Cultural Life: Melissa Hamilton, ballerina


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The Independent Culture

Ballet: Being a soloist with the Royal Ballet Company means I am pretty much on stage in every production throughout the season, leaving very little time to see other companies performing. YouTube is one of my greatest means of seeing other companies and dancers. I think it can be very detrimental for dancers only ever to see their own company. There is so much you can learn from watching dancers from other companies around the world and it is also important to know there is not just one way of doing something. As great as YouTube is, unfortunately seeing dance on a computer screen in no way compares to seeing it live in theatre.

Films: "Little White Lies" was great – I am a big Marion Cotillard fan. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much as when I watched "Bridesmaids". "Twilight – Breaking Dawn" was the last thing I saw in the cinema and I was seriously disappointed. It's always difficult to watch a film after reading the book because it doesn't fit my vision ( I've read all the "Twilight" saga books).

Books: At the minute I'm reading David Nicholls's "One Day", and before that I read Suzanne Collins's "The Hunger Games". I find reading is a great method of escapism.

Television: I have to admit I'm a hopeless fan of ITV's "The Vampire Diaries" – and even if I'm performing on a night that it's aired, iPlayer means I never have to miss an episode! I think Piers Morgan's "Life Stories" is great and I also watch "Mock The Week".

Melissa Hamilton dances the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Royal Ballet's 'The Nutcracker' until 18 January and is in 'Romeo and Juliet' from 10 January to 31 March at the Royal Opera House, London WC2 ( She dances Juliet from 10 March.