Football players? They do nothing compared to us
Interview by Alessandro BIZZOTTO
Her father is a former football player, and she still jokes with him about it. “They train two hours a day. For us dancers, two hours is peanuts!”. The first soloist of La Scala Ballet discusses fatigue, camaraderie and her love for her home region, and she reveals why she decided to come back to Italy after dancing ten years with the Semperoper Ballett.
We sit at a table of a café overlooking La Scala Square at the end of a sunny Milan afternoon. I indulge in a soda, Alice Mariani orders a coffee with milk. “I always mix the coffee with milk” she tells me. “I can easily give up the sugar, but I don’t like coffee without milk”.
Born in Massa, in Tuscany, she graduated at La Scala Ballet School and immediately left Italy – she was offered a contract to join the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden, where she remained ten years, until moving back to Milan in 2021. That year she joined La Scala Ballet as a soloist. The following season she was promoted to first soloist. Since then, she already danced leading roles such as Kitri in Don Quixote, the title role in Sylvia, Clara in The Nutacracker, Tatjana in Onegin, Gamzatti in La Bayadère, Medora in Le Corsaire, as well as ballets by Jiří Kylián, David Dawson, William Forsythe and George Balanchine.
When we meet, she is just a few days away from a long-awaited debut – the one as Juliet in Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet. “I have been dreaming for a long time to dance it”, Alice says. She just got out of a dress rehearsal for her own première and is wearing an afternoon tea dress.
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