Former Principal Artist Kirsty Martin has performed countless leading roles, ranging from the titular Hollywood starlet of Raymonda, to the iconic Odette in Swan Lake. She walks down memory lane to cherry-pick a handful of her favourite ballets.
Giselle is definitely one of my favourite ballets. It’s romantic and pure – a role I imagine every ballerina wants to experience. It’s very fulfilling because it’s technically demanding and there is so much to explore artistically. I love this ballet; a simply beautiful classic!
The lead in Manon is a fun and dramatic role, which I really enjoyed. There’s so much freedom in the choreography and so much depth to Manon’s character. It’s full of beauty, sensuality, drama and emotion. I thoroughly enjoy performing this ballet, and I think audiences love it, too. An entertaining epic!
The role of Raymonda was created on me, so I hold it close to my heart. The creative process was so much fun. Stephen Baynes has an amazing ability to create very unique characters, and his choreography always feels nice to dance. The sets and costumes are extremely glamorous and beautiful; I felt like I was in an old Hollywood movie in this ballet. And having Steven Heathcote and [Kirsty’s husband] Damien Welch alongside me was, of course, an added bonus.
Stanton Welch’s Velocity is a one-act ballet that I was involved in the creative process for. It’s a very exciting ballet, with lots of high-energy dancing, combined with controlled and lyrical movement. I really enjoyed doing his choreography; it was a lot of fun and a great challenge!
Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake is a demanding ballet from beginning to end. Odette’s character is very complex and can always be explored further. I danced this role alongside Damien Welch, who has brilliant stage presence and always gives a lot of emotion to every role. He helped create some very memorable performances for me, even though we nearly killed each other in rehearsals!
Symphonie Fantastique is just a really nice ballet to perform, with a lot of freedom in its expression and interpretation. I always enjoy doing contemporary pieces – it enables you to create unique, interesting movement.
01 – Kirsty Martin. Photography – Justin Smith
02- Kirsty Martin in Giselle. Photography – Justin Smith
03- Kirsty Martin in Manon. Photography – Justin Smith
04- Kirsty Martin and Steven Heathcote in Stephen Baynes’ Raymonda. Photography – Justin Smith
05- Kirsty Martin and Damien Welch in Stanton Welch’s Velocity
06- Kirsty Martin and Damien Welch in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. Photography – Jeff Busby
07- Kirsty Martin in Symphonie Fantastique. Photography – Jim McFarlane