Laurretta Summerscales sits next to me on a snug loveseat in her dressing room, curled up under a pink shawl. The English National Ballet principal has just completed the second show in a series of gala performances in Singapore. Performing five shows in 3 days while dealing with jetlag left most of the performers fairly tuckered out by the end, but even though she had just stepped off the stage 15 minutes ago, Laurretta still sparked with energy, a warm smile on a face and eyes that twinkled under the swathe of stage makeup. She had good reason to be excited. This was, she told me, her first big gala and the first time performing with her fiancé, fellow ENB principal Yonah Acosta.
‘He decided.’ she told me, when I asked about the variations she’d performed. ‘I was like, “are you joking? At least one, can we do one that I’ve done before? ”’.
You’d never be able to tell, I said to her. She looked the English Rose, but in the two shows I saw she moved with sufficient confidence and power that she could probably pop a grand jete up to the rafters. It’s been stressful, she said to me, when talking about preparations for the gala, as well as the unexpected challenges that came when she achieved her dream of becoming a principal. But life, as the straight-forward Laurretta says, is about the journey, including going through the inevitable patchy bits of life – performance stress, existential crises and all, and remembering that it all gets better.
So has it gotten better for her?
‘It’s been good,’ she said, smiling as she snuggled into her pink shawl. ‘I’m really happy.’
C&V SESSIONS WITH LAURRETTA SUMMERSCALES
What did you have for breakfast?
For breakfast I had a banana. Normally, I always have porridge, but because we’ve been here I keep on missing the breakfast at the hotel. But normally I always have breakfast, Yonah [Acosta] doesn’t really have breakfast, so it’s not really helpful for me! I had a banana, some nuts; whatever’s here. But normally I have porridge.
I never understood the British fascination with porridge. To me oatmeal seems kind of lumpy and tasteless.
I don’t necessarily love it, but I feel like it’s good for the beginning of the day. It keeps the fuel going. I’ve kind of realized that for what we do it’s really helpful to have a good breakfast, so I find that’s very easy to do and go. And it’s very cheap. I don’t have milk in mine, just boiling water. I might have a bit of jam in it or maple syrup.
It’s literally just to fill the stomach for the whole day.
So what’s a breakfast that you take when you really want to indulge?
Pancakes. I’d say that is my top notch, pancakes. That’s it for sure.
You started your dance training because your mom owned a dance studio. Was it very natural that you went into it?
I think it was. I can’t really remember because I was so young but I think it was just part of our life. I would go with mum to do some things and I just got into it.
We also used to do shows like Oliver and Annie. I would always join in and I never complained about it.
I complained about ballet in particular, but never tap. I always enjoyed it. I loved the old MGM films, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. I am a huge fan.
My mum remembers an exam; we had a curtain and you’re not allowed to watch other people’s exams. I was really young and got in front of the curtain, sat down and I watched the exam. I just sat there and watched. I just weirdly wanted to watch the exam. I think I was very much interested in it and it just developed from there really.
But given that you complained about ballet, how did you end up becoming a professional dancer?
I used to go and do extra ballet at another dancing school and that’s what I used to complain about.
We used to go to the other dancing school during the week. It would be after school and my friends would go horse riding or something. I would go, ‘Mum I want to go horse riding, I don’t want to do ballet!’ My mum said when you’re sixteen you can decide, but not until then.
My mum felt like – fair enough, okay, you don’t do ballet, but you have to do something. You can’t just sit at home and do nothing. So that’s the way she felt.
She’s like, ‘you’re going to do something. It’s not bad for you; it’s something to give you discipline and if there’s something else you equally like to do then you can do that.’
But I never came up with anything other than horse riding. My mum’s like, ‘I can’t afford horse riding!’
So that was it really. I said to her by sixteen I’ll like ballet. I already knew that I did like it; I just couldn’t be bothered. But I kept on going and kept on doing it and I love it.
And your sister dances as well.
My sister danced and she’s an amazing singer. That’s her forte. My forte is the dancing. I can’t sing for anything.
I’ve always been a bit jealous because I feel like singing is such a good way of releasing. She enjoyed it, but I think she did it more for my mum than she did for herself. She’s a teacher now for my mum’s dancing school – she wants to become an examiner. She’s loves teaching.
That’s her niche, she loves to give to the children and try to make them better and that’s what she does. Now she’s very happy.
So there was never any friendly competition between you two?
No, my type of personality is very individual. I don’t like hugging people and stuff like that. My sister loves other people. So when we were younger, she would always want a hug from me and I would always not want a hug from her.
