Views

Sugar Plum Prep: Watch The Royal Ballet’s Lauren Cuthbertson

Lauren Cuthbertson as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Photo by Tristram Kenton courtesy of The Royal Opera House.

What goes into becoming the Sugar Plum Fairy? This Nutcracker season, The Guardian went behind the scenes at The Royal Ballet to find out, zooming in on principal dancer Lauren Cuthbertson as she prepares for the iconic role.

The video opens with Cuthbertson walking down a gray London street and through the Opera House doors for morning warm up. Although it includes the rehearsal footage you might expect, shot in luscious slow motion, the video also reveals some rituals and quirks you might not. “Toe caps" appears to be the British term for toe pads, I learned. I also had no idea what went into achieving the frosted look of the dancers' hair. (Hint: a can of spray paint, not confection—and lots of glitter!)


Most interesting, however, is Cuthbertson's narration. She says that her pre-performance nerves start to build weeks in advance and, as a principal dancer, it can be lonely at the top. However, the intensity and challenges, grueling as they can be, are necessary: She says the pressure is the driving force of a ballerina's career. As Cuthbertson emerges from her dressing room in a gorgeous tutu, she heads to the wings with a smile fit for the Kingdom of Sweets.

Screenings of The Royal Ballet's The Nutcracker begin in select theaters this Wednesday, December 16. To see if it's playing in your area, visit the The Royal Opera House's website: http://www.roh.org.uk/cinemas.

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

Cauthorn and Strongin, two to watch at SFB, in "Frankenstein." Photo by Erik Tomasson. Courtesy SFB.

Max Cauthorn was an on-the-rise corps member when he stepped into the title role of Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein last February; when the curtain came down, he was San Francisco Ballet's newest leading man. In his first full-length starring role, he carried the physically and emotionally demanding three-hour ballet with fluent technique and a natural charisma. But he didn't do it alone: In her own lead-role debut with SFB, soloist Lauren Strongin brought tenderness and steely integrity to Frankenstein's true love, Elizabeth.

Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Keep reading... Show less
Pointe Stars
Postelwaite and Pantastico's powerful reunion in "Cendrillon." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Lucien Postlewaite's Prince was anything but charming last February in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Cendrillon, Jean-Christophe Maillot's contemporary take on the Cinderella story. He strutted and preened, egged on by his friends. But once this prince met Cendrillon at the ball, his egotism gave way to lyrical grace, from the curve of his neck through his elegant extensions. For her part, Noelani Pantastico embodied the role of Cendrillon, taking us on her journey from a lonely, unwanted stepdaughter to a lovestruck young woman. Both dancers glided through the technically demanding choreography, infusing it with heartfelt emotion. This may be a fairy tale, but the romance felt real.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
via Instagram

Usually, it's the jaw-dropping moments on the stage that leave us equal parts inspired and amazed. But National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina has us totally in awe of her behind-the-scenes routine. A 2015 Pointe cover star (and former Bolshoi dancer), Lunkina shares as many clips on Instagram of her classes and rehearsals as she does glam stage shots. Earlier this week, she shared her floor workout—and you have to see it to believe it.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Best Body
Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet.

This time of year, we're used to seeing dancers embodying the flavors of The Nutcracker's magical Land of Sweets. But the real-life equivalents of those seasonal treats are more than just holiday guilty pleasures, and have benefits that could help you get through a crazy month of performances. Here are a few reasons to indulge in the spices and flavors of the season—now, and all year long.

Peppermint

This powerhouse herb has an abundance of benefits to help you get through a busy performance season. It's been known to aid digestion and help calm anxiety, and one study found that inhaling its vapors may improve athletic performance. Smelling peppermint has also been found to increase focus. You don't just have to get it from candy canes: Try brewing a hot cup of peppermint tea between rehearsals, or to wind down after a long day.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Richmond Ballet dancers show off two adoptable shelter dogs at its annual "Pupcracker." Photo courtesy Richmond Ballet

If you're looking to upstage Clara, there's no better way to do it than with a four-legged furry friend—especially when that furry friend is looking for its forever home. Cue Richmond Ballet: During its December 16 and 21 matinees, the company is teaming up with the Richmond SPCA to present the "Pupcracker," special Nutcracker performances featuring adoptable shelter dogs. Several pups make their stage debut during the party scene as the guests bring their family pets to and from the Silberhaus home. Audience members can then meet—and adopt—the dogs during intermission and after the performance. The SPCA even provides a crate, collar, leash and treats so that patrons can bring their new family members home after the show.


Audience members can meet and adopt featured dogs during intermission. Photo Courtesy Richmond Ballet.

Keep reading... Show less
Videos
Rudolf Nureyev and Merle Park in "The Nutcracker" (1968). Photo by Donald Southern, Courtesy of the Royal Opera House Collections.

Given the thousands of incarnations The Nutcracker has undergone—from tiny-tot productions in small-town studios to grand modern classics—the ballet's Grand Pas de Deux from Act II has remained remarkably intact. With slight variations, most professional dancers have seen its familiar choreography at some point or another. Tchaikovsky's radiant score calls to mind elegant promenades, partnered penchées and slow, supported développés.

Keep reading... Show less
Training
Photo by Taylor-Ferné Morris.

I have flatter feet and want to make them look better on pointe. Are there any special pointe shoes for my foot type? —Joana

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Win It!