LB: Most recently it is simply a combination of everything and the joy of getting so many opportunities so late in my career, although, I would have to say that the Xmas before last was a pinnacle dancing “Manon” at the Sydney Opera House with Robert Curran. He is a wonderful partner and the whole experience was very special to be dancing in Australia with my family and friends around me and in such a beautiful location. Everything about it was new and exciting.
ES: Who are your favourite choreographers of today – people you have worked with and people you haven’t or would like to?
LB: Two young choreographers who have been a big part of my career in latter years are Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon. They have also been instrumental in the continuation of my career as they get a lot of opportunities to choreograph on the Royal Ballet and I have a good working relationship with them both.
Two other choreographers I have always wanted to work with are Graeme Murphy and Mats Ek. Unfortunately I have an arthritic toe joint which has made doing Mats’ work impossible. I also have to mention the late Sir Kenneth MacMillan who created the work in which I specialize.
ES: If you had to name a favourite work of any genre what would it be?
LB: Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s “Romeo and Juliet” is always a favourite. Even my seven year old son loves it. It is such a wonderful love story which the ballet tells beautifully with such exquisite music and choreography.
ES: For dancers both aspiring and professional is there any message or piece of advice you could pass on?
LB: I would say that it is absolutely necessary to be always curious and excited by what you are doing. You have to be 100% physically involved and excited about improving yourself – about getting better.
It is also essential to be realistic about your capabilities and physique. This is an industry based on aesthetics. Having said that it is important to be able to lead a full life. There is nothing so miserable as a life of self denial. You see it a lot in this profession. It is really important to be free in one’s head and that doesn’t happen if you are obsessing about what you can eat and when and how much exercise you have had that day.
Another thing I would say is to run with opportunities when they present themselves. I look back and often wish I had been bolder.
Finally I would add that intelligence, discipline and concentration are of equal importance to one’s talent.
ES: How have you found dancing after becoming a mother?
LB: Dancing beyond motherhood has been a great experience. I have had far fewer injuries, I have more maturity and greater happiness overall. At this point in time I am prepared to walk away from dance if I have to and that means that I value everyday as if it were my last.
I have learnt not to be so hard on myself and although still a perfectionist I do not let it intrude on my joy of dancing.
Home is a completely different environment to work. I love being at work and I love being at home. The change between the two balances you.
ES: How is it dancing as a principal ballerina beyond the age of 40?
LB: I am very lucky that I come from a good pool of ingredients for this profession and am physically suited to the industry. I think that it is thanks to this that my body is still in good shape beyond 40.
As you get older and more mature you have more to offer. I am so thankful that I am still physically fit and can give what I have to give AND that it is appreciated. In fact I feel like I am appreciated even more now than ever before.
I firmly believe you are only as good as your last show. You have to keep working hard and you have to want to work hard. It is important to keep a good frame of mind and to not take oneself too seriously!
ES: What is next on your agenda?
LB: In the short term continuing on with what I am doing at RB… There are three new works coming up and who knows beyond that!
I am also developing my other love outside of my career (besides my family and my kitten), which is interior design. I have always loved going into places, doing them up then selling them on. The idea is embryonic at this stage but I am beginning my own design company called Chepstow Place Design.