Cupcakes & Conversation with Ashley Bouder, Principal, New York City Ballet

Ballet NEWS
 Cupcakes & Conversation with Ashley Bouder, Principal, New York City Ballet
Ballet NEWS

Ashley Bouder in Dances at a Gathering Photograph : Paul Kolnik

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?

The idea of starting a new week fresh and feeling rested. Also, my dog Scout needs to go out to the bathroom.

Why ballet ?

Why not? It is my passion. I love to dance and this form suits me.

What are you looking forward to dancing in the new season ?

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Stars and Stripes. It has been a while for each of those, so I am very much looking forward to dancing them again.

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

Marcelo Gomes. Anything.

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

I love dancing in places like Tivoli, just outside of Rome and the Acropolis.

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How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?

I first sew on criss-cross elastics and use flexer ribbons from Bunheads. Then I cut off the satin tip and put jet glue or Hot Stuff in specific places in the tip. I then bang the bottom edge and outer edges of the box. Finally, I step on the box and mash it a bit with my hands and bend the 3/4 shank before putting the shoes on.

What is your daily routine at the moment ?

On working days, I get up between 8 and 8:30, have coffee, walk the dog, shower, etc. Class is at 10:30 either at Steps or with NYCB. My rehearsals vary each day, but are scheduled anywhere between 12 and 7. I then try to relax each evening, since this is my last week without performances, by having dinner and hanging out with my boyfriend.

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

Balanchine, Robbins, Stanley Kubrick, Marc Jacobs, Toni Morrison, Barack Obama.

What would surprise people about you ?

I love sports, especially baseball and American football.

Who inspired you to dance ?

My mother.

What is your best piece of advice ?

Results don’t happen overnight. Every change takes time and effort. Patience and determination are key.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?

I like to start preparing makeup about 2 hours before show time. Then comes hair. Those take about 30-45 minutes. Then usually, physical therapy or my own stretching and rolling out followed by a nice warm up at about an hour to curtain. Then I pick which shoes to wear and test then out and practice on the stage. I finally put my costume on at about 10 til, and get ready to go.

Which role has tested you the most & how ?

Theme and Variations. I debuted in Paris, so I wasn’t quite comfortable doing that on a foreign stage. Then the second time around, I was very injured and probably shouldn’t have been dancing, so it was slightly painful and challenging.

If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?

I think I look best in a leotard with a little skirt, so probably something like that. Or the opposite end and do something reminiscent of the Emeralds costume. Long tulle, High neck with sheer at the top.

What do you look for in a dance partner ?

An emotional connection, a willingness to go there with me, a good sense of my body and balance, and the ability to anticipate what I’m doing and where I’m going.

What is your favourite quote ?

One of my favorites is “Ballet is about how to behave.” Lincoln Kirstein

Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?

I think perhaps it is a pas de chat with one extended leg.

A phrase I use far too often is … ?

Work. And I hate when I use the word ‘like’ a lot.

What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?

There are so many special moments, but one I hold on to very dearly is my first performance of Swan Lake with Benjamin Millepied. He is a very special artist to me and I feel a great connection to him on stage.

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

I think some people know, but I’m a really good bowler.

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?

I still want to be dancing with NYCB, with hopefully a couple more exciting guestings under my belt.

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7 Responses to Cupcakes & Conversation with Ashley Bouder, Principal, New York City Ballet

  1. Tarzan Dan Freeman September 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    From pointe shoes to bowling shoes and a dog that has to use a hydrant bright and early… she covered it all… a huge talent that want to get in front of my lens one day… fun interview! Kudos…

    Cheers Dan 🙂

  2. BOUDER FAN September 30, 2010 at 3:46 am #

    thank you thank you thank you!!!! this is so exquisite

  3. Anne Sanderson September 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Always nice to hear of her dancing life. Haven’t seen her dance in the flesh (I live in England), though enjoyed her ‘Tarentella’ on White House TV – which I knew about because she’s such a good exponent of Twitter! All power to her efforts to make ballet more accessible to the general public.

  4. Couture Carrie September 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    I wish I could bowl!


  5. Jude September 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    I love seeing her dance, thank you for this wonderful interview! (I how I would *love* to see her dancing with Marcelo Gomes, he’s a favorite :)).