When I was younger I think I was a bit mean to her. But now we’re really close. I think it was because we were a bit bigger in the age gap. We’re not quite similar in age, five years. She was quite a lot older; we were experiencing completely different things at the same time. But now we’re very close. We live next door to each other.
So you can always bang on her door and pester her for things.
And she does it back. Can you take me to the stage? Can you look after my things? Can you take my doggie out?
Laurretta Summerscales in Coppélia.
Credit: Cheryl Angear
Your mom was a performer as well wasn’t she?
Yeah, not for a long time. She did things like 42nd Street. She’s a very good tapper.
She’s a very good teacher too, but she didn’t have this confidence in terms of performing. She had to force herself to talk to people. She’s an examiner now. She’s happy teaching, examining and she started her dancing school when she was 19 years old, with five people.
She had another job and slowly the studio just got bigger and bigger and bigger. And I think, ‘wow’. What I have today is because of her. If she hadn’t done any of that I wouldn’t be where I am. I have a lot of respect for her – just because somebody’s quiet doesn’t mean that they’re not determined, that they’re not ready to go and do stuff. She’s amazing.
That’s very ambitious, nineteen and starting a dance studio. Most nineteen year olds are too busy worrying about college and boyfriends.
Yea, I remind myself ever so often that I have everything because of her – she started dancing because she wouldn’t talk when she was younger.
Her mum and dad would go on holiday with her and her brother. They would drive to Italy and take three days to get there. She wouldn’t talk at all the whole way, so they tried to get her dancing more and that’s where it all started really.
But for you, did confidence come naturally to you or did you have to build it up?
I don’t know. I feel like as a person I’m quite a loud person in just the way I speak. My boyfriend says to me I’m shouting, and I’m like, ‘I’m not shouting!’ I seem to have a low voice that travels.
I remember my nickname my dad gave me was trumpet. I was so loud all the time!
When I was younger, I was really bossy when we would play games with everybody. I would tell everybody what to do. I had a lot of confidence, but I think as I went to secondary school… not so much.
Sometimes with the dancing if I do something new, something I haven’t done before, I feel really nervous
I have to say to myself, ‘look, you work really hard. You’ve done this. This is going to be fine.’
I would say I am confident once I get used to something, but I think everybody has insecurities on certain things. But once you get to know me, I’m quite what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
It’s like, ‘Hello it’s me!’ That’s it.
Then how do you tackle things like nerves on stage, especially if you’re doing something for the first time? Or even when you’re not doing something for the first time, you know I’m sure every performer you always think something could go wrong. So how do you deal with that?
Well, I say to myself before I go on stage – something will go wrong that hasn’t gone wrong before. Something that has always been easy for me will probably go wrong. You’ll be like, ‘that never goes wrong!’
So I always say to myself: something will go wrong, it won’t be perfect, enjoy yourself. And that seems to be the best for me.
I have to remember enjoy myself and dance from the heart. That’s what my old teacher used to always say to me – dance with your heart.
It’s not just about the technique; it’s about giving and just enjoying it. And the more I enjoy it, the better it usually goes. So that’s what I try and do.
I try not to get ready too early; I try to get ready just in time. Just enough time that I need so I’m not waiting around.
So that you don’t overthink it?
Yea, I try not to think at all actually. I’ve rehearsed it. I’ve done it in rehearsals. I will be nervous, it might not go as well as I want it to but I just have to go through it. Once you get used to it, it will be better. But even then, you might just suddenly one day feel a bit sick, and just have to be like – all you can do is your best.
Generalizing most dancers…I think we overanalyze. We think a situation is much bigger than it really is because we are here all the time, every single day. It seems so important.
But actually in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important. You just have to give a good show and enjoy yourself, that’s it.
I try and do that, but somedays it doesn’t work!
It’s easy to get hung up over the small, ‘I stumbled on stage!’ mistakes, and you think you ruined the show, but in truth the audience doesn’t care.
Yeah. Maybe they didn’t even notice and they’re like, ‘what? I thought it was supposed to be like that.’
And sometimes if you pick yourself back up, they give you a bigger applause.
They’re like, ‘you’re human!’ But I tell myself something will go wrong, and something will go good.
You just have to enjoy it.
How did your mother feel about you going in to doing ballet professionally? Because it is probably one of the hardest dance forms of them all.
She knew more about musical theater than ballet. I think she’s learned a lot of ballet through me because she never went to a ballet school. She never went to a ballet company, she did all the musical theater stuff.
