Reverence: The Power and the Passion

The Royal’s Marianela Nuñez brings poetic fire to her roles.
Published in the October/November 2011 issue.

Nuñez with Soares in "Romeo and Juliet"

Photo by Dee Conway


Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

I’m a control freak. I do my makeup and hair, then pack everything away before I go onstage. If something is out of place, it makes me  nervous.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes for performance?
I always wear brand-new shoes. I try them beforehand to see if they’ll work, then bash them with a hammer so they don’t make any noise.

You’re planning your wedding to fellow principal Thiago Soares. What will it be like?
We’ve both been working so hard it’s taken us a while to figure out, but we want to have three weddings: One in Argentina with my family and our closest friends; a second in Brazil for Thiago’s friends; and the third is going to be a big party in London, because the company here is like our second family.

Anything in mind for your first dance?

I have to talk about it with Mr. Soares! But we’ve gotten married in so many story ballets that we want to keep it really cozy for our actual wedding. There definitely won’t be a big wedding pas de deux!

Do you fight a lot in rehearsal?
We used to when we were young, but not anymore. We know each other so well, and we’ve toned down our Latin temperaments.

Do you go for sneakers or high heels when you’re offstage?
I’m a high heels kind of girl. I definitely like to dress up. We spend so much time in our ballet clothes that I like to make an impression when I’m on the street.

Is there anything about your body that you’d like to change?
When I was younger I struggled with my weight quite a lot, but as you grow older you get more comfortable with yourself. The only thing I can really complain about is my toes—they look awful!

What was your worst nightmare onstage?
When I was very new in the corps, I did Swan Lake and used to think: OK, whatever happens, just follow the blonde girl in front of you. At one point I got lost, and when I turned around there were four blonde girls. That was one of the scariest moments of my life!