Laura Morera as Mercedes in Don Quixote. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Modern Muse: The Royal Ballet's Laura Morera Finds Strength in Self-Acceptance

You've been a muse to Liam Scarlett. What's your relationship like?

I owe him a rebirth. He completely gets me as a dancer. In a place where I've sometimes felt I was too different, he made me fit. His work took me back to all the training at The Royal Ballet School's White Lodge: quick footwork, the use of the pointe shoe, the bending.

What's the toughest part of being a dancer?

When you find something about yourself that you can't change. Until you accept it and start using it for the best and not against yourself, you can be miserable.


Morera and Edward Watson in "Song of the Earth." Photo by Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

Is there anything about your body you would change?

There are things that others wanted to change about my body, and for years there were things that I hated about it. I learned to understand that I shouldn't hate it, because there really is nothing wrong. If I had a different this or that, I'd be a different person.

Even as a principal, you dance a number of soloist roles. How do you handle that?

I love those roles. I don't have an issue with it. With the lead Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, for instance, it's my way of interacting with the company. Because you're with the corps, you get to know people, you see what the young dancers have to offer. If those roles stop you from doing work of your own rank, however, it can be a problem.

What's your biggest indulgence?

Going to healing retreats in Thailand, on Ko Samui island. I've gone on four or five. There's an energy about the place, a bit like "Lost"—without the scary bit! They helped take off the layers that I'd built around me.

What's your most prized possession?

My dad's wedding ring, which I now wear around my neck, with a little heart that we designed after his death.

What advice would you have for young dancers on handling their relationship with their director?

Really believe in what you have, go and ask, but don't play games. At the end of the day, what you want is to be onstage. Try to be nice to the director, but also be heard.

Morera as Lise and Vadim Muntagiroy as Colas in "La Fille mal gardée." Photo byTristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

What has maturity taught you as a dancer?

I have really enjoyed getting older, which is probably a weird thing to say for a dancer. A lot of things happened in my life in the past two years, including the death of my father. It's made me lose the fear that I had. After that, you give it your all, and you forgive yourself a lot more.

What do you enjoy more: performing or being in the studio?

Performing. No matter what's happened in your day or in your life, you can be alone onstage with the music. I think that's why I push retiring more and more—performing is my addiction.

To whom or to what would you attribute your success?

My parents. I teach a lot, and sometimes you come across talent, but the parents don't understand. They don't want to send their children abroad. Mine let me try for The Royal Ballet School, and in my case, it was the only way. There was nothing in Spain.

What makes a good partner?

Someone who has a really similar work ethic—otherwise it won't work. And a similar emphasis on what you're looking for in a performance: If someone is looking to do 50 pirouettes, and I'm more interested in creating more of an atmosphere, we'll probably clash a little bit.

If you weren't a dancer, what would you be?

I like finding people their journeys to travel on holiday, so I'd be some kind of glorified travel agent, or I'd be in public relations. I'd probably be practicing and teaching yoga in Thailand, too!

What's your fashion style?

I love dresses, and I'm a boot person. I buy myself something before every premiere.

Do you have a secret talent?

I can talk for hours, but everyone knows about that!

Latest Posts


Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names and photos to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami CIty Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Academy's New Director on Dream Building During COVID-19

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

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Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

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