Cupcakes & Conversation with Luke Schaufuss, Artist, Birmingham Royal Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
To answer the question bluntly; usually I’m asleep on a Monday at this time. At Birmingham Royal Ballet, we start our Mondays later. Hooray! However, the constant need to improve, and become better always helps me get out of bed though.
If ballet chose you, as many dancers say it did, what is it that has made you stick with it ?
I think the depth of it. There’s always something different to dig your teeth into, and new perspectives to explore.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I don’t want any specific person the most. I would however like to dance with someone that’s patient, that likes to work as a team, and perhaps most importantly, to have a sense of humour! Although if they’re pretty it helps! Haha. As to what to dance: Romeo and Juliet. The music and falling hopelessly in love is just 10/10. I would love to do it again.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Wake up (hopefully), breakfast, morning exercise routine (if possible in a park). Shower/brush teeth/etc. Go to work, sometimes do mat class, then company class, rehearsals, perhaps a show, cook, eat, sleep!
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
Cereal. Always cereal for breakfast. I can’t get through the day without a good breakfast. I try to fit in some fruit after class. For lunch I usually have whatever is available in our green room. So anything from fish and chips to bangers and mash. For dinner, I love to cook, so I always try to cook up something tasty to reward myself at the end of the day.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I usually have a short nap.
What are you looking forward to dancing in 2014 ?
Everything. I live by a Danish saying: “There are no small roles, only small artists.”
How do you deal with the stresses of performing ?
Just by getting on with it. I love every moment on stage so that makes it pretty easy for me to deal with 🙂
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
My dad so we can have a laugh about it. Michael Jackson, because I always wanted to meet him. Tom Hanks because I love his work, and he’s apparently a really great guy. Russell Crowe because me and my dad’s favourite movie to watch together is Gladiator. August Bournonville could be interesting. Lastly I’d invite Athene, who is the world’s most famous record-breaking professional video-gamer.
What would surprise people about you ?
Usually that I’m not gay! Also that I love to play video games!
Who inspired you to dance ?
My mother mostly of all. I grew up watching her dance with my father’s company. I always knew that was what I wanted to do.
How would someone else describe you ?
I can’t say how they would, but I can tell you how I’d hope they would describe me:
Honest, hardworking, loving and caring, loves to laugh and smile, occasional twist of sick humour, trustworthy. Hopefully they would throw in something along the lines of “good looking” or “handsome”. You can only hope right? 🙂
What is your best piece of advice ?
Be responsible for your own happiness. Be yourself.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Probably Romeo in Ashton’s Romeo and Juliet. I hadn’t done much pas de deux prior to the role. Luckily I had my dad coaching me, and a fantastic girl to partner, so it was a great learning experience. It was also my first lead role in a classical ballet which put me under a lot of pressure, but I tend to excel under pressure so that was okay 🙂
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
During the tour of Romeo and Juliet. The music suddenly decided to stop playing in the middle of the ballet (it was recorded music), which led to a few minutes of silent improv. It was very surreal, and a great laugh afterwards!
If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?
Something simple, masculine, and comfortable to wear.
A phrase I use far too often is …
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
Ryan Gosling would be really cool.
What is your favourite quote?
“Create the Opportunity.” -Mr. Papoutsis
What’s on your iPod ?
I haven’t updated my library for a long time. Anything from classical ballet music (bun-head-ish I know), to old classics by Elvis and Michael Jackson. Also a lot of cheesy music (which I don’t like to admit)!
Who would you most like to dance for, and why?
Any audience who would like to watch. I dance first and foremost for myself, because I love it.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
I always put the ballerina before myself. My number one interest is always about making her look as good as she possibly can, and make it as easy as possible for her.
Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?
I’m sure you’d like to know. But then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it now? 😉
Describe yourself in just three words.
Open-minded. Loyal. Chilled.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?
Faster, better and stronger than I am now.
Who would you like to have a conversation with ?
Winston Churchill. That’d be pretty wicked.
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it ?
I take things as they come, and it’s hopefully pretty far off for me. So I don’t know at this point. It has all literally just started!