'In my fourth year at English National Ballet, I felt like I needed a change. At ENB we did four ballets a year and danced them over and over again. That’s great for gaining experience and being on stage a lot, but I wanted a new challenge and to work with some new people.
'Here, it’s completely different. You have to learn so much - sometimes you don’t have as much rehearsal time as you would like. You need to learn to pick things up much faster and to trust that your body will do the right thing on stage. It’s a different experience. So, I sent my CV to David Bintley and he called me, saying he was interested, but he wanted to meet me.
'I came to class, and afterwards I spoke to David for a long time. He said that he really liked my dancing, but he wanted to see how I got on with the other dancers, because that was also important to him. He saw me with the rest of the Company – people talked to me and seemed relaxed – and I guess he was pleased, because he offered me a contract. I joined as a Principal in 2008. I remember my first show here was Raymonda Act III. I was supposed to dance it with Elisha, but she was ill, so after very little rehearsal, on the day, I ended up dancing it with Nao! After that I did Beauty and the Beast – with a bit more rehearsal.
'I’ve danced so many roles, you would think it would be difficult to pick a favourite, but for me, my favourite, favourite role is Des Grieux in MacMillan’s Manon. I did it in Chile when I was 20 or 21. I love that ballet! I like all dramatic ballets, like Romeo and Juliet and Giselle, but mostly where the man is not just a prince. I always try to put a little of myself into the role and not just do a beautiful, smiling prince. To show something different makes it a little more interesting for the audience I think, and for me as well. If I don’t, I think it can be a bit boring.
'I really love Romeo and Juliet. I’ve danced Cranko’s, MacMillan’s and Nureyev’s now – Cranko’s version was my first. I like Cranko’s choreography. We did a lot of Cranko in Chile because the Santiago company has strong ties with the company in Stuttgard. I enjoy David’s ballets too, particularly his story ballets. I think he is very clever with the way he tells stories, and especially with his humour. It’s very English – sometimes I need to get used to it – but I think it’s very good for the audiences.
'As for shorter ballets, I like neo-classical stuff, Balanchine for example – Balanchine is amazing! I like Robbins too. One day I would like to do some Forsythe. I know it’s not that modern now, but I’d like to try something like that. I think I can do it, but I’d like to find out. I would also love to have something created on me.
'I love new works, and it would be great to have something to take to galas. Sometimes I’m asked to do a modern solo in a gala, but I don’t have anything made on me, so that’s something I’d really like. Here, when the dancers ask me if they can do some new choreography with me, I really like it. It’s great when someone creates something on you; it’s really cool to see you can do things you didn’t realise and didn’t expect.
'One of my greatest ambitions was to dance in Vienna, and I finally did in 2006-07, when I was a guest artist with the Vienna Staatsoper. I danced Peter Wright’s The Sleeping Beauty, Nureyev’s Swan Lake and Harangozó’s Coppélia with them, and it was really amazing – the audience waits for you with flowers and pictures!
'I remember the opening of Swan Lake: the Prince alone on stage, reading a book. The curtain went up and when I looked, I almost gasped, because you can see this huge theatre, and it’s full. I’ve also danced in Russia at the Nureyev Festival in Kazan, with Maria Kochetkova, a Principal in San Francisco, which was great. The festival is a week long and they ask different people for each night. It was even in the news, which was a bit weird, but nice!
'It was really scary though – doing The Sleeping Beauty for the Russians, when they have their own Russian style – I didn’t know if they would like me because I was different, but they did, which was also very nice.