A Principal at The Royal Ballet, Marianela Nuñez is one of the company’s most electric leading ladies. Having joined The Royal Ballet at just 16 years old, Marianela has picked up numerous awards and performed at venues across the globe during the course of her career to date. Born in Buenos Aires and based in London, we caught up with Marianela for an insider look into life at the Royal Ballet and why London is “the best place in the world”.
You’ve been a Principal at the Royal Ballet for many years. What’s the most challenging role that you’ve had to date? How have you evolved as a dancer since joining the company?
I have been a Principal dancer for 11 years now. Every role I have done has been a challenge, every role I do is very special to me so I always work hard to improve the way I dance them, and this is what I love. Every role I perform makes me grow as an artist, and all the roles I dance make me evolve as a dancer. I am a very lucky person as I have the full range of repertoire and roles and this really has helped me to grow as a dancer, I am a very lucky girl.
How often are you able to return to Buenos Aires? What do you miss most about the city of your birth?
I go back to Buenos Aires once a year when we get our summer holidays here (winter time in Argentina). What I miss the most from Buenos Aires is my family, as I have a big family and I miss having them around.
How do you predict London’s ballet culture will evolve over the course of the next few years? Do you see it gaining popularity amongst the younger generations?
You know I have a lot of 5, 6 and 7 years old fans that always come to watch my shows and they are always aware of what is happening in the ballet world – it is amazing. Ballet is a very special art form and I think it brings so much to people that it will always go from generation to generation.
Aside from the Royal Opera House, what would you say has been the most memorable venue you’ve performed in?
We are very lucky at The Royal Ballet as once a year we have an international tour and we get to go to wonderful places. We always get to perform in beautiful venues, and for different audiences. Every place I dance is memorable to me and every place we go is a wonderful experience, but I always love to come back to London and perform at the Royal Opera House. This is HOME for me and the most special place.
Give us some background about Carlos Acosta’s new production of Don Quixote. What will make this production unique?
This new production of Don Quixote is going to be fantastic. The Company and myself are very happy at the moment getting it ready to go on the stage on the 30th of September. Great dancing, great choreography, great costumes and sets and a brilliant orchestration. Everyone will come out of the theatre with a big smile on their face.
As your husband, Thiago Soares, is also a dancer, do you live a life filled with ballet? Do you ever take, or desire to take, a break from the ballet world?
Thiago and myself have been together for 11 years now, we have grown together as artists and as people. He is an amazing artist and I learn a lot working with him. We are very lucky that we can share all our special moments together on and off the stage and it’s wonderful that we can understand each other as we do and share the same passion. We have a lot of friends both in and outside the ballet world so we have a lot of fun in our free time. Thiago is a very fun person and loves doing lots of things, he never stops. He is full of ideas and plans all the time and I admire this and him very much. We love to go and see things during the weekend – London is the best place there is as there is so much to see and do and we make sure we do this to the full.
You’ve now been settled in London for quite some time. What attracts and inspires you about the city?
For me London is the Best City in the World, I love every place in the city and the feeling London has. And I was saying before there is always so much to see and do. And you get the chance to meet really inspiring people. I really mean it when I say is the best place in the world. I Love this city!!!!
Where are you based in London? What are your favourite parts of your local neighbourhood?
We bought our flat two years ago in Highbury and Islington. We always lived in West London and we didn’t know North London very well. But now it’s one of my favourite areas. We live 10 minutes from Upper Street, full of little cafes, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Very cool.
Any special local knowledge – favourite restaurants, cafes, theatres, etc to recommend, that are more under-the-radar?
Ottolenghi is one of my favourite places in the area – great for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ballet lovers coming to London shouldn’t miss the chance to see a performance at the globally acclaimed Royal Opera House, home to the Royal Ballet. Britain’s largest ballet company, the Royal Ballet was founded in 1931, and has since then cultivated a reputation for excellence and superlative artistry.
The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, just a short stroll down the road from The Royal Opera House is perfectly located for ballet lovers.
Don Quixote runs from 30th September to 6th November 2013.