They are quite different – in ballet is really hard to get into a company, but if you’re in a good company and you have a good contract, you are stable. With musical theater, it might be easier to get a job, but that job is only four or six months.
I didn’t know if I was good enough to be a ballet dancer when I was sixteen. But my mum and I decided: you’re sixteen, and for ballet you need to go for it at sixteen.
My mum couldn’t afford ballet school, and she said if they don’t give you a scholarship, they obviously don’t like you enough anyway, and nothing’s really going to happen with ballet. So that was the plan: if I didn’t get in with a ballet scholarship then I do A levels and go to musical theater.
I got into ENB with a DaDA [Dance and Drama Award]. I was there for two years and then I got offered a contract with ENB.
So it just kind of happened. We didn’t go, ‘I want to do this.’ I was very lucky that I didn’t have to audition for the company and I feel very fortunate that that happened.
Of course I did want to do it, but I also accepted that if I wasn’t good enough, it’s best to do something else I’m better at Because sometimes you love something so much, but if you’re not good at it maybe you won’t be happy doing it. We all have limitations.
And maybe it’s better to do a job that you’re good at then in your spare time do what you love. I think everybody thinks differently about it, but that’s how I feel.
Laurretta Summerscales and Brooklyn Mack in Le Corsaire.
Credit: Foteini Christofilopoulou
I read an article where you talked about when you first joined the company you had a bit of difficulty adapting to company life. There was a period where you were a bit unhappy. How did you eventually find your balance and get through that period?
To be honest looking back, I probably didn’t have it that badly. I think it was just the first initial like, ‘Wow.’ I’d gone from working like 8:30 to 6:30 at school every single day and now suddenly I’m not in anything because I was new.
At the time we were doing Giselle. So I would do maybe a corps de ballet rehearsal, but all the other rehearsals were for Myrtha or the other Willis or Giselle or Albrecht. I would have a lot of time.
I also found it really hard with keeping my body shape. I’ve always found it hard to have muscle tone, I tend to look soft. When I was younger I used to fluctuate a lot, so I was getting upset with the way I looked.
I really only needed to wait like six months and it would’ve improved. But because I was unhappy, I decided to do something about it. I thought if ’m not going to work the rest of the day I need to really work hard in class. So I really pushed hard in class. I watched every Myrtha rehearsal that there was. I would listen to the corrections and try to apply just in my head watching them. I’ve got quite a good brain – if I watch something over and over again I automatically learn it. I can see the body and the music. They just connect. My body tends to get it.
They noticed that I was watching a lot; they noticed that I could jump. So after a while Ros Whitten, who was the ballet mistress, said to come to the rehearsals properly so I could actually learn it.
Then we got to the Coliseum season, where I got to do the sprites in Snow Queen. Some people were injured in the Coliseum season, so two days beforehand they said, ‘can you do it?’ and I was like ‘what?’
I hadn’t actually done it. I had been in rehearsals; I had been on the side but I hadn’t physically done it. So I was like okay. In two days, I did it. I didn’t know the mime and I didn’t know the entrances, which they had to write down for me. I was really nervous, but it was a good one. That was the first moment in my career where I was like, it felt amazing.
I just had to trust myself. I think. I know the part, but if I didn’t know something, then just make something up. I remember the whole company watching in the wings. I did a promenade all the way around, and was like, ‘why is everybody watching?’
But I’m sure they must have been happy when you pulled it off.
They were actually, but I was really insecure. So I saw everything in a negative way, but they were probably just interested in the new girl. They wanted to see how good she was– ‘could she cope?’ Somebody came up to me afterwards and said that it was really good, so that was really nice.
It was hard after that because I had such a good role, and then when we came back … nothing. When we did Snow Queen again, I got to dance that part again and then when we did something else, I got nothing.
So that’s what you really have to understand. You get a few moments where you might go up, but there are still those moments when you’re like…aah! Then you realize you’re making it really dramatic and you need to calm down – I’m doing okay!
So even when you were going through your difficulties, motivation was never an issue for you? You knew you wanted to work hard?
I think there’s only been one or two times where I felt like I seriously like I didn’t want to do it anymore – I’d never ever felt it before. I’ve always wanted to do this, no shadow of a doubt.
But I had a really bad spell and I just didn’t feel good about myself. Everything kind of changed. I really was unhappy and I was like, ‘I don’t know any more.’
Then the company had a holiday. I knew that with time I would be okay, but at that precise moment I really needed the break. I think it was probably good that we had the holiday, but then when I came back it wasn’t like normally like when we get back, where I’m like, ‘I want to dance again.’
