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.

The Conversation
News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
Jolie Rose Lombardo performing at ADC | IBC prior to her diagnosis. Richard Finkelstein, Courtesy Stephanie Lombardo

It was mid-January when 15-year-old Jolie Rose Lombardo first noticed the leg pain. A scholarship student at the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany, the Florida native felt fine dancing through full days of classes and completing her regular school schedule. It was only at night that what appeared to be sciatic pain would shoot down her right leg when she tried to lie down, making resting difficult. After a few sleepless nights, spent mostly standing up, she went to the doctor for an X-ray, followed by an MRI.

Keep reading... Show less
Summer Intensive Survival
Getty Images

It is easy to feel as though the entire ballet year revolves around summer: more hours in the day for dance, and another summer intensive to add to your resumé. You've likely dreamt about which program you want to attend, traveled to auditions and gotten excited about the new challenges in a big city school. But what if you find yourself staying home?

It can feel heartbreaking to watch your peers take off for their intensives. Whether you're staying home by choice or because of injury or finances, you can still improve and have fun at your local studio. Unlike those headed off to big intensives, you have flexibility and money on your side. Jody Skye Schissler, owner of Skye Ballet Center in Herndon, Virginia, encourages dancers to start by asking, "How can you make your summer more focused on yourself and what you need for your future?" Here are tips for making the most of your time at home.

Keep reading... Show less