Cupcakes & Conversation with Teo Dubreuil, First Artist, The Royal Ballet

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What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?

Coffee! I’ve never been a morning person so a good coffee is always needed.

If ballet chose you, as many dancers say it did, what is it that has made you stick with it?

For me, it’s getting to be on stage. Nothing beats the feeling I get whilst performing.

Photograph : Frederic Aranda

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

Anyone that is happy to dance with me! I’m lucky that I get to dance with so many talented people in the company during the season. I do enjoy getting to dance with my close friends, that’s always special. I’ve always wanted to dance in the open air theatre at the Alhambra Palace in Granada. To do a ballet like Giselle there would be amazing!

What is your daily routine at the moment?

Quite a few things going on at the moment. We finished our run on The Sleeping Beauty about a week ago and have now gone into performances of Onegin. During the day I’m involved in rehearsals for Cathy Marston’s new ballet The Cellist, Dances at a Gathering by Robbins and I have recently started rehearsals for Swan Lake

What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?

Everything! I’m always hungry! 

How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?

On a performance day we rehearse until 5:30pm so there isn’t a huge amount of time between finishing rehearsals and the performances, which usually start at 7:30pm. I like to start getting ready for a performance around an hour before curtain up, so that leaves me an hour to have a rest, grab some food and go over any choreography that’s coming up in the show.

What are you looking forward to dancing during this season & what’s likely to test you ?

I’m really looking forward to Wayne McGregors new work The Dante Project. We created the first section of the piece last season and performed it whilst on tour in LA, it was so much fun! It’s hard to say what will test me…I’ll find out when I get to it!

Photograph : Andre Uspenski

How do you deal with the stresses of performing ?

I’m usually quite calm when it comes to performances, I often find rehearsals more stressful. If I do ever feel stressed or overwhelmed I tend to listen to some music, that always helps calm me down.

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

David Attenborough, Quentin Tarentino, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Knight, Yayoi Kusama and Kristen Wiig.

What would surprise people about you ?

People are always surprised that I don’t speak French. My name is French, my Dad is French, but I don’t speak a word of it! I blame my Dad entirely!

Who inspired you to dance ?

My parents. They were both ballet dancers which meant I grew up in the theatre watching them and all the other dancers. 

How would someone else describe you ?

You’d have to ask them! I’d hope to be described as friendly and funny but who knows!

Photograph : Andre Uspenski

What is your best piece of advice ?
Focus on you! It’s so easy to compare yourself to the people around you. What works for them might not work for you. It’s important to work hard, but you also have to work smart! 

A phrase I use far too often is …
It’s far too rude to say, I’m afraid!!

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Someone told me a while ago that I reminded them of Timothée Chalamet (I’m assuming from a distance). He’s a brilliant actor so I would be very happy for him to do it!

What is your favourite quote?

I’m actually not a huge fan of quotes… If I do ever use one it tends to be as a joke and usually a bit rude!

What makes you a good dance partner & how have you developed those skills ?

Partnering is something that I’m still developing and learning about. There are always tips and tricks you can pick up from the older more experienced dancers, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Communication with your partner is really important too, asking them for feedback is always helpful as you can find out what works for them and make sure they are comfortable. But the best way to work on partnering is to practice! The more practice you’re able to do, the easier it gets!

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

I don’t know if it’s really a secret, or a skill, but I can do a weird thing with my eyes… those that have seen it will know what I’m talking about!

Describe yourself in just three words.
Loyal, friendly and opinionated.

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

Hopefully promoted and doing more featured roles! 

Photograph : Andre Uspenski

What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it ?

At the moment I don’t have one. I’ve still got a fair amount of time before I stop dancing (hopefully) so right now I’m focusing on the present. Having said that I would like to direct a company one day, I think I’d be good at it!

You can see Teo Dubreuil in Dances At A Gathering/The Cellist (Jerome Robbins/Cathy Marston respectively) from 17th February 2020

Swan Lake by Liam Scarlett opens on 5th March 2020

The Dante Project by Wayne McGregor opens on 6th May 2020, all at the Royal Opera House

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