Is it hard to let go of certain ideas or steps that you might love, but ultimately don’t serve the larger ballet?
“Kill your darlings” is the famous phrase, isn’t it? Yes, I have a really hard time accepting that’s what I have to do sometimes. That said, in my real life I love throwing things away. I don’t own furniture, and because I’ve been on the road for 20 years, I can pack a suitcase and be anywhere. It can be difficult cutting something from my work, but the second it’s gone there’s a feeling of total freedom.
Are there any periods of ballet history you wish you could time travel back to? Be a fly on the studio wall?
Probably the 1990s, to observe William Forsythe at work. I think it’s one of the most interesting periods for dancers and dancemakers. All the other progressions and changes in form that happened up until then were subtle, and then Forsythe just went ‘Bam!’ But it all came from the classical technique; he was very specific about that. He’s still making great work, but I would have loved to be part of that great leap.
More time travel: if you could whisper any advice into the ear of your teenaged self, just as you graduated from The Australian Ballet School, what would it be?
Patience. I wish I’d had a little bit more patience in my early career. When I got into The Australian Ballet, it was the first time I’d had a job, had a paycheck, the first time I’d travelled, and the first time I’d really got to make my own decisions. It was sometimes difficult to navigate those things alongside the discipline that’s required of a professional dancer, but I had big ideas and ambitions. I was always wanting the next thing, but I wish I had calmed down a little bit and enjoyed that time for what it was.