Interviews

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer 2020 Competition – 5 Questions to 6 Finalists

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition is unique in British ballet in throwing the spotlight on more junior dancers or "the excellence of the Company’s young talent,” as ENB put it. This year’s competition is live-streamed from ENB's London studios on 22 September and ahead of the that we talk to the finalists – Ivana Bueno, Carolyne Galvao, Miguel Angel Maidana, Victor Prigent, Emily Suzuki and William Yamada...
The 220 ENB Emerging Dancer finalists: Ivana Bueno, Carolyne Galvao, Miguel Angel Maidana, Victor Prigent, Emily Suzuki and William Yamada. © Karolina Kuras. (Click image for larger version)
The 220 ENB Emerging Dancer finalists: Ivana Bueno, Carolyne Galvao, Miguel Angel Maidana, Victor Prigent, Emily Suzuki and William Yamada. © Karolina Kuras. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet’s
2020 Emerging Dancer Competition

Tuesday 22 September 2020, 7.30pm
Live-streamed performance from London – cost £5, full details

www.ballet.org.uk

English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition, and the companion People’s Choice Award and Corps de Ballet Award are unique in British ballet in throwing the spotlight on “the excellence of the Company’s young talent,” as ENB put it.

This year’s competition is live-streamed from ENB’s London studios on 22 September when 6 dancers, selected by their peers, perform live solos and duets before a panel of judges. And for the first time the live viewing audience will be able to vote for their People’s Choice Award winner on the night. Also revealed on the night will be the recipient of the Corps de Ballet Award, acknowledging the work on and off stage of a member of the company’s Corps de Ballet chosen by the ENB artistic team.

Emerging Dancer finalists 2020.<br />© Laurent Liotardo, post-production by Nik Pate. (Click image for larger version)
Emerging Dancer finalists 2020.
© Laurent Liotardo, post-production by Nik Pate. (Click image for larger version)

We asked all 6 of the 2020 finalists the same 5 questions…

    Ivana Bueno
    Carolyne Galvao
    Miguel Angel Maidana
    Victor Prigent
    Emily Suzuki
    William Yamada

 

Ivana Bueno.<br />© Karolina Kuras.
Ivana Bueno.
© Karolina Kuras.

Ivana Bueno

How was the Covid-19 lockdown for you and what do you do when you don’t do ballet?

The Covid-19 lockdown was something that took me by surprise and it was like a stop to everything that was going on at that moment. First it felt very weird to be at home all day and I was getting very bored, but by the middle of it I started to take advantage of the time and started to do things that I was not used to doing. I learned some new cooking and baking recipes and did some other activities and workouts.
 

Where and when did you realise you just had to be a dancer?

It wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13 years old that I wanted to be a ballet dancer, but I didn’t really know all the sacrifices that it takes in order to be professional, so I had my doubts at some points but I never gave up and here I am, with no regrets at all.
 

What are your top 3 dance moments? And what role do you most want to do?

When I was little I enjoyed a lot doing competitions so I could say preparing for them are some of my favourite memories as well as when I got to go to Italy for 3 months to train with my ballet teacher.
 

Ivana Bueno, 2020 Emerging Dancer finalist.<br />© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)
Ivana Bueno, 2020 Emerging Dancer finalist.
© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

My favourite moment on stage is for sure my last year in school at the Princess Grace Academy (2018) that was my graduating year and I got to do some really nice pieces on stage.

I would like to get to dance the lead roles in some of my favourite ballets during my career, including Don Quixote, Manon and Romeo and Juliet.
 

Who are your dance heroes?

I had a lot of role models when I was a child and used to want to be exactly like them. Nowadays as a professional dancer, I enjoy being myself but getting inspiration from the big stars of ballet rather than wanting to be just like them. I see them dance and they inspire me to add some of the details that they do while dancing and add them into my ballet technique and dance.
 

What is your biggest dance wish?

I just want to be able to inspire the new generation of ballet dancers as well as bringing joy to the people who come to see me dance. I want them to go home after a show being very happy.
 

 

Carolyne Galvaov.<br />© Karolina Kuras.
Carolyne Galvaov.
© Karolina Kuras.

Carolyne Galvao

How was the Covid-19 lockdown for you and what do you do when you don’t do ballet?

The lockdown for me was a weird time because I was trying to keep myself busy and in shape as much as possible. Most of the days I felt very motivated to work and do ballet class but some others days, I just didn’t feel motivated to push myself! At the end I found a routine that when I didn’t do ballet class I would do a workout or another thing to entertain myself.
 

