In summer 2015, Leicester-born Lewis Turner was promoted to First Artist. Now, as he begins another busy season with Birmingham Royal Ballet, he looks back as well as forward.
'Romeo and Juliet was the first production I was in as a company member’, remembers Lewis. ‘After my second year at upper school I worked with the Company as an apprentice. It was my first full-length, and it’s a lot of fun! I’d love to dance Mercutio; I think he’s a really interesting character’. Lewis will have to wait until 2016 to see if he gets the chance to dance this role in Romeo and Juliet.
Lewis has been cast in the lead role, Le Roi Soleil, in The King Dances for shows in Plymouth. He first danced this role last June. ‘It was the first time my name had been at the top of the casting and my first time in a principal role. That had its own pressures along with the responsibility. In the studio things could be running smoothly, but then there were lots of variables when we got to the stage. Suddenly we’re in costume: we had these long wigs which were going in our faces and the floor was quite slippery. We were in heels too, which we had worn in rehearsal, but not on the slippery floor. With it being my first major role it was quite difficult’.
‘It can be quite difficult to get into a specific character in the studio where it can be quite cold and bare. But once you put your makeup and costume on, that’s when the character breathes life’.
Explaining his recent promotion to First Artist and he says ‘It shows you’ve reached a standard. Generally with a promotion you’ve done a certain number of featured roles; you’ve been given a shot and you’ve proven yourself. It’s nice to have recognition for the hard work you’ve done’.
Talking about his favourite experiences at Birmingham Royal Ballet, he exclaims ‘International tours are a massive perk of the job! Last season we got to go to Japan for three weeks. We’re doing a job that we love and we’re travelling the world with it. We get to see some pretty cracking places that we possibly wouldn’t have were it not for ballet'.