from the new season which begins shortly.
Congratulations on your Soloist contract with The Royal Ballet. How did it come about ?
I was looking for a new challenge at the time and what better test is there than throwing yourself into a room full of world class dancers? Following discussions with the director, Monica Mason, and a few things falling into place, I was offered a contract.
Is the transition from Birmingham to London life going to be an easy one – as an Australian do you consider England home now ?
While it will be difficult to leave friends, I am hoping that the transition will be relatively simple and straightforward. I know London from my time at The Royal Ballet School and I am looking forward to being in the thick of things again. Australia will always be home but I certainly have a great fondness for England and consider it as my second home.
What do you know of The Royal Ballet company ?
I know that it is a famous company with wonderful history and a fantastic following.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
If it isn’t the repertoire that I’m rehearsing or performing then it’s the desire to always improve.
Why ballet ?
I love the performance side of things. The adrenaline that comes with being onstage, the chance to throw yourself into a challenging character.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
There are a number of wonderfully talented dancers in The Royal Ballet whom I would be delighted to have the opportunity to work with. I’m not going to alienate myself by trying to name names!
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
One of the things I get most excited about when I think about making this move is the opportunity to perform on the Royal Opera House stage. I had the great pleasure of performing at the Sydney Opera House with The Australian Ballet last year and as it’s my home town that was a very special moment. I’d definitely like to do that again.
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Holidays! I’ve been trying to get back into shape the last couple of days by doing class in the morning and then I’ve been lumbered with the task of helping my Dad buy a new car. I haven’t minded the last couple of days so much, BMW and Audi were on the list!
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
I try to eat reasonably healthily; pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I like to take my time before a show. One thing I like to do is have a shower before putting make up on and getting the costume on.
What are you looking forward to dancing with The Royal Ballet – any coveted roles in their rep?
There are plenty of roles that I hope to get the chance to try but artistically the challenge of Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling is hugely appealing. Technically, as a great fan of Baryshnikov’s, Rhapsody would be another one I’d love to perform.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Christian Bale (I’m a huge Batman fan), January Jones, Rose Byrne (who apparently grew up only a few minutes away from me in Sydney) and Emma Watson. I’ll leave it there, I’m hoping that I’m allowed to attend this dinner? Three women, three men and no need for a round table to accommodate the seventh person!
What would surprise people about you ?
I have a mild to moderate hearing loss. About 20% below average for my age apparently. Funnily it’s never really been an issue. For me anyway!
Who inspired you to dance ?
I had videos of Baryshnikov when I was younger and that was certainly a massive inspiration.
How would someone else describe you ?
I think people would say I’m fairly down to earth.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Try to keep your focus on the things you can control rather than the things you can’t.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
I had to perform Petroushka and Michael Corder’s brand new Le Baiser de la Fee in one evening and together they were a huge challenge. Being doubled over, pigeon toed and heavily made up as Petroushka was a test in itself but then having 20 minutes to get changed, showered and ready for the fresh faced Young Man in Baiser, which was completely classical and possibly one of the toughest things I’ve done stamina wise, was another level of testing! It was extremely rewarding though and possibly one of my favourite times in the company.
What is your favourite quote?
‘One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed.’ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
What’s on your iPod ?
A mixture of things, I’ve recently rediscovered Silverchair and have been listening to that quite a bit.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I’d like to think I’m considerate and sensitive to my partner’s needs.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
I was a decent cricketer when I was younger! But I tell almost everyone I meet so it’s not really that much of a secret.
Describe yourself in just three words.
Ambitious, focused, entertaining.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
I really enjoyed having the chance to perform in Sydney last year where a lot of my family were able to attend, some of whom had never seen me perform before. That was a very special feeling.
In terms of your ballet career, having danced with Birmingham Royal Ballet and now The Royal Ballet, what are your ambitions or have they been fulfilled now?
Upon joining The Royal Ballet one of my ambitions will certainly have been fulfilled but I feel I have plenty more to achieve in my career. My hope is that this is just the beginning.
Listen to Silverchair
Listen to Petroushka
Watch Mikhail Baryshnikov