Diary: a week in the life of Bethany Kingsley-Garner

Monday

I wake up after a long sleep and have an extra banana with my breakfast. All good preparation for a very long day of rehearsals. We begin with morning class, an intensive warm up that lasts for 90 minutes. Today I take the opportunity to break in four new pairs of pointe shoes to get them ready to use in rehearsal later. It is quite a laborious process which starts with the use of a hammer and scalpel to soften them up before I wear them in. My pointe shoes are custom-made by Freed of London. The company made my very first pair (which I still have), I got them in my first year at The Royal Ballet School and they have made my shoes ever since.

After class we rehearse Cinderella, I’m performing the title role in our winter production and I’m our poster girl, so it’s a really exciting time in my career. The Scottish Ballet performance this autumn will mark our European premiere. Today we welcome the Chinese Ministry of Culture in to watch our rehearsal.

Back home I make a Thai green curry and start a puzzle; something that’s become a part of my routine during rehearsal weeks as it helps me to relax and wind down at the end of the day.

Bethany Kingsley-Garner

Tuesday

This is my first day working with choreographer David Dawson on his brand new production of Swan Lake for Scottish Ballet. David Dawson is such a renowned choreographer who is known for pushing the boundaries of classical ballet and dancers to their limits. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead of me and learning about his vision for Swan Lake. The day is spent concentrating on learning David’s unique style; I put in more than is needed at our first rehearsal and make lots of notes in the lunch break.

In the evening I catch Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at Festival Theatre Edinburgh with the rest of the company. The all-male Trockadero Company perform their version of Swan Lake and I’m amazed by the strength of the men en pointe. Outside the Festival Theatre building There is a 10 metre poster of me in Cinderella costume and it doesn’t go unnoticed, people recognise me and ask if I am the Cinderella in the poster.

Wednesday

I start my morning with a much needed massage and treatment with our company therapist Fraser Johnstone. I always aim to have some treatment mid-week to refresh and reinvigorate my body. Fraser has known me for quite some time now and he is partly responsible for keeping me moving.

Later on the day I have my first pas de deux rehearsal for Cinderella with our principal Christopher Harrison. It takes a little time for us to get to know each other again as we haven’t danced together since we performed the title roles of Romeo and Juliet at The Royal Opera House in Beijing.

I spend the evening making paper bead jewellery with my friend Megan; we go to a craft workshop every Wednesday and make something different each time. It is a fun way to be creative and a good form of relaxing after a demanding day at the ballet.

Thursday

I start work on my solo with David Dawson in our rehearsal studio. This is really exciting as he incorporates my best qualities into his choreography; having a role created for you makes you feel really special, especially when working with a choreographer like David Dawson on a one-to-one basis. It is a very rewarding day. In the evening I go to a Bikram Yoga class. I love the heat and the way my body sweats out any toxins and the lactic acid that builds up in my muscles, it’s especially good after hard rehearsals when muscles can become tight.

Friday

On my way to work on Friday I pick up some sweets for the company, it’s become a tradition. It’s standard that some of the boys go into my bag for a few wine gums late afternoon when they are starting to flag after a full-on week. It is my little way of helping them through the last part of the day and keeping morale going, it’s all about team work in a company. In the evening I go to see And Then There Were None at Theatre Royal Glasgow with Oliver Rydout our assistant director. It’s so nice to see something a bit different, it keeps your senses open to other art forms and puts it into perspective to watch something on a stage on which we perform.

Bethany Kingsley-Garner

Saturday

I have a relaxed day shopping in Glasgow city centre to buy an outfit to wear to an upcoming Loch Lomond golf club event. The city is buzzing with a festive atmosphere as the shops are filled with Christmas goodies. I’m delighted to find a suitable outfit and a pair of shoes with diamanté heels – very Cinderella. In the evening I put on a little black number and meet up with some friends from a dance company who are currently on tour in Scotland. We find a lovely piano bar and enjoy some Cosmopolitan cocktails while we chat about our boarding school days.

Sunday

I enjoy the luxury of a lie in and an indulgent breakfast of French toast with maple syrup and blueberries. Then I put on a washing load of ballet tights, leotards and other dance clothes, after which I sit down with my feet up and cup of coffee to read the Sunday papers. When my dance clothes have dried I put it away then go to the lovely Blythswood Square Hotel for a relaxing spa.

Bethany Kingsley-Garner is a soloist with Scottish Ballet. She is appearing in the title role in the company’s Christmas production of Cinderella running 5 December to 30 January.

scottishballet.co.uk

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