Five minutes with Sophie Laplane of Scottish Ballet
Ahead of the grand opening of Spring! in Inverness on March 28, we caught up with Scottish Ballet’s resident choreographer, Sophie Laplane, to find out more about her love for dance. The new show, which kicks off Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary celebrations, is a fresh and energetic double bill - including Sophie’s own arrangement Dextera and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations.
How old were you when you decided you wanted to dance?
When I was very small I danced all the time, organising ‘mini-shows’ for my parents and friends to watch. I took it very seriously: the choreography, the costumes, the make-up – which was my mum’s.
With classes, I started ballet in my local town when I was seven years old. After that I moved on to more intensive training when I was 11 and began to think seriously about dancing as a career.
Did you always plan to choreograph?
I’ve always had an interest in choreography. In my training years at the Conservatoire de Paris, we had an inspiring choreography teacher who gave classes for a couple of hours a week and that freedom of expression was something I was always looking for.
When I was dancing with Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson set up choreographic workshops. It was through participating in these that I created my first short commission, Oxymore. My interest in choreography developed from there and now I’m delighted to be Artist in Residence, choreographing work such as Dextera.
Where did you get your inspiration from your new work Dextera?
For me, the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Scottish Ballet is creativity and so, with it being a commission for their 50th anniversary, I wanted to create a celebratory piece. Dextera is inspired by three elements however; dexterous creativity, the use of hands in art, and the music of Mozart.
Do you have any backstage rituals?
As a dancer, I had rituals in the order that I’d get ready; hair, make up, costume but as a choreographer, the only ritual I maintain is wishing all the dancers good luck, to have fun and enjoy it. At that point, it’s out of your hands so you leave it to the dancers, and wait for the performance to hit the stage.
What is your favourite thing about living in Scotland?
The countryside and the beautiful landscape. I love the fact that in half an hour you can be in the middle of nowhere and find peace.
What do you do to relax?
I watch a lot of films. One of my favourite films is Milos Forman’s Amadeus so that also informed and inspired my choice of using the music of Mozart for Dextera.