Ballet Stars

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

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

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!

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