Was that quite a while ago?
It was about 18 months ago. I think I was learning a lot. I had to go through it to realize what it is to want to be the top. You have to really cope underneath pressure, with what other people think. It doesn’t matter what people think, but when you’re not where you want to be, it does. You want people to think you’re good. You want people to think you can be a principal because that’s what you want.
Yes, because we’re not robots.
What people say affects us.
I was questioning everything. And I think that was fine, but I also had to deal with the consequences of it.
I didn’t do a bad show, but I wasn’t happy with my shows. So I’ve learned from then. If I go through questioning again, that’s fine. But you have to do your work, you have to be on it, you have to prepare for the show the same way, you have to do rehearsals. You can’t be, ‘oh I’m a principal now, I’m going to sit back.’
I think in some ways maybe Tamara [Rojo] wanted me to learn that. That when you become principal, it doesn’t get easier.
I feel more confident now. I’m more established. I don’t have to fight to get people’s attention and say, ‘look I’m good enough. Look! Look! Look! I’ve got it!’
I just need to concentrate on myself now instead of concentrating on other people. But I think you have to know that it’s not like, ‘I’m principal now, it’s all okay.’
I think it was something I needed to go through. I remember saying to my mum in six months’ time I’ll be fine, but I have to go through these six months now. It’s going to be awful, but I think it was necessary. I think I’m better for it.
Has Tamara been a mentor to you?
I haven’t told Tamara herself, but I feel a bit like she’s family – I argue with her! We argue as if I was arguing with someone in my family. But at the same time I still have respect for her. I still appreciate what she does. I still listen to everything she says.
She does things to me that are good for me, but at the time I’m like, ‘why?’
She’s older so she’s more experienced. She knows other things. I just feel like it’s that type of relationship. I don’t know what she feels about me, but whenever we have an argument, I never lose respect for her. I might be angry with her or upset with her and I’m sure she is with me too, but I still appreciate her. I really like her. Nobody’s perfect, but I do really like her.
What kind of positive changes has she brought to the company?
She’s made people look at the company in a different way. She – and I’ve said this to her – she hasn’t just gone like the English way like, ‘oh please if it’s possible, if you have time, just have a look at this company. It’s doing really well.’
She’s like, ‘look mate. Look at this company! It’s bloody amazing!’ She’s literally grabbed everybody and said ‘look!’
She’s obviously got a very clear mindset of where she wants to take the company. I think that she’s got a clear path and will take ENB somewhere. None of us know where – she’s knows everything, but nobody else knows.
All the dancers are there for the journey. And as we go, everything new that she brings – or even if we do something again, we’re just learning more and more. She’s got the big plan. We don’t really know what’s it is, but she has done a lot of good for the company.
Laurretta Summerscales in ENB’s Emerging Dance Competition.
Credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images Europe
I remember watching a video of you when you were nominated for ENB’s Emerging dancer and you were quite forthright about the fact that you wanted to be a principal.
That’s been my goal my whole life. Every birthday I wished for that, every single birthday.
It’s weird that my next birthday I don’t have to do that. It’ll be a different wish. I’m like thinking, ‘oh what wish do I want now?’ It’s like I’ve got everything.
Pony? Make up for those horse riding lessons.
No, no haha!
So you’ve never really been afraid to articulate it. People can be a bit more guarded about it, but for you it’s been very clear.
I don’t want people to perceive me as like a bitch or going behind people’s backs. I just feel like in class I always want to be in the front, I always want to see myself in the mirror. I always want to see my body so I can see what it looks like, so I can do something about it. What you see is what you get.
I don’t want to be like, ‘oh no, I’m fine,’ and then suddenly like, ‘no I really want this!’ But I want to get it fair and square; I don’t want to get it because somebody else is injured or because I’ve tripped somebody up or something.
I want to get it because I deserve it. Because I’m quite out there, I feel like its better just to say it. I find it’s better to be honest. I don’t want people to perceive me as fake.
I care about other people and I want people to like me. I want people to think I’m a good dancer. I want them to think I’m a good person, so I try to be honest the whole time.
I thought that it was refreshing because sometimes women, we are afraid of being seen as too ambitious to come and say you know this is what I want.
A lot of people say about the women thing. I don’t get it because I’m really strong and I push. For me, if I wanted to do something for me, I would just go and do it.
At the moment, there’s a lot of talk because we did the She Said triple bill. It was all about three women choreographers. I understand for Tamara to say she’s been dancing for twenty years and never danced something that was choreographed by a woman.
