"Andrea Carrucciu, 26 years old, is Sardinian, as his name implies, but at the age of five he moved to La Spezia, Italy. He began dancing at 4 years old and was a student at Ballet Junior from 2010 to 2011.
I first met Andrea when he was a young "ex-pat" in Rotterdam where he was studying dance at Codarts before joining Ballet Junior. He was 17 years old and he stayed there for two years.
After Codarts Andrea went back to Italy to have a major operation on his knee which left him bed bound for six months."
Interview by Caroline Bertoldo
1) How did you cope during this difficult time
This was the moment when I decided that I really wanted to be a dancer: when you have to stop for such a long time, when your knee hurts and you simply cannot dance you have the time to think carefully: I said to myself that when my knee had recovered I really wanted to dance. In fact you could say the operation was a good thing. When you are dancing you are in the moment and you don't often have time to think. Sometimes it's good to stop for a month if you can choose to. For me, stopping was key, even though it wasn't my choice, and it made me realise "I want to do everything I can to succeed".
2) What have you been doing since leaving Ballet Junior?
I looked for a company where I could also express my own creative language. Having danced with a company in Portugal I went to London for a two month project and then joined BalletBoyz, following an audition.
3) How did you join BalletBoyz?
I was already in London and I didn't know if I wanted to continue working freelance or try and be part of a company. I saw that there was an audition for BalletBoyz and I went along without any real conviction: the name BalletBoyz is misleading: it sounds like it's a brand or a rather artificial marketing tool and I wasn't sure about it.
The BBC had made a documentary about the two directors who used to be principal dancers with the Royal Ballet. In fact the name BalletBoys came from the TV documentary; the company has continued to grow since and the name has stuck. People know the name and it works well because people know straightaway that it's an all-male company.
The company also does film work and documentaries with the BBC and Sky Arts. I've taken part in three documentaries for the BBC and I did a solo for Channel 4.
In November 2015 we were in Normandy to make a feature length dance film on the War, choreographed by Ivan Perez: it was a collaboration between the BBC and Arte. The film is called "Young Men" and is released next November. We shot 1h 30minutes of dance in two weeks! It was very intense. In fact we have danced this piece on stage for two years and we thought we knew it well.
4) Does being filmed change the way you dance?
Yes, very much: the stage version and the film version are very different – it's almost a different story. The film tells the story of a group of soldiers and the horrors that they suffer during the war and the way in which they are transformed by the war. One of the phrases that we used as inspiration is "in war, there are no unwounded soldiers" because the choreography shows that as well as the physical damage the soldiers are also traumatised by the psychological damage that is inflicted on them.
Most of the scenes were filmed outside in the fields and sets that were created for the film; some scenes were shot in an industrial hangar where I dance a solo that tell the story of a wounded soldier who suffers shell shock. So we were outside and it was November, it was very cold! Sometimes we had to dance while were up to our knees in mud and we could hear the sounds of explosions. We had to adapt the choreography and the movements.
In fact when you dance for a film the dance itself is very different: you have to show the intention of a movement rather than the movement itself. You have to find a balance between the actual dance and cinematic effect. We were surprised to see the difference.
5) What are you doing at the moment?
Right now we are putting on a new production at Sadler's Wells Theatre from 20th – 24th April. We had about 10 weeks to create the piece and the result is great. We have very strong links with Sadler's Wells.
For this show we are presenting two very different works: the first has been created by a neo=classical choreographer and we are wearing rabbit masks!! It represents life. The second work represents death and it's a contemporary piece with an empty stage. It's really interesting to see two such contrasting works.
6) How do you live your life?
I find there are advantages and disadvantages to living in London: it's a city which has so many things to offer, where there is a melting pot of people and where you can find anything and everything. It's a cosmopolitan centre of art and culture, so when I go out I can always explore and find something to see. You never get bored! But, at the same time, it's huge, it can be stressful, it takes ages to to go anywhere. For example to get to work it takes me and hour and a half there and back. So when I get home I'm very tired, I have something to eat, take a shower and go to bed. It can be hard to meet up with friends. You cannot be spontaneous and get together at the drop of a hat like you can in Geneva: in London you have to plan everything. I sometimes go out at the weekend but often you just want to stay home and rest and relax. At Ballet Junior the quality of life was more easy going.
7) What are your wishes as far as your career is concerned?
I'm not sure. I don't have a big dream, I take each day as it comes. I want to dance with different companies. I think it's important for a dancer to travel and not to stay with the same company too long. That way you can meet people, learn more as a dancer, get to know different ways of dancing and learn new dance vocabularies. As long as you are young it's good to keep going.
My plans involve travel and I'll stop when I want to, but certainly not for the moment.
If I'm interested in a particular choreographer I'll go for an audition. I'm not even sure if I want to be part of a company full time or if I want to go freelance again: both have their advantages and disadvantages and you have to think about what you want. As a freelance you can work with different choreographers but it's stressful when you don't have any work. In a company you are always with the same dancers and you dance the same works for several months. Both options are interesting and I want to consider at what point in my life I should choose one or the other.
8) What are your interests apart from Dance?
I'm interested in everything around dance, so art, music, painting etc...Before I went to Codarts, I spent 3 years at the Academy of Art in Italy, in the sculpture department and I danced in the evenings. I decided to leave in order to pursue dancing and I stopped drawing because there wasn't enough time for both. I love going to museums and to the cinema.
9) What do you envisage doing when your dance career ends?
For the moment I don't really think I want to become a dance teacher. I'd like to choreograph but only once I've developed as a dancer, when I have my own vocabulary of movement, my own style, because I don't want to imitate anyone else.
I's also like to be an osteopath: as a dancer you know your body, you receive massages, you have physical examinations and you know your muscles and your bones. It would be interesting to work with other dancers and to be able to treat their specific problems.
I'd also like to design theatre sets because in this way I'd be able to combine my art background and my dance experience.
10) What message would you like to give the dancers at Ballet Junior?
I'd say to them what I have always said: Ballet Junior will make you love dance.
And also, you'll always meet other BJ dancers throughout the world! It's like one big family.
When you go to auditions and other BJ dancers are there, you can sense it: you recognise each other, there is something special; you share a sense of each other even if they weren't in the same year as you.
It's a really great school, in my opinion, one of the best; it's a very high level and you can see that in auditions.
Sean and Patrice work individually with each dancer. They aren't trying to create a company where everyone is the same. They push you to develop your own style, and your strengths in dance.
Their repertoire is incredible! Even professional companies don't always attract the choreographers that they have.
Being at Ballet Junior really helped me. It was at the time just after my knee operation. They introduced me to the world of professional dance.
They look for dancers who have talent: they have the ability to spot talent in dancers and take risks in order to encourage talent in a way that many others wouldn't.
It's 5 years since I left BJ and we still stay in touch and exchange news and photos.