In June this year, Silvia won a coveted contract & performed with English National Ballet as a swan in their in-the-round production of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall. You probably remember this iconic image from one of my earlier features, and it was also published in YOU magazine on 22nd August 2010.
Silvia was offered a short-term contract with English National Ballet for the duration of the rehearsal and performance period of Swan Lake; less than two months in total. I wanted to catch up with Silvia and to find out what she is doing now, given that this is one of the hardest times for professional dancers to find work. A new wave of graduates has entered the workplace – either with contracts in place or swelling the already burgeoning ranks of professional dancers auditioning for work all over the world.
The result ? A charming, lively & honest account of how she sees herself right now, and her plans & big dream for her future. You can’t help but think she’ll do it !
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
The curiosity. Because actually for me, now, every day is different from the others. I feel a mixture of excitement, fear, anger, happiness. I’m building my future with my own hands. I’m afraid of making the wrong choices, but I’m excited and lucky to be able to choose. Maybe that’s why I always wake up before the alarm…!
Why ballet ?
Sometimes I wonder myself, because it’s really hard. But…how can I repress a passion? With ballet, I have no choice! I’m free in my steps, but a prisoner of my passion.
What are you looking forward to dancing in the new season ?
Everything. I love both the classical and the contemporary. In every scenario I’ll be open and available to try any style, to put myself to the test and force myself to overcome any obstacles. They make me grow, and I enjoy the challenge. And I have a big dream: to meet, one day, a choreographer who will want to create something using my body.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I would like to dance 3D by Mauro Bigonzetti. I keep this choreography locked in my heart. He created it for Aterballet, and I learnt it working with Balletto di Toscana, in Florence. It’s a piece for one woman and two men. The music, the atmosphere, the half-naked bodies…….everything is pure energy. Every time I watch it, I scream inside !
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
Everywhere. The most important thing is to have a public that watches you. I must give something of me to someone.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I sew the strings; I cut the sole. I just wet their sides in order to make them softer. That’s the only routine in my life!
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
I train every day, taking classical and contemporary classes. Then, I organize my auditions, and take classes with the companies with which I would like to work. Anyway, I hate thinking about a daily routine, and often I also spend my free time doing something totally different from dance. Recently I did a course in ceramic painting. Now I’m thinking about riding lessons.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Can we change the question just a little bit? Could you ask me “Who would you most like to have dinner for six times?”
Well, Woody Allen. I would need the first 3 times just to understand him speaking English; the other 2 times to have a dialogue with him; the last one to ask him to marry me!!
What would surprise people about you ?
The spontaneity. And that I’ve still got my driving licence!
Who inspired you to dance ?
I don’t have a dancer who inspires me particularly. Usually in every dancer I discover something that I like a lot. I might appreciate a dancer just for her way of using her hands.
What is your best piece of advice ?
It depends on the time. At the moment, the right advice for me is “run until you are in time!” Always, “take care of your freedom.”
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
Every evening before the show I watch an episode of “Family Guy“! That’s my toi-toi!
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Dancing Kitri in Don Chisciotte. She has a temperament that doesn’t sit well with my nature or my own way of dancing. But working hard, I created my own way to be and feel Kitri. Amazing….! . [Ed : Don Quixote]
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
I like to see the lines, the bodies, the breaths. So, I imagine something very simple, maybe coloured. I love colours.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
He must communicate security. He must be available to work and experiment. He must play with me and have fun.
What is your favourite quote ?
“The real risk is not wanting to risk.”
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
I haven’t a signature step.
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
“Genial!” [Ed :Spanish, roughly translated means ‘cool’] and “ahiahiahi!” [is an exclamation which Silvia uses at the end of a hard or tiring day]
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
Every time that I’m on stage is my best moment.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
Yes. I draw. But only black and white, with a pencil. I’m happy to be able, with just a pencil, to give meaning to a simple white sheet.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
Well, I would like to obtain a contract in a theatre, in order to be able to “relax” myself and my mind. I love go around the world, but now I need a bit of stability. I need to create something somewhere; I need to read my notebook & know where I’ll be next month. I need to know that I too, have a place in the world.