Close-up: Begoña Cao
The dancer knows what ballet needs: John Sergeant in a tutu...
Sunday 07 December 2008
At this time of year, most of us are either sinking into hibernation or gearing up for the party season. For Begoña Cao, neither is an option. Over the next four weeks, she will be not only dancing principal roles in the English National Ballet's productions of The Sleeping Beauty and Manon, but also performing a handful of roles in seasonal favourite The Nutcracker.
"I will be pretty much living in the theatre over Christmas," says the 29-year-old cheerfully. "But when you start being given principal roles you take them on top of your other work – it's demanding, but I enjoy it. The more you dance a role, the more you build the character, which is more rewarding."
For Cao – London-born of Spanish parents – The Nutcracker has particular significance as the ballet in which she made her performing debut as a child. "My first taste of being on stage was as one of the snowflakes and I loved it."
And Cao says this new production has plenty of surprises in store: "Not only is it different choreographically, the set design is by the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, and it's very contemporary – we have snowflakes jumping out of a fridge, a character called Viagra, and the grandfather has a Zimmer frame."
How does Cao think her craft fits with the nation's renewed love of dance? "I'm surprised no one has made a reality show about ballet," she says. Could she turn a John Sergeant into a fleet-footed dancer? She giggles. "Yes, but it would require a strict, military regime!"
'The Sleeping Beauty' runs to 14 December, 'The Nutcracker' from 17-30 December, and 'Manon' from 2-11 January at the London Coliseum, London WC2 (0871 911 0200). Visit www.ballet.org.uk for details
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Jeremy Clarkson courted by Russian Ministry of Defence TV station to present motoring show
One Direction fans campaign to buy the band after Zayn Malik quits
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest