Interview

Karla Doorbar on dancing different roles in The Nutcracker

Last season Karla was promoted to First Artist, and she’s been really busy with preparations for this season’s performances.

<p>Karla Doorbar; photo: Andrew Ross</p>.

‘I’ve been lucky enough to dance some amazing roles already and I’m looking forward to getting to dance some of them again. This season in Swan Lake I danced in the cygnets and also swans. It was nice to dance them again on the main stage!’

‘I’ve been in the Company for a while now so some of the ballets are coming back. It’s really nice to be able to revisit the roles. Getting to dance them again is fun, but it’s also less stressful. You think you will have forgotten it but it’s in your body somewhere, you just have to find it.’

‘The first ballet I saw was actually Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker. It was just so magical to watch! I danced in The Nutcracker with The Royal Ballet years ago, when I was just a little party child; I never ever imagined that I would be Clara, it was my dream. It’s everything about the ballet, the story, the magic, the Christmas and the snow. The whole time Clara’s on stage she’s just in awe of everything and so am I!’

This season Karla is also dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy for the first time. Speaking about her debut she says 'It was such an honour to be asked to dance the role. The Sugar Plum Fairy is very different from Clara. It's very technically demanding and I've not danced the role before, but I'm really excited to performing it this Christmas!'

'I never imagined that I would be Clara, it was my dream.'

Talking about her favourite experiences with Birmingham Royal Ballet, she exclaims, ‘Oh my goodness, I love the tours obviously. There’s so many! I’ve been on amazing tours with the Company to Grenada, Virginia, Japan and all these amazing places. I also like the smaller tours because that’s when you get the opportunity to try roles that you wouldn’t normally perform on the main stage. For example, I danced the pas de quatre from Act I in Swan Lake on the midscale for the first time before I danced it on the main stage this season.’

‘At Birmingham Royal Ballet every dancer has their chance to shine, which is why I think the Company is very fair. All the dancers have their own special qualities. Even if you get two similar dancers doing the same part they’ll bring out something which is different. I think David [Bintley] is very good at seeing that.’

'Just imagining a life without ballet is weird!'

Karla didn't start ballet until she was nine: ‘My mum’s friend called her up and said there was a local dance school opening up and asked if I’d like to go with her girls. I did a bit of everything there, not just ballet. But when you’re good at something in particular you stick with it, so ballet was the one. My teacher noticed something special about me as a dancer. She really pushed me to go for everything, which is when I auditioned at White Lodge [the Royal Ballet School's Richmond base].’

‘My teacher sent me to the auditions purely to have the experience of being criticised and having someone watch you dance. I hadn’t even heard of White Lodge or the Royal Ballet School at that age! Then I got the letter saying that I had got in and you can’t turn an opportunity like that down. So I went for it and never looked back. It was hard though, 11 is a young age to leave home. I found it very challenging, but very rewarding at the same time.’

‘Every day is fun. Just imagining a life without ballet is weird! I can’t even imagine not doing it. I’m very lucky to have this job and to have fun and be inspired every day.'