The last time Maria performed with the company she was a one of 60 swans, but now she is taking centre stage of the English National Ballet’s lavish production of the timeless fairytale.
Maria gives us an insight into the role that has a special place in her heart:
What inspired you to choose to perform with English National Ballet?
I used to dance with the English National Ballet for four years. I left the company 12 years ago and my last show with them was at the Royal Albert Hall. I was one of 60 swans in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake. It’s very nice to be back. A lot of people are still in the company and I feel like I never left.
How have you prepared to dance Cinderella?
I worked on the creation of Cinderella with Chris Wheeldon back in San Francisco. I’ve done many ballets by Chris over the past 10 years and he’s one of the main reasons that my career took off so it’s wonderful to be back working with him again and dancing this role.
How have you made the role of Cinderella your own, what’s your personal interpretation or approach to the character?
I never like to talk about my interpretation. I would like for people to come and see the show and experience it themselves, as I’m sure each of them will find something different and unique.
Cinderella is being performed in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall, how will this influence your performance to this type of space?
It makes it so much harder. First of all, you’re exposed at 360 degrees and there is nowhere you can hide. You also have to cover double the amount of space when you dance and run. There are moments on stage when you’re so close to the audience they could almost touch you. It’s a very strange feeling considering how massive the Royal Albert Hall is – it’s huge but also intimate.
What is your experience so far of life as a freelance dancer?
I’ve really enjoyed this past year. I’ve done so many new roles. I’ve danced and worked with amazing partners and teachers. Sometimes it gets very tiring with travelling, but it’s been worth it.
What has been the most surprising to you about leaving company life and forging your own career?
I have to very carefully think about every decision I make. When it gets too much I have had to learn how to say no, even when it’s something I really wanted to do.
Which roles would you still like to perform in the future?
I would really like to create new roles and work with living choreographers. There is so much to learn and discover.
What do you love the most about dancing?
What are you most looking forward to when visiting London?
Meeting my friends of many years. Seeing exhibitions and performances. There is always so much going on in London. It’s an incredible city.
What advice would you give to other dancers looking who are considering changing from a company to a freelance career?
Self-discipline is so important when you are freelance.
Book your tickets to see Maria perform Cinderella at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2019.
Read our review of the Cinderella – we loved it!