Yosvani Ramos - Colorado Ballet
Yosvani Ramos was born in Camagüey, Cuba and trained at the National Ballet School. In 1998, he went on to dance with Jeune Ballet de France and Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris. He joined English National Ballet as a Soloist in 1999 and was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2000, then Principal dancer in 2003 after his performance as Franz in Coppélia. He danced with ENB until 2008, when he joined The Australian Ballet as a Principal Artist, where he remained until April 2013. He spent several months guesting then joined the Cincinnati Ballet as Principal dancer in 2014. Yosvani joined Colorado Ballet in 2015 as a Principal dancer.
How did you start dancing?
I started dancing just by chance. I was 9 years old and a teacher came into my primary school in my home town of Camagüey, Cuba looking for kids with good physical abilities and who were interested in taking up ballet. I was so bored at school and I thought "why not?". I didn't even know what ballet was really but when she did some tests on me I remember seeing her face change when she saw my pointe and how naturally flexible I was.
Is being a professional ballet dancer anything like you imagined it would be when you were training?
Well when you are a kid training you see professional ballet dancers as rock stars, and all you want to do is become one of them. The reality of course it's very different. There are the long hours and all the injuries plus the politics. Though I have to say, in my case it has been better than I could have dreamed of regardless of all the negatives.
Can you compare differences working in Europe and America?
I prefer working in Europe. They take better care of their dancers and in general there's much more respect for dancers. In the USA every company it's privately funded so money is always a big thing. For example, in Europe a dancer can be injured and not risk losing their job; in the USA it’s a very different case. Time is money and if you are being paid but you are injured then you are causing them a loss so you are very likely to not get your contract renewed for the season after.
What would be one of the most unforgettable performances of your career till now?
I've had a few, but off the top of my head there are two. First one would be the world premier of Michael Corder's The Snow Queen with English National Ballet in October 2007 in Liverpool. I created the role of Kay and we rehearsed this ballet for around 6 months. It was amazing being in the studio with Michael having a tailor made role for me in a full length ballet and then finally going onstage after so many months of rehearsals and being able to perform it! And second, my last show with The Australian Ballet in April 2013. I danced the role of Basilio in Nureyev's Don Quixote at the Sydney Opera House and the theatre was packed. All my friends had flown in to see my farewell performance. It was the best send off! I almost felt like a was retiring that night! The energy was electric!
What has been the hardest and most challenging role you have performed?
Romeo in Nureyev's Romeo & Juliet with English National Ballet and Siegfried in the modern take of Swan Lake Graeme Murphy did for The Australian Ballet.
Which dancer is your biggest inspiration?
Now and always Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Which is your favourite theatre in the world?
The London Coliseum. I performed there a lot with English National so it holds a special place in my heart.
Who would you choose as one of your favourite choreographers?
I love Kenneth MacMillan - his story telling ballets. Also Balanchine!
Yosvani Ramos in Australian Ballet's 'Coppelia' - Photo by Branco Gaica
Do you have a favourite ballet step?
How has ballet made you the person you are today?
It has taught me discipline but also compassion and to have great love for the art form. After all, most dancers do it for the love for it, not because of becoming rich financially.
What is your escape from the ballet world?
Travelling, spending time with friends and family which for me are so important and also I love Netflix hahaha
Have you had any funny experiences in a rehearsal or on stage in a performance?
Well I've had a few bloopers onstage like getting stuck in the girl's costume or finding myself flat on my back on the floor. They seem funny now but believe me, at the time they didn't!
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