Ok so BREATHE..... act cool, shake it off like it's no big deal, walk walk ....1,2,3......run back to the change room....
Marianela Nunez wants to feature in my blog?!?!?! HOLY MOLY I swear I must have lost all bladder control when she said yes, but as you will soon find out in my article about her and her time guesting with us in Australia, she is so real, down to earth and the most friendliest natured being that you almost forget that she is Ballet Royalty in the way she gives you her whole self in conversation.
Marianela Nunez is guesting with us at The Australian Ballet for our season of Stephen Bayne's Swan Lake in Melbourne. This visit has been the most anticipated wait for both parties. It is her first guest appearance with us and lets hope it is not the last! She arrived in the early hours last Wednesday and like the superstar she is, came in that morning for class and rehearsed for a few hours, learning our version of Swan Lake with her partner Ty King-Wall whilst still jet-lagged. Is that super human or what?! That's just how Nunez rolls!
Back when I was training at the Royal Ballet School, I was the lucky few to dance quite a bit with the company for seasons like Swan Lake, Giselle, La Bayadere and Don Quixote and I remember watching Marianela in absolute awe! Admiring in her artistry, her pure clean technique and sheer expressiveness. Over 10 years on, nothing has changed. Somehow she has managed to polish that brilliant diamond she already possesses to the highest clarity grade- Flawless.
I feel so privileged to be able to share with you some of my time with Nela. She truly is such a humble artist and despite her very short amount of time with us (5 working days, 2 shows and a whole lot of jet-lag) I am still astounded that she has willingly sacrificed her precious time for my little Studio to Street project. It just displays her gorgeous genuine selfless nature.
On the very first morning she arrived, as she was looking for a barre spot before class commenced she whispered to me, ''I just want to hide somewhere because I just stepped off the plane'', I giggled and suggested the back barre. However when we were half way through barre work the news had spread to the school end of the corridor that Marianela was in the building and before you know it, the windows were filled with young budding ballet students, eyes pressed to the windows trying to get a glimpse of our guesting Etoile. In my mind I was regretting the spot I suggested to her, unknowingly the peering eyes had full view of Nunez at work. But when I looked over to check if she was ok, the unaffected Nunez gave them all a huge warm smile and continued working like normal, giving them memories and inspiration for years to come! Seriously, what an angel!
With Nela's permission I was able to capture some precious moments of her stage rehearsals with Ty, it was such a dream to watch her work. You do quickly realise the fruits of her achievements on stage are not just stemmed from her god sent abilities and natural talent but a testament to her continuous hard work. As we watch her in wonder, I can see absolute wonderment in her eyes as well, still wanting to learn, be challenged and eager to strive for that level of unattainable (but attainable for her) perfection.
After watching her display a flawless black swan solo, we all break off into applause and wolf whistles in admiration but this girl keeps it real and walks over to the side exhaling breaths and expressing how tough that solo is and imagining it to be like giving birth! God, I love her! Marianela says it how it is, she is real, and not afraid to show it!
About her show....
Prior to the lead up of her first show last saturday night, she revealed how nervous she was and eager to want to dance well for us....OMG she is a bona fide human being! I just wanted to hug her, she is the cutest... umm may I remind her, you are Marianela Nunez! All she needed to do is walk on that stage and we would be right in the palm of her hands, SOLD! She also mentioned she just hopes she can dance well tonight so she is invited back....super cute... ah I don't think we will be sending her back, news flash...we are keeping her! Sorry Royal Ballet.
As soon as she stepped on stage, no nerves were detected. You can feel and see she was made for this, Marianela was in her element centre stage and under the dome follow spotlights. She breathed through her glorious back and beyond her finger tips, expanding her wings and taking flight in her first jete and taking us all with her!
Her white swan was mesmerizing. To best describe the way she moved, she did not dance through air, but her body seemed to move through thick hot liquid mercury instead. Every gesture and stride was not rushed. She carefully placed her limbs, eyes and thoughts in a pace where we could appreciate the mechanism of her perfect execution. Her sublime musicality and intelligence behind every step was treaded carefully like gold, and yet it looked so effortless.
Every develope was prepared and handled with precision and utter care like you would open an important waxed sealed envelope from the Queen's royal mail. Every step had a thought and a purpose, she has the purist form of technique in the industry and the most expressive face, arms, legs and body! Nothing was affected, there were no faults or blemishes in her dancing, her artistry depicted her story in 3D form which made you gasp and not realising you, yourself have stopped breathing while watching this creature unfold.
I observed how her perfectly sculpted back is her driving force. It had a life of its own, every time she was partnered in a pirouette her back and swooning neck would uncoil mirroring her legs that unfolded out to a perfectly placed ecarte second. Every part of her body breathed. Her equilibrium is astounding. Her balances had the right amount of grounded-ness and reverse lift in order for her body to have such breathable freedom. Every releve was sustained like she had an invisible parachute, freezing her momentarily longer just for us to be able to gaze and admire that perfect line and moment.
In Act 3, Marianela brought the most sensuous version of femme fatale to her black swan. Her Odile was a mythical creature magically morphed into the body of a women with knowledge of how to get under a mans skin. She danced around the prince, Ty King-Wall like she was a lioness playing with a new toy. It was exciting to watch such confidence having fun with her toy prey. And I say 'prey' as there was one particular moment when she leaned forward to inhale his presence before collapsing in his arms. I am sure the mercury was surely rising at this point in the auditorium. Her performance was flawless, she pierced through the stage like the palace was her own, her artistic approach was sheer magic and so compelling. Hypnotic really. Marianela's luminous and beautifully crafted interpretation of both Odette and Odile is destined to be long remembered among with the best artists of all time.
Watching her has invigorated my love of the art form once again! I am left inspired and if I have learnt anything, it has confirmed and concreted the power of what ballet can do to someone. Her influence is moving and getting to know her has been humbling. She really is a superstar on stage and off! Despite her incandescent reputation, she is sincerely the biggest sweetheart and genuinely the friendliest and warm-hearted girl you could easily chill out with. A true Prima Ballerina Assoluta of our generation, inside and out!
Below is a gallery of images taken during Marianela and Ty's first and only rehearsal on stage. ENJOY!
Photographs taken by yours truly.
Special thanks to Jacob Sofer for lending me his awesome camera and to Marianela and Ty for letting me capture these beautiful moments to share with you. x
PART TWO....Coming soon......!
Watch this space for PART TWO of my feature article about Marianela Nunez. I will be asking her questions about her time with us with The Australian Ballet, life, style, career and MORE behind the scenes photographs of her studio style in KETO Dancewear!