Monica Tapiador will be starring in English Youth Ballet’s acclaimed production of Swan Lake at the New Theatre Cardiff from 16th – 17thof August 2019.  Monica was born in Spain and before joining EYB she danced with La Scala Theatre Ballet and English National Ballet.  She will be leading an impressive cast of international principal dancers and 100 of Wales’ finest young dancers in Swan Lake.

What does being a principal ballerina with English Youth Ballet entail?

Being a principal at EYB involves performing the leading roles in the company’s repertoire of 5 full-length classical ballets and teaching and coaching the young dancers in the cast in each city or town we visit.  It is one of the most challenging jobs I have ever done – but I love it.  It is challenging because you are responsible for the progress of the young dancers and also for your own performance and the huge demands of each classical role.  I am learning so much about teaching and I enjoy helping and watching the young talented dancers.  EYB is a very special company that gives the young dancers a unique experience!

How do you balance preparing for your own performance with coaching the young dancers?

EYB’s team of principal dancers all live in London and during the week we all take class and rehearse at Pineapple Studios in central London.  We rehearse are principal roles and in London and then at the weekends and during school holidays we travel to rehearse with the children in the cast.  It is a hard balance to strike.  Towards the start of the rehearsal period with the kids we focus solely on their work and then towards the end when they know what they are doing we can begin to focus on our own preparation.

In Swan Lake you dance the roles of both the White Swan and the Black Swan. How do the roles differ?

Odette is very delicate and innocent – her character is defined by soft and slow movements. Her personality is fragile and she is hoping to find the real love who will save her from Rothbart’s spell.  Odile is dark, arrogant and powerful. She takes initiatives in every moment and seduces the prince with her manipulated personality. She is full of virtuosity and power.

Which is your favourite role in Swan Lake and why?

I love both roles and I am really enjoying dancing them. Being able to play both helps me to understand the differences.  I have to say, I feel more comfortable dancing Black Swan as I consider myself a more dynamic and fast dancer than a lyrical one. I think the Black Swan feels more natural to my body.

Who is currently your favourite dancer in the world?

My favourite ballet dancer is Marianela Núñez. She is a principal dancer with Royal Ballet and I followed her work even before she became principal with Royal. I love the way she interprets every role she dances and what an amazing person she is. I always watch her dancing the roles I’ll need to prepare myself as I find her such an inspiration!

What do you think the EYB students gain from working alongside professional dancers?

EYB is a great opportunity for kids to have their first professional ballet experience and get to learn a bit more of what it is like to be a professional ballet dancer.  They discover the passion and sacrifice needed for a career in the ballet world.  I also think they’re so lucky to dance in such a great production and perform in this beautiful theatre where so many professionals companies have performed.

If you could teach the EYB students one thing what would it be?

I would teach them how important is not to give up when things don’t go the way they hope. As a ballet dancer, I experienced a lot of moments in my life where I hoped to get a contract or a role and I didn’t.  I think is very important to have an open mind and try not to be negative on yourself.  I would like to teach to my students to approach their ballet goals and also their life in that way.

For more information and tickets to Swan Lake visit www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

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