My daughter wants to take ballet classes – but will the work and criticism upset her?
When I was a child, I worked extremely hard – I went to very few parties! I didn’t have a fun life, but I wanted to do it more than anything. Quite frankly, a child has to learn how to take criticism. I’m from the old school, where you learned you have to take the rough with the smooth.
I have started a relationship with a dancer in my company. Do love and work mix?
Loving relationships are very important to dancers. You bare your soul on stage, so you must have someone behind you. Dancers are highly emotionally charged – for them, it is all or nothing at all. Personally, I always kept my friendships outside the company – which was partly curiosity about the world outside, and about other art forms.
My pupil longs for a professional career, but I am sure she will never be good enough.
You cannot possibly tell at 14 whether someone is going to make it. I was only 14 when I joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, but my partner, David Paltenghi, didn’t start dancing at all until he was 19. Your doubts may act as a wonderful incentive – the girl may work even harder because it’s a challenge.
My promising student is held back by her father, who says ballet is a waste of time.
Families can be funny, and very unreasonable. This father must be handled very carefully – take a softly, softly approach. If you make him angry, he might even take it out on the girl. Men do still think of dance as an insecure profession – I suspect that at the back of their minds they imagine a dancer will only get on if she sleeps with someone.