I feel like if a woman wants to choreograph – just do it!
But maybe I don’t know enough about it to judge, so that’s just my point of view. I haven’t wanted to choreograph. I haven’t experienced the difficulties that are there. And maybe because of my personality, I’m the type of person that’s like, ‘I want to do it!’
Tell me about Swan Lake in-the-round. I know you guys are doing it in June. I’m friends with your colleague Jeanette Kakareka; she and some of the other corps girls seem pretty apprehensive about it. How is it for you, dancing the principal role? What are the challenges that come with dancing in-the-round?
To be honest, I think they’re going to be fine. We’ll have rehearsals. Their stamina’s going to improve. They’ve also done Swan Lake a lot anyway so their stamina’s going to be quite high. I think they’ve got nothing to worry about; I think they just need to enjoy it.
I think the moment before you actually do it is scary, when you do it you’re kind of okay.
Yeah, I think just the anticipation. I think they’ll enjoy it. For me as well, it’s one of my favorites.
I feel like what ENB used to be like versus what it is now is very different. Even before I joined I think it used to be really hierarchical, like if somebody’s there longer, they would shout down the lines at you. But now in the company, it’s really nice. Everybody’s friendly to everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re up here or you’re down here in the rankings. It seems to be just a really nice company.
For me, when I joined the company I found it quite easy because I didn’t have to do the corps de ballet swans, which is very hard. I had to do the extra swans, and I was the last one on so I didn’t have to do a lot of running. I got to do big swans, when you do big swans and cygnets in the round you don’t have to do the walks like you have to in the proscenium version.
So I had it quite easy I think. I loved the space. In my mum’s dancing school, we did a lot of competition And I remember in my last year with my mum, I had 16 dances in total. Sometimes on a Sunday we would have a group rehearsal and I would literally run every single number. I think because of that my stamina is quite strong; I can push myself quite well. My body seems to react quite well.
So with the space I can push, I can travel, I can jump. I loved it. When I got to do my first Odette/Odile, my first proper principal role, it was there in Albert Hall. I loved it. I love the fact that the audience is all around. I love the fact that there are so many people.
I think if you see it as like, ‘oh my god, there’s so many people. Oh my god, so much pressure,’ you’re going to get scared. But if you think of it as just a place to dance and open up, it is amazing.
I was really scared when I did my first Odette/Odile, but I feel like it was one of the best times I had dancing because of the audience. I remember in the fouettes they started clapping before I finished and that really pushed me to finish off the last bit. I felt audience was really with me, and I have really good memories of that production.
Laurretta Summerscales in Van Le Ngoc’s The Four Seasons.
Credit: Dance Europe
Is it very different than when you do it on a normal stage because it is in-the-round?
For me, for some reason, I felt more comfortable in the round.
But the round was the first one I did. I don’t know if the first ballet you learn or the first version you learn is your favorite because it’s the one that’s most engrained. Maybe that’s why I like it more.
When I went to the proscenium afterwards, I felt really isolated from the audience. I think because I got used to that feeling of the audience being around you. Then suddenly, it was very them and me. I felt confident to begin with, but then I started to doubt myself and that’s when I started questioning and that’s when I went through that bad period. Swan Lake in the proscenium for me is not the best memory – but I have really good memories of Swan Lake in the round.
But I did one last performance when I was in a good place in the proscenium and it was fine. I think it’s just I need to do it again and just erase the bad memories.
It’s just an adjustment period.
Yeah, it’s just a learning curve. When it comes on again, I have to be really clever and say to myself, ‘no it’s was just that time. This is Swan Lake. You’ve done it before, you can do it again.’ So that’s what I’m doing when we do it again.
I’m sure it will be better. I will probably look back and be like, ‘I’m grown now. I’m stronger; I can do it. ‘
You’ve been going out with your colleague Yonah Acosta for quite a while.
It will be two years in June. And we’ll be getting married.
Congratulations! Since you guys are engaged and also dance together, what’s that working relationship like?
I think it’s really good actually. My ideal of who I wanted to marry was very particular – I didn’t want them to be a dancer. It was really weird at the beginning when we started talking. I just wanted to be friends. I didn’t want to have a relationship because if it goes wrong it’s going to be so awkward at work. I’d rather just not have anything to begin with, but then he just kept on going.
Yeah, he was quite! Then I said okay.
We’re both quite feisty characters. He’s very strong, I’m very strong. The first two months we really liked each other, but sometimes we would have an argument over the smallest thing, and it would be the biggest blowout ever!
