To The Manner Born

The Royal Ballet’s principal Rupert Pennefather hits the top of his game with noble British understatement.
Published in the April/May 2009 issue.

What do you enjoy most about your career as a ballet dancer?
Being able to transform myself into other characters and also doing pas de deux work.

What do you enjoy least?
Injuries—pain!

To whom or what do you attribute your success?

I owe both Monica Mason and Jonathan Cope for coaching me.

What role that you haven’t danced would you most like to try?

Des Grieux in Manon.

What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen on stage?

Romeo and Juliet
with Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Cope.

Of which accomplishment are you most proud?

Dancing in A Month in the Country opposite Darcey Bussell.

If you could work with any choreographer, living or dead, on a new ballet, who would it be?

Rafael Bonachela, the former Rambert Dance Company dancer-turned-choreographer who now heads up Sydney Dance Company.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone hard-working in the studio and a good partner.

What inspires you?

People from all walks of life who are at the top of their game. The best!

What would you like to be doing 20 years from now?

Either coaching and teaching—or maybe nothing to do with ballet.

What qualities do you admire in other dancers?

Everyone brings something to the stage, but what I admire most is others’ acting skills.

What qualities do you dislike?

When somebody reaches the top and then becomes big-headed.

What skill would you most like to learn?

To play the piano.

Who do you admire most?

Jonathan Cope.

Do you have any qualities that you would consider particularly “British”?

Yes, my name!