News: Eric Underwood: Dancers aren't angels

Tuesday 19 May 2015 by Clare Evans

Eric Underwood 
Photo: Owen J Reynolds /

Becoming a professional ballet dancer requires a huge amount of discipline and sacrifice, there’s no doubt about it. But Royal Ballet Soloist and professional model Eric Underwood wants to dispel the idea that it’s all clean eating and early mornings. He sets the record straight in an interview with Disorder Magazine, claiming “dancers are no angels”.

“If I could, I would do a reality TV show on ballet dancers because I think people have a warped view of what we’re like behind closed doors,” said Underwood, who cheerfully admitted to a fondness for cigarettes and coffee. “They think we go home and lay in velvet and constantly stretch, which is not the case. It would be fun to see them going out, drinking, having one-night stands, doing whatever they want to do, which is normal – I think it’s important to show that side because people think we’re f——— angels.”

He went on to criticise the film Black Swan, which depicts a gruelling and intense world of ballet, which Natalie Portman’s ingenue character struggles with.

“(It’s) so clichéd, so stereotypical and so far from the truth. We’re not so angelic and, to be honest, the ones that are, are s—-. I don’t mean to be rude, but you need to have a personality and vibrancy to be interesting in order to evoke art. You can’t just be a doll. I think a lot of dancers are afraid of imperfection; I don’t think it’s the way to go.”

Underwood was discovered in his native Washington DC and joined the Royal Ballet in 2006 from the American Ballet Theatre. He was promoted to soloist in 2008.

Proof he’s human:

Read more: The Guardian, 16 May 2015

Eric Underwood is currently appearing in Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works. For more on his life, follow @EricUnderwood1 on Twitter.

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