Feature: The Everyday Dancer

Friday 11 November 2011

'The Everyday Dancer' by Deborah Bull Published by Faber & Faber
Hardback RRP: £14.99

Deborah Bull danced with the Royal Ballet for over 30 years, joining the Royal Ballet School at 11, and graduating into the company in 1981 at the age of 18. Over the next twenty years, first in the corps de ballet and later as Soloist and then Principal, she danced roles across The Royal Ballet’s repertoire, from traditional classics to contemporary new work.

Her new book The Everyday Dancer gives fascinating insights into the world of the ballet dancer. It’s an unstarry account – the daily routines of class, costume fittings, preparing shoes, the timing of meals, those precious moments of preparation before curtain up and then dancing on stage at the Royal Opera House. It also follows the course of a dancer’s life – from first dance lessons at seven, to retiring from dancing professionally with The Royal Ballet before the age of 40. Her intention is, she says: “to create an honest account of what it is to be a dancer. Not the sensationsal head-lines, nor the glamorous veneer, just the real, everyday, and, at the same time, remarkable experience of dancing for a living.”

Right at the end of her career, Deborah Bull was one of the first Royal Ballet dancers to work with the then emerging contemporary choreographer Wayne McGregor, later to become Resident Choreographer with the company. In the chapter on New Work she describes the challenges and excitement of working with him: “We felt like novice dancers again, unable to follow instructions at this kind of speed and incapable of repeating a movement with any degree of precision. And then, when our brains were as scrambled as the choreography, we moved into another dimension altogether: ‘Pick a point in the room and describe it with your hips.’ Eh? They didn’t teach us that at White Lodge.”

We have three copies of The Everyday Dancer to give away! Enter here

Deb Bull book

Competition closed Friday 11 November 2011 at 5pm

Watch these clips of Deborah Bull talking about The Everyday Dancer

Deborah Bull on The Everyday Dancer from FaberBooks on Vimeo.

Deborah Bull on her life as a dancer from FaberBooks on Vimeo.

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