Cupcakes & Conversation with Meaghan Grace Hinkis, First Artist, The Royal Ballet

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Cupcakes & Conversation with Meaghan Grace Hinkis, First Artist, The Royal Ballet

ballet dancer in jete on stage

The Nutcracker. Photograph : Johan Persson

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?

Eight am on a Monday morning, I am usually really looking forward to learning some new and exciting rep. The Royal Ballet has such a diverse repertory and each week we typically begin rehearsals for the next programme which keeps the rehearsal day fresh and exciting.

Why ballet?

Why ballet?…I can’t see myself doing anything else. The best part about ballet being “my job” is that it’s not a job at all. It’s so much more than that. It’s a lifestyle- a way of being. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s been your stand-out-on-stage moment?

I’ve had quite a few “stand-out-on-stage moments” this season with The Royal Ballet. One would be dancing the role of Clara in The Nutcracker last December. It was thrilling and I realised I was living the dream. Another incredible on-stage moment was performing the role of Emily Dimmock in Liam Scarlett’s Sweet Violets. Emily was something I could really dive into and let the character drive the performance.

ballet dancer on The Nutcracker

Photograph : Johan Persson

If you could dance anywhere in the world, where would you dance?

As far as places to perform, I don’t think I could wish to dance in any other place than the theatre I am in right now. I do love travelling though and it is fascinating to experience the history of all different theatres around the world.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes?

I don’t do very much to my pointe shoes before wearing them. I step on them, spray the vamps with water, and bang the boxes out to make them less noisy. After wearing them a few times, I jet-glue the tips to prevent them from dying too quickly.

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

Six famous people I would invite to dinner- Kenneth MacMillan, Chopin, Baryshnikov, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Meryl Streep, and Frederic Franklin.

ballet dancer in the Nutcracker

Photograph : Johan Persson

Who inspired you to dance?

My sister started in dance and really was the one to get me into classes. I fell in love with it from day one. As time went on, I was inspired by the great ballerinas like Natalia Makarova and Gelsey Kirkland.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show?

I like to get ready for shows quite early. Once I finish my hair and make-up, I head up to the studio, warm-up, and “get in the zone.” I don’t like waiting around before a show, so I keep myself busy until I can step out on the stage.

What do you look for in a dance partner?

The first thing I look for in a partner is the connection and chemistry between us. It is so important to have that in order to create a moving and exciting performance. I also look for someone who wants to work together as a team and of course someone with experience. A sense of humour is always a plus!

What is your favourite quote?

You’ll never be asked for an encore, if you never set foot on the stage.” Anonymous

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