The 5-minute Interview: Carlos Acosta, Ballet dancer

'I enjoy spending time with normal, non-pretentious people'

The Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, 35, has danced for both the English National Ballet and the National Ballet of Cuba, where he was principal. He has won numerous international prizes and in 1994 was nominated for an Olivier Award. From 31 March until 3 April he will be performing as part of the Spring Dance Season at the London Coliseum

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Going home. I'm at the opera house and I've just finished a performance.

A phrase I use far too often...

"You know" or "You know what I mean". You know what I mean?

I wish people would take more notice of...

The importance of art in society. We need more government support. Not just in the UK – everywhere.

The most surprising thing that happenedto me was...

When my father went to jail. That was very surprising.

A common misperception of me is...

I'm not aware of what people think of me. I think that earlier, I couldn't convince people to believe in me – especially my creating or writing, because to them I was just a dancer. So I had to prove myself.

I am not a politician but...

I think there should be more money given to the arts – everywhere.

I'm good at...

Learning things quickly, especially movement. And I can remember things for a long time.

I'm very bad at...

I can't paint or draw. I just don't have any talent.

The ideal night out is...

Time spent with normal, non-pretentious people just having a good time and learning.

You know me as a dancer but in another life I'd have been...

A musician or a sportsman. I wanted to be a footballer when I was a child.

The best age to be is...

Now. I'm mature but I still have youth – it's a good balance.

In weak moments I...

Just have to have faith in myself and trust the people around me.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Do whatever makes you happy, however you want it. Because life is special.

Alice-Azania Jarvis

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