The 5-Minute Interview: Johan Kobborg: Ballet Dancer: 'Stamina Is Vital in Ballet. My Daily Routine Is Eight Hours of Studio Time and Fitness Workout'

By Duff, Oliver | The Independent (London, England), September 27, 2005 | Go to article overview
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The 5-Minute Interview: Johan Kobborg: Ballet Dancer: 'Stamina Is Vital in Ballet. My Daily Routine Is Eight Hours of Studio Time and Fitness Workout'


Duff, Oliver, The Independent (London, England)


Johan Kobborg, 33, plays a serial-killing dance teacher in the Royal Ballet's adaptation of 'The Lesson' by Eugene Ionesco. The depictions of abuse, rape and murder is too macabre to be performed at matinees. Kobborg, a Dane, will star alongside the great ballerinas Zenaida Yanowsky and Alina Cojocaru.

Why stage The Lesson?

Not every ballet can be your traditional happy ending and all to do with love. Graphically and dramatically The Lesson is brilliant " only half an hour long, but fantastically put together. Physically it is as demanding on the dancers as any of the big classics can be.

How do you get in character?

I don't know anyone who is psychopathic like this, thank God, but you try to think why your character would act the way he does, why he becomes so angry with his student. The way the ballet is built up, you become gradually irritated by this student. She really is that sort of stupid 'ballet girl' who does exist out there " if you're a male dancer in a female-orientated profession you meet those people and can relate to it.

Do you find The Lesson disturbing?

No. If it's not done well and all you have is the violence then maybe. But if it is danced well, if the timing is right, then it's not about the violence; it is amazing to watch. You turn on the TV and see worse things. At least when the curtain comes down we're all standing.

What were Ionesco's intentions with this play?

Ionesco, when he wrote it, had certain nationalities in mind, certain aspects of mankind.

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