We just didn’t understand each other, didn’t get each other. It’s like, why are you making this such a big deal?
But ever since then we hardly argue at all. We have a relationship where we always banter, joke with each other, always hit each other, quite childish in a way. It keeps the thing going.
But I find with the working relationship, it’s really good for me because he I feel like he’s so grounded and he’s had really good training from the best – Cuban National Ballet.
I don’t know what they put in the water in Cuba; the dancers are just amazing.
Amazing. I feel like everything I’ve learned from him has really helped me as a dancer.
I found a lot of things he’s said to me to be really helpful and also his mannerisms as a person – he doesn’t stress. I feel much calmer now because of him and he always supports me, always helps me.
You know when you know somebody’s right for you because of the way they treat you. I feel like he would drop everything for me. I would never ask him to, but if I did he would.
If somebody is like that to you, don’t let them go because it’s very rare that you find that in somebody.
You found a good one.
Yeah I feel like if I let him go, and I never get with somebody it’s my own fault, you know? He’s so good to me like I couldn’t ask for anything more. Apart from the fact that we argue sometimes!
But we have fun with it. We’re like a team.
Given that ENB travels a lot on tours, what is it like adjusting to jet lag, travel issues and having to dance or rehearse with just a couple hours of sleep?
I think its fine because we are given time to adjust. But I have a problem sleeping anyway just because I have really bad sinuses. I’ve had an operation on them and everything. They’re good, but the air conditioning and the heat changing makes them more inflamed..
Does it make you tired because you’re not sleeping enough?
Sometimes it does, but I think I’m used to it as well. Even if I do sleep a lot, I still feel tired. So it doesn’t really matter if I have a good sleep, bad sleep. I just always want more sleep.
Then how do you find the energy to get up and do an eight hour work day?
I think once I wake up a bit more I’m fine. It’s that initial getting up out of bed. It’s good that it takes Yonah and I a while to get to work because by the time I get to work I’m awake and also I don’t look horrific.
What’s been your proudest accomplishment as a dancer?
Oh my goodness, the journey. I don’t think there’s been one moment, just the journey.
I feel more confident now, maybe because I’m older now or because of the promotion. Maybe it’s a combination of the two.
You know some people say, ‘oh it’s going to be so much harder being principal now so much more pressure and everybody’s going to be looking at you differently.’
That’s true, people will be looking at me differently, but I can’t change as a dancer. There’s no point in putting more pressure on myself because I’m going to end up dancing worse.
I feel like if you overanalyze things too much you’re actually ruining the natural flow. So yes, I need to probably be more analytical and detailed, but also I don’t want to lose my personality because at the end of the day that’s gotten me where I am. If I lose that then I lose why I am.
I don’t think it’s just technique. You need to have a certain performance on stage. I think it’s just maturing. I was thinking about what people say as you get older- it gets worse, it gets harder. I understand maybe physically, but mentally I feel clearer. I can only give it as much as I can and there’s no point in stressing about something you can’t do anything about. That’s all you can do – accept your limitations. Like I want to do that many turns, but I know that I can’t. Maybe I can on one random day, but mostly you have to accept what you have.
I’m very happy with all the good and all the bad that has happened. I’m just happy to be where I am. I’m just really happy.
That’s so nice to hear.
I want to remember this because I know something will probably upset me soon! So I’m going to be really happy for as long as possible.
When your promotion came, was it really unexpected?
No. I kind of knew for a while but I didn’t want to believe it. I told Tamara from the beginning I wanted to be a principal, I’ve nagged and nagged at her. I want to be a principal. She has said to me, ‘well you need to do this better and you need to do that better if you want that. I think you have the potential but you’re not ready yet.’
I kind of asked her again. I said, ‘oh well, I don’t know if you will because I keep on asking and you keep on saying no. I don’t believe you anymore!’
She was like, ‘look this is my plan.’
I was like, okay we’ll see if that happens or not – and then it did!
Finally, what’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?
Work hard and trust yourself.
If you work hard and you put in the right amount of work even when you’re nervous, you will do better than if you don’t put in the work.
But at the end of the day, don’t freak out either. You’ve got to trust yourself, trust that the work you put in will pay off.
And don’t think you’re up there. There are a lot of good dancers out there, a lot of people that work hard. You need to be with everybody, don’t think you’re above anyone because somebody will just come across and swipe you off the floor.
So work hard, stay grounded, trust yourself. Three things.
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Original header image: Foteini Christofilopoulou.