The Nutcracker, Grand Opera House, York, November 28

Tamara Ledermann  in The Nutcracker

Tamara Ledermann in The Nutcracker

First published in Theatre

TAMARA Ledermann is a new addition to the Vienna Festival Ballet in 2012, having already danced at the Royal Albert Hall and in Israel, China and the United States in her blossoming career.

Tomorrow night, the 24-year-old Londoner will be in York, playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in the London company’s touring production of The Nutcracker at the Grand Opera House at 7.30pm.

Originally, Tamara was to have shared the Plum part with another dancer on tour, but her workload has since spiralled. “The plan was to split the double-performance days, but the other girl has got injured, and I just thought, ‘Well, it’s going to be good for me to do the extra shows’,” she says.

“So I’ve now done maybe six double days, when the body feels pretty heavy and swollen after the two shows. It’s the pulsations in the bunions that you feel.”

Ah, pulsations in the bunions. Not a phrase you expect to read every day in The Press, but such are the less glamorous realities of a dancer’s life.

Nevertheless, in this traditionally short career, you put up with the pain for the pleasure, not least to play the Sugar Plum Fairy – a vision in a “very, very sweet pink tutu, very sparkly, with a tiara; the kind of thing that little girls come dressed in for the matinees,” Tamara says – in Tchaikovsky’s enchanting classical ballet of Clara, her Nutcracker doll and a journey to a kingdom made of sweets.

Having attended ballet classes from the age of four, Tamara had the thrill of dancing in the Royal Albert Hall at only 18 in the English National Ballet’s Swan Lake. “It was definitely the highlight of my career so far. I was the first one on stage in the corps de ballet as I was the smallest, so there was a lot of pressure, but I settled into it pretty quickly,” she recalls.

Tamara spent almost three years with Israel Ballet, based in Tel Aviv. “Everyone speaks very good English there, so I didn’t have any problems and you try to integrate yourself too,” she says. “I didn’t feel in any danger in my time in Israel, as it was very quiet and Tel Aviv is a very cosmopolitan city, feeling almost like New York.

“So it’s not that much of a culture change.”

Unlike China, which she visited in 2009 with Israel Ballet’s production of Cinderella. Eating the right food for a dancer was a “nightmare” challenge, but performing in Beijing was “incredible”. “We were in the newly built New Grand Theatre, which was massive: you couldn’t even see the back of the theatre, and it was scary to think about that but exhilarating.”

Coming next for Tamara will be Vienna Festival Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty.

“I don’t know which role yet, but we start rehearsing at the end of January after a bit of time off,” she says. “But I’m not a big one for holidays. One week is usually enough for me before I want to dance again.”

• Box office: 0844 871 3024 or atgtickets.com/york

 

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