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We had 5 minutes with Phoenix Dance Theatre’s dancer and choreographer, Sandrine Monin, ahead of their performance here at York Theatre Royal on 25 and 26 October. Read on to find out what it’s like to be a pro-dancer and what she really eats for dinner!
What is a typical day like training with Phoenix dance?
A typical day starts at 9.30am with my own warm-up then we have company class at 10am for an hour and a half. The rest of the day is rehearsals, working on the pieces that are on tour or creating new work until 5.30pm with one hour break for lunch. And to finish half an hour to cool down and stretch.
What are the best and worst bits about being a dancer?
Best bits would be being on stage in front of an audience doing what you are passionate about. It is just so rewarding. Worst bits for me would be being injured, when your body doesn’t let you do whatever you want. It can be frustrating but you also learn a lot from it.
What is it like moving to Yorkshire from France?
I actually moved from Germany to Yorkshire! The first surprise was the accent. I was already speaking English in my previous company but it took me a little while to get used to it. But once I got around it, Leeds felt quickly like home, just more wet...
What are your guilty pleasures?
I’m going to sound so very French but if I’m gonna treat myself I’ll have an movie night with cheese and wine.
What was the inspiration for Calyx?
The inspiration for Calyx was “Les Fleurs du Mal” from the French poet Charles Baudelaire. It’s a book I read as a teenager and it left a mark somehow, it always stayed in the back of my head as an inspiration for a piece. So when I got commissioned I jumped at the opportunity.
Do you prefer dancing or choreographing?
I just love both! They are so different. As a dancer I love the physicality of learning steps from someone else and getting your body to move in ways that are not yours. Also you get to go on stage and portray all kind of different characters which is very exciting for me. As a choreographer, you get to create something out of an idea. You devise steps, concepts and then you see things you had in your head become alive in front of you!
Why did you chose the name Calyx for your piece?
I find choosing a title for a piece always very difficult, so it took me a while… I searched all kind of words in connection with my theme. But when I came across Calyx, it just felt right. It was inferring the right idea, connecting the flowers the dancers were portraying and the boxes I was using on stage.
Did you always want to be a dancer growing up?
Really early on, I knew that’s what I wanted to do and hung on to it through training and auditions… It’s a tough industry but it’s worth it!
What food do you eat when you’re training?
I just try to have a diverse diet, eat everything and a lot of veggies and fruits.
What are your best workout tips?
I like to alternate my workouts to not get bored. I like running to build up the stamina in combination with strengthening exercises and finish with stretching. I also do Bikram Yoga. But you also need to take care of your body and make sure you get enough rest, I like to go for sauna or steam room to relax.
Phoenix Dance Theatre return to our Main House with a Mixed Programme featuring Calyx, a new company commission by Sandrine Monin, and two audience favourites, including Aletta Collins' Maybe Yes Maybe, Maybe No Maybe - tickest on sale now, book here.