Steven McRae is the Principal dancer of The Royal Ballet London with several qualifications and awards including winner of the Prix de Lausanne and the Best Male Dancer at the Critics’ Circle Dance Awards.
Some of his roles include Romeo, The Prince (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Giselle), Des Grieux (Manon), Prince Rudolf (Mayerling), Mad Hatter (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Florizel (Winter’s Tale), Creature (Frankenstein) and more.
-Have you always wanted to become a dancer? How has ballet come into your life?
I grew up in a Motorsport family in Sydney, Australia surrounded by Nitro burning Dragsters. My sister inspired me to start dancing at the age of 7 and I was hooked immediately. I have wanted to dance ever since.
-Your routine must be really busy and full of training. How is a typical day of a principal dancer?
A typical day as a professional ballet dancer can be up to 12hours long. Most days begin at 10.30am and if you have a Performance the curtain doesn’t come down until 10.30pm that night. The days are spent training & rehearsing the multiple productions that we perform consecutively at the Royal Opera House.
-You are a husband, and a father of two. How do you arrange your programme to find time for everyone? Does any of your children show interest on ballet?
Time management is crucial to finding a good work life balance. My family are everything to me so it can be challenging when I am not with them as much as I would like but I hope that I am inspiring them to pursue their own passions later on in life.
-Where can we find you at the moment?
I perform all year long at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden London. Our new season beginnings in September with an incredible selection of repertoire so check out the ROH website for details. ( http://www.roh.org.uk/ )
-I know that last year you have toured Australia with the Royal Ballet. How was to perform back home? Would you ever go back?
Performing back at home in Australia was a very special moment for me. My wife and children were also there surrounded by my family. I would love to take some of what I have learnt and experienced here in london back to Australia at some point.
-If you weren't a principal dancer... what would you do as a profession?
I would probably be Drag Racing with the NHRA in America or designing something cool as an Architect.
-Who or what inspires you at your work?
I am inspired by passionate people. Inspiration can be found everywhere but that inspiration needs to find you working! Many Motorsport drivers have inspired me over the years but of course the dancing greats like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly have been a constant force in my mind.
-And lastly, an advice to all these children and young professionals who have you as their role model.
My advice to young professionals is to be unique.
Don’t be afraid to be different and please don’t try and replicate what anyone else is doing. Celebrate who you are and what you enjoy doing.
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Interview by Christos Christou
Steven McRae on Instagram