Royal Ballet first soloist Anna Rose O’ Sullivan is currently performing in Concerto / Enigma Variations / Raymonda Act III and soon to be appearing in The Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia at the Royal Opera House. She tells Ruth Comerford about the advice she’s received as a ballet dancer and the roles she hopes to perform in the future.
How did you become a ballet dancer?
I don’t come from a family of ballet dancers, no one in my house dances. My family has really stood by me with ballet; it’s been so lovely as I’ve had their support, but it was something that came from me. My mother took me to classes when I was a young child and I was encouraged by the teachers. My mother was really supportive. I was always putting on shows at home, using the fireplace hearth as a stage. I followed my passion and worked hard. There’s an element of sacrifice, but I’ve never felt like I missed out because it was something I really wanted to do. If you apply yourself to something, it pays off in the future.
What is the best piece of advice you have received as a dancer?
Never lose your special something, always keep what makes your different. When you’re dancing, you’re being yourself, stay true to the way you feel you want to interpret the dance. Obviously you have steps to learn, but you have to tell the story in your own way.
Could you describe a highlight of your career so far?
There’s been many, but last season performing Romeo and Juliet with my friend Marcelino Sambé was a really special moment. I had my family watching, it was a dream role.
What role would you love to dance in the future?
I’d love to do them all. I’ve always loved telling a story, and there are so many beautiful ballets that do that. Aurora [in The Sleeping Beauty] was one that I really desperately wanted in my heart, so when the casting came out I couldn’t believe it. I’d love to do Giselle one day, Cinderella is also beautiful, there’s so many, and the MacMillan ballets.
What advice would you give to young dancers?
Stay true to yourself as an artist and a person. Respect people around you, because that’s a really important thing to have; camaraderie and respect in a company makes it a nice environment in which to produce art.
What would you improve in the industry?
It would be lovely to reach out to more people. I think the live cinema relays have been positive, because it means people who regularly come to the Royal Opera House aren’t the only people who see this wonderful art form. So I would like more people to have the opportunity to see it and witness how lovely it is.
Training: Royal Ballet School (2005-2012); Royal Ballet Company (2012 to current
First professional role: Amour in Don Quixote at Royal Opera House (2013)