January 28, 2013
It’s very unusual for boys to do ballet in my hometown, Torremolinos, on the south coast of Spain. I started ballet at seven, after being inspired by a TV relay of Romeo and Juliet from The Royal Opera House with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. My teachers thought I had the right aptitude to become professional, so, from a very young age, I was serious about my training.
I did a summer school at The Royal Ballet in Britain and they asked me if I would like to join the school that same year. The board of the school found me a grant, so I had two weeks to pack and move to London from Spain.
My time at the school was very exciting. I had never had a male teacher, nor been in a class with only boys. I hadn’t done any partnering work, so it was all really new and challenging for me.
I got a contract with The Royal Ballet Company in 1993 and it was such a wonderful feeling of joy and relief. Being promoted to First Soloist in 2002 was a big step, as you only do featured roles.
I tend to wake up as late as possible, then I head into work for our morning class at 10.30am and into rehearsals for the rest of the day. We rehearse from noon to 6.30pm or stop at 5.30pm on a performance day to have a couple of hours rest before the show. If I have any breaks I try to fit in some Pilates, Gyrotonic, massage, physiotherapy or anything else my body is demanding of me. My main meal is always at the end of the day, which means a very late night after a performance. Hence me not being a morning person.
At this point in my career, I don’t actually aspire to any new big roles. I’m happy with the repertoire I’ve acquired over the years. But I still enjoy the challenge of working with new choreographers.
I’ve been very lucky to sustain my position for more than a decade. Certainly hard work plays a big part and I’ve maintained my physical fitness and health. I look after myself pretty well. I hope to carry on dancing a little longer and, after that, go on to teach and coach.
The fact that my passion is what I do for a living is a wonderful thing and I have been lucky to travel and work with so many different people. It has really opened my horizons. Dancing a leading role while on tour in Japan has definitely been one of the highlights of my career.But it’s also a very hard job to do. You put everything on the line, including your pride. You’re always exposed and that can make you really vulnerable. However, I prefer not to dwell on low points – you learn from them and you move forwards with more experience, strength and determination.
© 2013 Associated Newspapers Limited