By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet is currently presenting its last season under Ethan Stiefel’s artistic direction, Allegro: Five Short Ballets. Dance Informa recently caught up with one of the stars of the show, dancer Abigail Boyle.
What is your first memory of dance?
“I was about five and a half years old and standing in class learning 5th position with my arms. I remember pretending that my arms were going to come down and hit my head and making all the other kids laugh.”
How did you get your current job in RNZB?
“I came and did class for two weeks while I was still studying and the artistic director invited me to come to audition.”
What have been some of your highlights while with RNZB?
“Working with Javier De Frutos, working on the role of Mercedes in Don Quixote and dancing Carmen and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.”
Describe a typical day.
“I try to wake up at 7:30 a.m., but it’s more like 7:40 a.m. Then it is a mad rush to get to work by 8:30 a.m. I head straight to the Pilates room to warm up, then it is class, then rehearsals until 5:45 p.m. Sometimes after work I will have a treatment like massage or osteo, and then I go home.”
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
“Injury prevention and maintaining my body.”
What is the thing you love the most?
“Performing. Getting in the zone, being completely immersed in my work during a performance.”
What do you do in your non-dancing downtime?
“I watch movies, spend time with friends – normal stuff.”
How do you cope with nerves and/or stress?
“It is a good thing to be a little bit nervous. I’m at a point where this is my job, I do it every day, so I don’t need to worry about outcomes so much.”
Which roles are on your wishlist?
“I always like being part of a new creation. Our season Allegro, featuring five short ballets, gives me a chance to be involved in something new as well as giving me the variety of dancing classical and contemporary – two genres of dance on one night. I love that.”
Who have been your favourite choreographers to work with?
“Javier De Frutos, Cameron McMillan, Andrew Simmons.”
Who is on your wishlist to work with?
“Christopher Wheeldon, David Dawson, Mats Ek.”
Do you think about a life after dance and if so, how do you prepare?
“Once a dancer, always a dancer.”
What is your advice to recent dance graduates?
Kiwi audiences can see Abigail perform in ‘Allegro: Five Short Ballets,’ featuring works by New York choreographer Larry Keigwin, New Zealander Daniel Belton, Johan Kobborg and George Balanchine. After recently opening in Auckland and Hamilton, Allegro will tour to:
Napier: Fri 8 August at 7.30pm, Napier Municipal Theatre
Palmerston North: Tues 12 August at 7.30pm, Regent on Broadway
Wellington: Fri 15 at 7.30pm, Sat 16 at 1.30 & 7.30pm, Sun 17 August at 1.30pm, St James Theatre
Invercargill: Wed 20 August at 7.30pm, Civic Theatre
Dunedin: Sat 23 August at 7.30pm, Regent Theatre
Photo (top): RNZB dancers in Made To Move programme in 2013 performing The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud choreographed by Javier De Frutos. Photo by Evan Li.