Lucas Lima - Norwegian National Ballet
Originally from Brazil, Lucas Lima trained at the Royal Ballet School in London. He joined the Norwegian National Ballet in 2009 where he has danced major classical roles such as Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, the Jester in Swan Lake and Cinderella and Albrecht and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle. In 2012 he danced solo parts in Balanchine's Symphony in C, and in 2013 he danced the pas de trois in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2, also by Balanchine.
How did you start dancing and why?
I was a very active child and when I around 6 years old so my parents put me in a sports club to learn football - in Brazil that's what the boys are "supposed" to be good at! As I came out of the football classes each day, I would look through the window of the adjacent hall and watch the girls taking ballet class. I just fell in love with it and luckily my parents supported the idea. So, there I was – the only boy doing ballet!
Most memorable moment of your career?
That's a hard one to answer. I have been incredibly lucky to have had the chance to dance lots of amazing roles. So, I have to pick three, all for very different and special reasons: Lensky (Onegin), Lescaut (Manon) and Romeo (Romeo & Juliet).
Who is your role model and why?
I feel inspired every single day by the different dancers I am surrounded by at Norwegian National Ballet, and I also get inspired by dancers from all over the world. With the different techniques and styles, for varying artistic reasons, I’m always intrigued and this helps me to become a better artist myself.
Photo Credit Erik Berg
Do you have a specific way of warming up for a performance or to get focused for a main role?
I do a ballet class and make sure I keep really warm until I go on stage, and try to eat lots of small-things in the run-up to the show like nuts, bananas and energy drinks to help make sure my energy levels stay consistent. I like to keep hydrated during the show.
If I'm performing a dramatic role, I research and study the role throughout the rehearsal period. By the time it comes to the performance it’s a matter of having some quiet time to myself in the wings side stage, where I get into my own “bubble” and stop being “Lucas” - to become the role 100%.
How is company life at Norwegian National Ballet?
The company is great! We have an amazing Opera House with three stages and beautiful studios. We have an incredible range of repertoire – classical ballets like Giselle by Cynthia Harvey, Swan Lake by Anna Marie Holmes, Romeo & Juliet by Michael Corder, Cinderella by Ben Stevens, Don Quixote by Rudolph Nureyev, Manon by Sir Keneth MacMillan and we also perform wonderful modern and contemporary works by Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, and Willian Forsythe. We also get the opportunity to work with some of the best current choreographers of today such as Liam Scarlett and Christian Spuck. We are incredibly fortunate to have this span of repertoire at our fingertips.
What is your favourite ballet trick/step?
I have to say I absolutely love partnering – nothing fulfils me more than having an amazing partnership with whoever you are dancing with and knowing she trusts you 100%. Finding that connection is so beautiful but rare and I am incredibly lucky to have found beautiful partnerships here in the company, that are based on admiration, respect and love.
Photo Credit Jörg Wiesner
What has been the hardest and most challenging role you have performed so far?
Albrecht in Cynthia Harvey's production of Giselle! It's incredibly technical and demanding, yet most challenging because of the mental journey Albrecht goes through from 1st to 2nd act. My friend wrote to me this of the day of my debut that I will never forget: "Dance for your life but don't be afraid because her eternal love will carry you through it. In the end she forgives you, and you should forgive yourself. Remember it is a beautiful story about love, real love with real people and they make mistakes. It will never be perfect but it has to be real."- Erico Montes. I think this is the most beautiful thing and sums up the preparation I had to do for this production.
What's your escape from the ballet world?
I like biking, swimming, travelling and spending quality time with my close friends and family.
Any words of advice for those aspiring to become professional ballet dancers?
I would have to say "have courage and be kind!" You learn that you can't measure art – sometimes you are ahead, sometimes you are behind!
I would like to say from my own experience, that if you are ever in your career and come across a serious injury, don’t give up, fight until the end. After having 2 shoulder surgeries myself – one on each shoulder – I know how hard it can be. I promise you though, that you do come out of it stronger and a better artist, and hopefully a better person.