Explain your career journey to the Royal Ballet?
After graduating from Canada’s National Ballet School, I joined Northern Ballet where I danced for five and a half years. I then did some freelance work in London with English National Ballet and New English Ballet Theatre before joining The Royal Ballet in 2014.
What’s your most memorable production with the Royal Ballet?
There has been so many that it is hard to pinpoint one. I guess The Winter’s Tale was a memorable moment for me because it was the first production I was involved in the creative process. I was only a cover but last minute someone got injured and I got chucked onstage for the General rehearsal without having even had a single rehearsal in the studio. Luckily it all went well and I got to do all the performances (it was a soloist part and I had just joined the company which was even more amazing!). Other productions I remember fondly are Ashton’s Rhapsody. I love all the Ashton ballets, but this one is my favourite (again I was only a cover and got to do some shows in the end) and Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern.
What was the situation like when the Opera House shut down?
We had just started doing Swan Lake performances and were rehearsing for a triple bill and creating a new ballet. It was a real shock to find out that we wouldn’t be performing anymore, we had prepared it for months and there were only five shows of it. People got told not to come to work that there wouldn’t be any classes or rehearsals until further notice. We were kept in the dark for some time, I guess no one really knew, not even management, what was happening.
What ballet would have happened?
We would have done over twenty more shows of Swan Lake, opened a new McGregor full length ballet, done two or three mixed bills that were coming up in the season.
What keeps you motivated during lockdown?
Knowing that we are all in this together, staying connected with friends and family, doing Zoom classes with my colleagues who are all over the world now. And the sunny weather definitely helps! I have started a blog, isabellagasparini.com, something that I’ve wanted for quite some time and never had the chance to. That has kept me motivated and I am learning a lot from writing and reflecting on things.
What does Royal Ballet do to keep dancers in peak shape?
We have had ballet classes (barre, a bit of centre, pointe work) three or four times a week, yoga, pilates, and strength and conditioning sessions, which include a bit of cardio as well, twice a week. They have also encouraged us to do some running and shared a running programme/routine.
What would you like to do first when this is all over?
I would like to go back to the studios for sure and use all the space!! And can’t wait to be back on stage, but I think that will take a bit more time. Also, I can’t wait to seat at a coffee shop and enjoy a nice cappuccino, catching up with a friend!