Meaghan Grace Hinkis, the Royal Ballet soloist, is about to make her debut as Vera in Frederick Ashton’s A Month in the Country (details). 5 quick questions about that and her dancing life…
When and where did you become aware that ballet was to be your life?
I remember being eleven years old standing at the barre in a private lesson with one of my first teachers and having a moment of complete clarity. I remember thinking “this was it”. It was what I was destined to do and I could not get enough of it. From that moment on, I fell more and more in love with ballet and haven’t stopped ever since!
You are just about to make your debut as Vera in Ashton’s “A Month in the Country” – how are you preparing for the role?
I am about to make my debut – Wednesday evening (5 June 2019) – at the Royal Opera House. I cannot wait. It’s a role I have dreamed of doing since I joined The Royal Ballet. An iconic masterpiece that represents what our company is and a testament to Ashton’s timeless choreography and Chopin’s pure genius. Anthony Dowell, the original Beliaev, and Margeurite Porter, the original Katia, have been in the studio coaching us. I have tried to soak up every ounce of knowledge they have to share. I am so grateful to be able to work with these incredible artists. On top of it all, I get to share it with my former colleague from American Ballet Theatre, David Hallberg, who will be Beliaev in our cast! It is certainly a “pinch me” moment!
Does dancing Ashton ballets come naturally? It’s a different style and people are very protective of it.
Ashton ballets are one of the main reasons why I joined The Royal Ballet. I think it is a “style” that comes very naturally to me. It suits my movement quality and I love the challenge of fast footwork and a lot of “bend”!
You trained in America and danced with American Ballet Theatre. What attracted you to join the Royal Ballet?
The Royal Ballet has some of the greatest repertoire in the world. The Macmillan and Ashton ballets were a huge pull for me. It was an opportunity for me to work in one of the greatest opera houses in the world and learn from people like Dame Monica Mason, Sir Anthony Dowell and so many other legendary names. It was something I couldn’t turn down!
Which have been your favourite RB roles so far? Which roles would you most like to perform in future?
It’s hard to say what my favorite roles have been so far! There’s too many to name but I’ll do my best to name a few! Olga in John Cranko’s Onegin, Lescaut’s Mistress in Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s Manon, Elizabeth in Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein, Princess Stephanie in Macmillan’s Mayerling, Blue Girl in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs and the Sweetheart Couple in Macmillan’s Elite Syncopations. My dream future roles would have to be Lise in La Fille mal gardée, Juliet and Manon.