Where and when did you realise you just had to be a dancer?

I realised that ballet was the right place for me when I was performing for the first time on stage. It just felt good and comfortable!
 

Carolyne Galvaov as a swan in <I>Swan Lake</I>.<br />© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)
Carolyne Galvaov as a swan in Swan Lake.
© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

What are your top 3 dance moments? And what role do you most want to do?

My favourite dances at the moment are Don Quixote, La Bayadere and Manon. The role I would love to perform one day is Manon!
 

Who are your dance heroes?

One of my favourite dancers is Alina Cojocaru, she is such an amazing dancer and she has inspired me a lot.
 

What is your biggest dance wish?

I hope I achieve all of my goals in my career as a dancer!
 

 

Miguel Angel Maidana.<br />© Karolina Kuras.
Miguel Angel Maidana.
© Karolina Kuras.

Miguel Angel Maidana

How was the Covid-19 lockdown for you and what do you do when you don’t do ballet?

The lockdown was very difficult for me because I missed the ballet studios and my friends a lot, but on the positive side it has helped me to think more about myself and focus on my goals. I was trying to get in shape by doing a lot of cardio, pilates and a little of ballet barre in the morning. To entertain myself I watched a lot of movies and doing video calls with family and friends.
 

What are your top 3 dance moments? And what role do you most want to do?

My top 3 dance moments are, the final of the Prix de Lausanne, my first show with English National Ballet and when I had my debut as a Birbanto in Le Corsaire.
 

Miguel Angel Maidana in Rudolf Nureyev's <I>Romeo & Juliet</I>.<br />© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for full/larger version)
Miguel Angel Maidana in Rudolf Nureyev’s Romeo & Juliet.
© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for full/larger version)

Who are your dance heroes?

My Dance heroes are Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carlos Acosta, Peter Schaufuss and Fernando Bujones.
 

What is your biggest dance wish?

To enjoy as much as possible, the dancer’s career is very beautiful but very short at the same time so I want nothing more than to enjoy and give everything of me to the audience.
 

 

Victor Prigent.<br />© Karolina Kuras.
Victor Prigent.
© Karolina Kuras.

Victor Prigent

How was the covid-19 lockdown for you and what do you do when you don’t do ballet?

The lockdown was a rough experience for me and I certainly did not expect to stay home and away from work for nearly four months. It was definitely scary and stressful at times but you have to find something to keep your mind busy. For me, that was reading, trying to learn the guitar and calling friends and family to keep in touch with everyone. It’s very easy to let yourself go and forget about the outside world when you are stuck at home. I am just glad we are now able to meet friends again and go for a drink after a long working week!
 

Where and when did you realise you just had to be a dancer? 

There wasn’t a moment I could pinpoint and tell you “This is when I knew”, it just happened through dedication and people believing that I could become a dancer.

I started dancing when I was 6, in French Guyana, and had an amazing teacher who just made you love ballet and yourself doing it. She was very caring for all of her students and many of them have become professional. At such a young age, I believe passion is transmitted and I am forever grateful for everything she taught me.

Another immense inspiration for me is a teacher I met when I was 13 back in France. She is the first person to tell me I would one day be a professional dancer and she always believed in me and pushed me to achieve my goals and my dreams. I still go and see her and take classes with her when I get some time off and return to France.
 

Victor Prigent and artists of English National Ballet in <I>Le Corsaire</I>.<br />© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for full/larger version)
Victor Prigent and artists of English National Ballet in Le Corsaire.
© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for full/larger version)

What are your top 3 dance moments ? And what role do you most want to do?

I have always wanted to dance Siegfried in Swan Lake, ever since I have been dancing. It’s a classic and it still gets me every time we dance it or I watch it.

I have seen a piece by Crystal Pite called Revisor back in March at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre and what to say… The level of the dancers, the simplicity and at the same time complexity of the choreography, the music, the work on the lighting and the set design… Everything about the piece was perfect in my opinion. Someone with no knowledge of ballet or dance could go watch it and be left mindblown afterwards. You’d leave the theatre thinking about what you watched for the next week. So yes, I could definitely hope and wish to one day dance something that would leave people in the same state haha !
 

Who are your dance heroes?

There are so many dancers I look up to within the English National Ballet, I could not just name of a few of them. The artists that move me most are those that are capable of making a ballet look interesting and capture your entire attention and leave you in awe, even when you have seen that ballet a thousand times and have been in every rehearsal all the way through the performance.

