B A L L E T Q & A W I T H
Laurretta Summerscales, Principal Dancer of The English National Ballet
Laurretta in our SL4464 Leotard
What do you like to do on your day off?
Watching TV, gardening, teaching, spending time with my family.
If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?
Physiotherapist or teacher.
What do you like to eat? What do ballet dancers eat?
I love chocolate, guacamole, ice cream. Everything in moderation.
EARLY YEARS OF BALLET, BECOMING A BALLERINA
When did you start dancing?
I started tap and modern dance at 2.5 or 3 years old, and ballet at 4 or 5 years old.
What inspires you to be a ballerina?
Other dancers, my workmates. It’s who I am; I cannot stop dancing.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to become a ballerina?
There was no definite decision at one point. It was always what I wanted from a very young age.
Are any of your family members dancers too?
My mother is a dance teacher. She has her own dancing school called “Summerscales Performing Arts” and she taught me to dance. My sister teaches at my mum’s dancing school too.
What made you stand out in school?
I didn’t stand out until I was 13 years old. I think I remembered corrections very well so I improved quickly and I had a lot of energy.
Did you have to deal with rejection? If so, how did you deal with it?
Yes, many, many times. Every dancer has or will in their career. You have to just keep going, work harder and believe in yourself. With time, you will prove others wrong.
BEING A PROFESSIONAL BALLERINA
Do you still remember your first day at the professional company? Were you nervous?
I definitely had a different feeling about myself. I was very nervous, but of course extremely excited. The first part of my dream had come true.
What has been your greatest challenge as a dancer?
Accepting that you cannot control everything. Not everyone is going to like you, and you have to learn that is ok!
As a world renowned ballerina, you have danced all the lead roles. Do you have a favourite role and why?
Juliet. Firstly, the music is so amazing; it tells you what to do and how to feel. Secondly, it’s because of all the emotions that is in the ballet; it is amazing to open up like that.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of being a professional dancer?
Constantly learning and improving, sharing your passion with others, and meeting new people with different ideas.
What is the most important advice you have received as a dancer?
Dance with your heart.
Did you have any major injury? How did you deal with it?
I had stress fracture in my left foot. I didn’t deal with it very well. I put on weight and got depressed. But time went by and it got better. Slowly, day by day, I came back to the real me.
During your dance journey, were there any types of difficulties you faced? How did you overcome them?
People not liking you. Proving you deserve the roles and that you are good at them. I overcame it with experience, age, as well as hard work and determination. You realise others do not matter, just you and your happiness. It really works. Once you find this, others seem to respect you more.
What is your greatest inspiration now?
Everyone, life, family, learning. I love learning and you can learn something from everyone and also through living.
TO ASPIRING DANCERS
As an inspiration to many aspiring young dancers across the world, what advice would you give them when they are at their worst?
Keep going. It is not the end; it’s about the journey. It’s not about where you start; it is about where you decide to finish. Keep learning, keep working hard, respect others, be nice, have an open mind, and most importantly, BELIEVE in YOURSELF!
There is something special in every dancer, what are three things that define you?
Energy. Determination. Very open (I give everything I have to the audience).
What do you wish to do after retiring from dance?
Not 100% sure. I have some ideas, but with all of them it involved passing down to others what I have been taught. I am so lucky to receive such amazing advice and information and I feel it is my duty to pass all of this to the next generation.