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The Art Of Ballet: A Conversation With English National Ballet Artist Thiago Pereira

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Thiago Pereira, from Minas Gerais, Brazil started dancing at twelve years old and joined the English National Ballet as Artist of the Company in 2022, following his training in Vórtice escola de danças and Académie de danse Princesse Grace. Since then Thiago has appeared in Akram Khan’s  Giselle, Tamara Rojo’s Raymonda, Derek Dean’s Swan Lake, and Balanchine’s Theme and Variations as part of Our Voices at Sadler’s Wells in 2023. Most recently he has also appeared in Johan Inger’s Carmen, Wayne Ealing’s Nutcracker and Mary Skeaping’s Giselle. He will also showcase his talent in the upcoming production of Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall. Thiago is a finalist in this year’s Emerging Dancer competition.

Hosted by Aaron S. Watkin, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Emerging Dancer 2024 returns to a live audience at Sadler’s Wells, London on Friday 24 May. Six of English National Ballet’s most promising dancers, selected by their peers, showcase their talent in front of an eminent panel of expert judges, before one is presented with the Emerging Dancer Award.

This year’s finalists, mentored by their peers, will each perform a classical pas de deux and a contemporary duet in their pairings. Thiago will be performing Satanella pas de deux (classic repertoire), and also a new contemporary dance piece created by choreographer Ching-Ying Chien.

The recipients of the People’s Choice Award, as voted for by audiences throughout the Season, and the Corps de Ballet Award, which acknowledges the work on and off-stage of an Artist of the Company, will also be announced. There will be special performances by 2022 Emerging Dancer winner Eric Snyder and People’s Choice winner Precious Adams.

English National Ballet Philharmonic will perform live, conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Gavin Sutherland.

The Fan Carpet’s Camila Sayers, speaks to Thiago Pereira, about his early beginnings in dance, his passion for Ballet, the essence of interpreting and what being nominated means to him.


Congratulations on being selected as a finalist in this year’s English National Ballet Emerging dancer award competition! Please tell us what this means to you?
First of all, thank you so much for having me. Being nominated for Emerging Dancer means a lot to me because I’ve always watched the award and now being a part of it it’s like living a dream! Of course, I am super excited about it.


When did you first know you loved dancing?
I first discovered my love for dance was when I started jumping around the studio with my friends. I had the best feeling ever and I’ll never forget about it! That’s how it all started.


What has been your career highlight?
My career highlight I would say it’s being nominated as a finalist of Emerging Dancer 2024 by my colleagues at English National Ballet. It’s such a big opportunity for me to show myself on a big stage and represent the whole company as well.


What is your process when interpreting a character whilst still bringing your own uniqueness to each role?
For me, the hardest part of dancing is interpreting the character. That process for me feels like going back to school: learning something new and being challenged. You have to search, watch videos, understand the musicality, learn from other artists… Sometimes it might feel hard to feel comfortable in bringing your own self to the character, but I also find it very interesting, because everyone has a different approach to that. 


What challenges have you faced to pursue your career?
As a ballet dancer we faced challenges every day as it’s not easy to keep ourselves motivated all the time, but also it forces you to work even harder because you always want to get better and better.



What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since becoming a professional ballet dancer?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned since I became a professional ballet dancer is that you have to be there for yourself, and know what you are capable of doing, know your worth and always work hard for yourself and never for what people will think about you.


Can you describe a day in the life as an English National Ballet artist?
My day at English National ballet starts at 10am with a one hour fifteen minutes warm up class, then right after we have different rehearsals depending on which production we are doing. Right now, we are preparing for Swan Lake in-the-round by Derek Deane, which will be at the Royal Albert Hall from 12 – 23 June. As an Emerging Dancer finalist, my rehearsals start after lunch break: I start with the classical piece and then contemporary, which ends around 6pm. Then, I do some personal work at the gym. But normally we all finish the day at 6pm.


What advice would you give to someone wishing to become a Ballet dancer?
Determination and focus on what you want because ballet it’s not easy. But once you have the right mindset you can do anything, so be fully aware and open for everything, the more you learn the more you get better.


What is your dream for the future?
My dream for the future is one day to become a principal dancer and inspire others as I am being inspired today by so many talented dancers!



Official Website

Emerging Dancer 2024 will be available to stream for free on English National Ballet’s YouTube channel from Thursday 30 May, for a limited time of 30 days.

Credit: English National Ballet
Image Credit: Laurent Liotardo

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