All of my close friends are also a big inspiration to me due to their hard work, dedication and love for our artform. Surrounding yourself with people that bring out the best in you and help you grow as a dancer and artist is the most important value in our job.
 

What is your biggest dance wish?

My biggest wish relates to your question about what role/ballet I most lust to do. I wish to one day dance a ballet or a piece in which the amount of work put in comes to an end and becomes the performance and leaves you in a state of fulfilment and accomplishment so intense, it feels like you’ve left a piece of yourself on stage and left a mark on the people watching you from the audience.
 

 

Emily Suzuki.<br />© Karolina Kuras.
Emily Suzuki.
© Karolina Kuras.

Emily Suzuki

How was the Covid-19 lockdown for you and what do you do when you don’t do ballet?

Lockdown was one of the hardest and strangest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I wanted to try something more and more but there was no space like I used to have in the studio, so it was very hard to keep myself motivated.

The only thing that I liked about the lockdown situation was that I could think about my life so deeply because I had so much time. I meditated and I was trying to make myself happier and I took care of myself more than before. The lockdown actually helped me mentally and it made me appreciate everything more than before.

In my free time I like to bake some cakes or cookies on the weekend. It makes me so happy when I smell freshly baked sweet things.
 

Where and when did you realise you just had to be a dancer?

I always wanted to find something where I can express myself, and when I was 5 years old I watched one of my sisters ballet performances and that is when I started to think about becoming a ballet dancer.
 

What are your top 3 dance moments? And what role do you most want to do?

My top 3 ballet moments are Prix de Lausanne, the summer performance in my final year at English National Ballet School where I performed title role from Raymonda and dancing the ‘Chosen One’ from Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring.
 

Emily Suzuki and James Streeter in Pina Bausch's <I>Le Sacre du printemps</I>.<br />© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)
Emily Suzuki and James Streeter in Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre du printemps.
© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

I would like to dance the roles of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Rubies in Jewels.
 

Who are your dance heroes?

I get lots of inspiration from Gelsey Kirkland, Ulyana Lopatkina and Tiler Peck.
 

What is your biggest dance wish?

I would like to bring back the beautiful artistry and true techniques of dancers that I love to watch from 40-70 years ago. In the future I think we should be thinking about what ballet is and we shouldn’t forget about those great dancers of the past and what people really want to watch and feel from dancers.
 

 

William Yamada.<br />© Karolina Kuras.
William Yamada.
© Karolina Kuras.

William Yamada

How was the Covid-19 lockdown for you and what do you do when you don’t do ballet?

Lockdown was very unique and unusual, especially for dancers, as we are constantly on the move. From home I manage to do some daily stretches and exercises but it’s not like the real thing, so getting back to full fitness is very important. I can’t wait to be in stage and perform in front of live audiences! When I don’t dance, I like to read Japanese books and articles, catch up on films, watch Chelsea football, eat and sleep!
 

Where and when did you realise you just had to be a dancer?

I was 9 years of age in Hokkaido, Japan, at my mother’s ballet studio watching rehearsals for Swan Lake and really wanted to be part of it. That was how I started my ballet life. I was the boy bringing the bow for the Prince in Act 1. I took the role gleefully and from that day knew I wanted to be a dancer.
 

What are your top 3 dance moments? And what role do you most want to do?

The day I first performed as a professional dancer is most memorable. My first ever performance was Swan Lake in Barcelona with ENB.
 

William Yamada and English National Ballet dancers in rehearsal for <I>Creature</I> by Akram Khan.<br />© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)
William Yamada and English National Ballet dancers in rehearsal for Creature by Akram Khan.
© Laurent Liotardo. (Click image for larger version)

When I received an email from ENB saying Tamara wanted me back to audition for the company, what a great moment that was!

Every time I am on stage performing with great dancers at ENB.

My most desired role is Romeo. In fact any role where I can express my feelings is very desirable to me. I find expression easier through dance than words.
 

Who are your dance heroes?

It has to be my mother. She is my hero! She had a very short career as a dancer because she broke her back when she was 21, but she always gave 100% from her soul wherever she danced. I respect her the most as a dancer, person and mother. I would not be where I am without her. Thanks mum, I owe it all to you!
 

What is your biggest dance wish?

Through dance I would like to become influential enough to be able to contribute positively to society.
 
 

About the author

Bruce Marriott

Bruce Marriott is editor of DanceTabs

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