As Pretty as a Picture


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With the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tour now in full swing we caught up with the wonderful Alberto Pretto (AKA Nina Immobilashvili) for his second Dance Consortium Trocks Blog! He’s keeping us updated with all the tour gossip, what life if like on tour and the places around the UK they have visited! Have you seen them perform yet?

Hello lovely readers!

It is me again, Alberto Pretto, or otherwise known as Nina Immobilashvili and I am writing you all from the tour bus that is bringing the company from Canterbury to Cardiff. Our tour promoter, Heather Knight arranged for us to make a stop at Stonehenge; it is an enchanting place. It was truly an interesting experience and what made it even more special was seeing our lovely Joshua Thake aka Eugenia Repelskii in a Maria Von Trapp inspired frock, twirling and spinning around the famous stones. His Sound of Music fantasy was granted, and it brought smiles on everyone’s face.

Our performances have been going very well so far, here in the UK. Don Quixote seems to be the audience’s favorite piece, together with the ever green Swan Lake and the dynamic ‘Go for Barocco.’ We sadly had to say goodbye to our colleague and dear friend Matt Van that got injured performing this very same ballet. Landing badly from a jump he broke his 5th metatarsal and he had to be sent home. Injuries are very common and part of a dancer’s life. Everyone of us sooner or later had experienced some sort of injury, it is never fun and always catches you off guard. It is important to stay strong and keep your mind occupied during the recovery period. Get well soon Matt!

Usually when on tour I have some time off for myself. Everything is taken care of as far as hotels and transportation, so there really is not much to worry about. In these alone moments I like to concentrate on one of my favorite activities, which is drawing.

I have been drawing since I was a little kid. My mom tells me that when I was a child she used to give me a notepad and that would keep me busy and quiet for hours. When I was a student at the Academy Princess Grace in Montecarlo I used to go watch the most advanced ballet class and sketch the dancers while they were in motion. The director of the school, a Russian  teacher named Marika Besobrasova really enjoyed my drawings.  In ballet school in Montecarlo, the teachers were very hard on the pupils.  I remember that one day Marika told me that I’d better give up on my ballet career altogether and concentrate on my drawings instead. At the moment it felt like it was the biggest insult, but later on I realized it was all part of her strategy to see if I was strong enough to bare all the obstacles that I would face in my career. I am so thankful now that I had the strength and the guidance to continue dancing while enjoying my passion for drawing, which I continue today.

Not so long ago I had the idea of drawing dancers that I admire and printing the drawings on t-shirts.  I enjoy doing this so that ballet lovers and young dance students can wear some of their favorite ballet dancers.   Since I have started doing this I have created numerous different drawings of Zakharova, Sarah Lamb, Roberto Bolle, Maria Kowroski, Misty Copeland, etc.  The t-shirts have been selling very well on my Etsy;  the ones of  Misty Copeland. I think that the shirts of Misty Copeland have been seeking well  because Misty represents a new face of the dance world; she fights for the diversity in ballet, a traditional world usually linked to the idea of a white slender ballerina, with the body not yet developed of a teenager and skin of a fresh peeled apple.  She represents everyone who does not fit into those canons! I am very moved by her voice, I support her cause, and I think diversity is enriching. It’s important to let your creativity and talent speak for yourself more then some conventional cliches.

Inspired by the idea of diversity in ballet, I made a new drawing of Eric Underwood, a beautiful soloist with the Royal Ballet. I was delighted when I saw Eric sharing and reposting on his personal Instagram (@ericunderwood) the picture of the drawing I made of him.

It made me warm inside. It is lovely when a person you look up to so much shares your enthusiasm for them! When I went with the company to watch the dress rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Opera House in London I got to sneak back stage and give Sarah Lamb a watercolor I made of her. She was so sweet and genuinely happy to receive her little portrait, it really moved me.

In parallel with these dance drawings I have always loved to sketch dresses and dance costumes. One year ago I started to turn  these ideas into reality with the help of a sewing machine. When you first start off something new it is always kind of scary. But then you get comfortable. All you need is time, patience, and practice. How satisfying it is to see your projects come to life tough! That’s how my line of dance-wear started. I now make leotards and sell them on Etsy! When I am not touring of course. So I found it hard to be separated from my sewing machine all this time. Thank god my fellow Trock Josh has brought a travel-size sewing machine on tour! ( how crazy is that?)

We have worked on a couple of dresses together. He made the blue one he wore in Stonehenge and we are currently working on a little black dress inspired by Audrey’s Breakfast at Tiffanys. Other than drawing and sewing I have another hobby, more like an addiction I would call it: shopping! I already bought myself 6 pairs of heels. I cannot help it, they were too good! So I had to have an excuse to wear them, especially because I would not be able to carry all of them home! ( due to weight restrictions of the luggage). I then wore them for a casual day with my friends Matt Poppe and Jack Furlong in the lovely town of Canterbury. We went on a boat trip on the canals and visited the city. It was great fun and I enjoyed taking pictures in my 50s inspired outfit.   I hope you guys had as much fun reading my blog as I did writing it, and I look forward to seeing you all at the Trockadero shows! Xoxo, Alberto

Instagram: @albypretty85 @albypretty