Cupcakes & Conversation with Andrew Peasgood, Artist, Scottish Ballet

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Cupcakes & Conversation with Andrew Peasgood, Artist, Scottish Ballet

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Andy Peasgood

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?

Normally I don’t see the bright lights of 8am on a Monday morning but, once woken with a cup of coffee I have my own personal objective to never miss a class.

Why ballet?

That would have to be down to my sisters. When I was little I had to watch their classes from time to time but was overly hyperactive, therefore the teacher suggested I joined the class in order to burn off some steam.

Who would you most like to dance with and what would you dance?

Hopefully I will get some brownie points on this one! It sounds very clichéd but I would most like to dance with my partner Megan Wood, she’s a very talented dancer. As for what we’d dance, I wouldn’t mind, something with a lot of personality. Personally I’d love to dance in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. The concept, music, costumes and choreography are full of immense energy and the piece has a real feel good vibe.

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?

For me it would depend on the programme. Some pieces (for example Ballet du Rhin’s Retour à Dogville choreographed by Hervé Maigret) require the intimate settings of a smaller stage whilst others (such as Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker) benefit from a larger stage. In contrast to theatre stage performances there is a very exciting, small contemporary company called MotionHouse who have a piece called Underground which is performed in outdoor festivals/street festivals to great effect. The public love it and it often inspires them to explore the arts further.

What is your daily routine at the moment?

I get up and do all the usual morning rituals then it’s a short train ride to Scottish Ballet’s base. I have class at 10:00 followed by rehearsals, lunch at 1:30-2:30, rehearsals until 18:00 then it’s back home for dinner and rest.

What do you eat during the course of a typical working day?

I never eat a very full lunch as I don’t like dancing on a full stomach. Bananas are a great snack throughout the day.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show?

I try to stay chilled out; concentrated but chilled. Coffee, conversation and music, then it’s on to the hair & make-up, warm-up and costumes. I try to stay away from any fussiness etc as the negativity rubs off and that’s not what anyone needs before a show.

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2011?

In our upcoming programme for Sadler’s Wells (November 3 and 4) we have a piece called Kings 2 Ends – which was created on us by the choreographer Jorma Elo. Creations are always exciting times as it’s something new and fresh and Jorma has a brilliant and quirky style which is physically demanding.  I loved working with him, and I’m looking forward to dancing that piece again (Kings 2 Ends was premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer).

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?

Gene Kelly, Lee Evans, Phil and Kirstie (from Location, Location, Location), Greuble and Forsey (watch inventor/maker/designer extraordinaire).

What would surprise people about you?

I love watches and horology; I have 16 watches myself including a 171 year old fob watch. I’m fascinated with mechanical watches as there is so much that goes into them; the complicated intricacies to the beautiful aesthetics.

Who inspired you to dance?

The movie Singin’ in the Rain inspired me. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Conner are incredible!

How would someone else describe you?

Nicely I hope 🙂

What is your best piece of advice?

Not really advice but more of a confidence builder: No one has everything but everyone has something!

Which role has tested you the most and how?

Variations pour une porte et un soupir choreographed by Maurice Bejart. In a long explanation cut short each person is given a random number between 1 and 7 and when your number comes up on the board you get up and improvise. The piece is 30 minutes long and is completely improvised for all 7 dancers. The testing part is that you can’t just get up and float around in randomness and even though improvisation is considered a random result you still have to have an idea and explore all its possibilities, details, dynamics, directions etc. You also have to be in tune with the other dancers in order for group work and partnering to work as no-one knows what’s coming next, so eye contact and the reading of each other’s movement indicates the focus of finding ideas and motifs. It really takes every ounce of mental and physical energy out of you.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you?

Not sure on the funniest but definitely most recent. I went quad biking with some friends and the course was quite difficult. I’m not exactly the most confident person when it comes to being in control of a moving vehicle but I survived the whole course only until the instructor asked me to park the quad bike and I crashed it into a stone walled ditch. It was funny until I had to pay for the damages £££.

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?

That would depend on the role but it would most certainly have to be light and would have to fit perfectly for comfort in order for myself to move to the best of my ability.

A phrase I use far too often is…?

”Do you know what I mean”.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

I wouldn’t mind as it would be a movie I’d never go and see. haha

What is your favourite quote?

”It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”

What’s on your iPod?

I have a huge mix; I like acoustic music by Boyce Avenue, Newton Faulkner and Tylar Ward. A few other favourites to mention are Elbow, Radiohead/Thom Yorke, Flaming Lips, Jamie Cullum, Ray Charles, Temper Trap, Michael Buble, Queen and Stevie Wonder.

Who would you most like to dance for, and why?

The public. When the public appreciates your art it makes it all worthwhile and feeds your hunger.

What makes a good partner?

I think everyone is always learning and becoming a better partner because every person you dance with is different. Time helps with this and creates experience, also solid and calm communication helps a lot.

Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about?

Going back to watches, I’m starting to learn about watch repairing; the basics for now. I’m also quite good at playing pool.

Describe yourself in three words?

Hard working, easy going, up for a laugh.

If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?

My father. Unfortunately he passed away in 2007 and never really got to see me dance so it would be an honour for me to dance for him showing him the dancer I’ve become.

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?

Busy, working hard on the then programme, improving and taking every opportunity that comes my way!

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