Question: How does it feel to be nominated for the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award?
Robyn Hendricks: I feel so humbled and fortunate to be nominated for the Telstra Ballet Dancer award for a fourth time! It is considered the most prestigious prize in The Australian Ballet. We all work hard in the studio and on stage, so it's rewarding to have your small successes and potential recognised in this way. Not everything in life is always about winning. It's been a lot about learning about myself and others along the way. I'm very much looking forward to the journey this year. It's already off to a great start with all of the nominees collaborating with other creative artists who have helped us tell our stories in their own unique fields
Question: Can you talk about filming your video for the nomination?
Robyn Hendricks: It was a really fun experience to work with creative people from all different backgrounds, in their special fields. There was a definite common goal for each of us- not only have a blast on the day but create something unique and different to the other nominees and that was a real representation of myself and Zoe. The filming was so different to a normal day in the studio and what I would normally do out on stage, but it was really great to be able to use my creativity and collaborate with a different form of art, not only with Zoe's beautiful artwork but the cameramen, lighting and director in charge of the shoot. I feel so lucky to have had the experience and to have something to remember this exciting day and journey of being a Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominee. It's a very special gift to all of us.
Question: What was it like to working with Zoe Porter on the video?
Robyn Hendricks: Zoe is an Aussie gem. She is super talented, super creative and a quiet genius. I feel like she just allowed her creativity to happen rather than planning her every move which was so exciting not only for me but the entire crew on the day. I most enjoyed her gentle nature and her complete openness to discovering dance and who I was as a dancer artistically and technically. It was a wonderful experience to work with someone who has the same passion, love and drive for her passion as I do. We shared so many similarities in this way. The biggest challenge on the day was having to improvise in front of Zoe. I was very much out of my comfort zone and the I definitely felt the pressure was on to show who I was and what I was about. But Zoe as well as the awesome crew was so calm and encouraging which put me at ease quickly. Zoe created something so beautiful and meaningful. I'm so proud that I got to be a part of her vision.
Question: Can you provide your tips to perfecting a ballet dancer's natural look?
Robyn Hendricks: Over the years I've learned that less is more, when it comes to my make-up and I really like to take care of my skin. The Australian Ballet does over 200 shows a year, so you can only imagine the amount of makeup that goes on and off my skin. I tend to sweat more than most so I have to make an extra effort at looking after my skin before and after each show. My tips for a natural look would be to look after your skin! A great cleanser, make up remover and moisturiser are crucial. There is nothing better than when your skin feels clean, smooth, refreshed and renewed. Also find what works best for you. I've just started using the Iluka light day cream and love it because it's all natural and works better on my skin type.
Question: How did you go about learning these stage makeup techniques?
Robyn Hendricks: Stage makeup is something that you really discover when you first start the job. It's different for everyone, depending on the shape and size of your facial features. It's something I have learned over the years. I did get a lot of help and advice from senior dancers when I first joined the company which was a great starting point and I've just built on that. You do learn what works for you and what suits you better the more experience you get with the shows you perform.
Question: Do you also do your own hair?
Robyn Hendricks: The dancers at The Australian Ballet do their own hair for the shows unless a wig is worn for a character you are playing. We have specialist coming in to help with wigs and special character makeup.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Robyn Hendricks: I usually start my day a bit earlier than most. A coffee is always a must and a good breakfast. I start my Pilates training at 7.30am-9.30am followed by my favourite meal of the day, second breakfast. I then head over to the Ballet Centre for our daily class at 10.30am. After class we start rehearsals at 12pm and go to 2.30pm then we break for lunch. After having a quick bite to eat, I'll sometimes get some treatment, either physiotherapy or myotherapy, before we start our next rehearsals that take us to 6.30pm. Then it's a recovery session in an ice bucket before heading home for a good dinner, or head out to meet up with friends. Some days can not only be physically demanding but mentally draining and all I seem to be able to do at the end of the day is sit on the couch. Other days, the work load can be lighter and I'll head to the gym or the pool and train for a few hours for maintenance and to keep myself in peak condition for upcoming seasons.
Performing seasons we start our shows at 7.30pm and can sometimes only leave the theatre at 11pm.
Question: What originally inspired your love of ballet?
Robyn Hendricks: I clearly remember what I loved about ballet from my very first class. It was the joy I felt in my entire body. It was a feeling I had never really experienced before. That feeling has never really left me and the joy that ballet and dance gives others is what inspires me to do what I do every day in the studio and out on stage.
Question: Can you talk us through your diet and training schedule?
Robyn Hendricks: In terms of my diet, I've never really worried about food. I'm aware I need to fuel my body with the correct food in order to deliver my best on stage and in the studio, but I was always taught that growing up and never robbed myself of the occasional sweet treat.
Question: Do you have pre-show rituals?
Robyn Hendricks: I don't have any crazy rituals like some of my fellow dancers but a good warm-up barre is one big part of not only my physical preparation but also my mental preparation. It gets my body warm and my muscles firing and puts my mind in the right space to focus on the task ahead. I always have to brush my teeth before putting my costume on, and just before heading to stage, the last thing I do is a couple of sprays of perfume.
Question: What advice do you have for young ballet dancers?
Robyn Hendricks: If you love dancing and you know that it's what you are meant to do on this earth, just go for it!!! It's a very special art form and such a gift to be able to do every day. Never forget that! Always give 100% of yourself and I promise the rewards will be there. Be firm with yourself but also remember to be kind to yourself and pat yourself on the back. It's not an easy life but it will be full of so many great experiences, memories, discoveries and friendships.
To vote for Robyn Hendricks for the Telstra Ballet Dancer People's Choice Award visit: http://exchange.telstra.com.au/2015/07/09/meet-robyn-hendricks-2015-telstra-ballet-dancer-award-nominee/
Interview by Brooke Hunter