Cupcakes & Conversation with Matthew Lawrence, Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet

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Cupcakes & Conversation with Matthew Lawrence, Principal, Birmingham Royal Ballet

dancer in rehearsal ballet clothes

Matthew Lawrence Photograph : Roy Smiljanic

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?


Why ballet?

It’s the most unique, and when done well, most insightful of art forms.

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

With my wife (Gaylene Cummerfield) dancing Giselle. We’ve danced together in just about everything except Giselle, which is my favourite ballet.

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

The Maldives.

What is your daily routine at the moment?

I’m not involved in the current season or have any rehearsals for a week. So I’m ironing out the creases before the next intense period. This is life as a principal dancer. When you’re busy, it’s intense. When you’re not- beware- the storm’s coming!

two dancers on stage in a ballet with dance clothes

The Dance House Natasha Oughtred and Matthew Lawrence Photograph : Bill Cooper

How do you prepare in the hours before a show?

Sleep and eat.

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2011?

I’ve just performed what I was looking forward to dancing – Hobson’s Choice. And I wasn’t disappointed; it was a lot of fun!

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

I’m assuming living people so: Daniel Day-Lewis, Alain de Botton, Jonah Lomu, Richard Hadlee, David Attenborough and Angelina Jolie.

What would surprise people about you?

Who I just invited to my dinner party.

Who inspired you to dance?

Rudolf Nureyev, Irek Mukhamedov, Mikhail Baryshnikov.

How would someone else describe you?

Handsome, smart and modest.

dancer in arabesque on stage

Giselle Matthew Lawrence as Albrecht Photograph : Bill Cooper

What is your best piece of advice?

You can take your work seriously without taking yourself seriously.

Which role has tested you the most & how?

Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo. Both physically and dramatically.

A phrase I use far too often is …

“I’m too old for this!”

Who would play you in the film of your life?

My friend Chi Cao. He did such a good job on Li Cunxin’s movie.

What is your favourite quote?

Same as my advice, which is a quote from Clint Eastwood.

What’s on your iPod?

Ray Lamontagne is the latest addition.

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

Family. Because they’re family and it doesn’t happen often.

What makes you a good dance partner?

Who says I’m a good partner?!

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

I’m handy with a cricket ball.

a ballet dancer jumps very high with a green costume and ballet shoes
The Dream Matthew Lawrence as Oberon Photograph : Bill Cooper

Describe yourself in just three words.

Handsome, smart and modest…. Oops, that’s what someone else was meant to have said about me…

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

The Maldives!

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