‘There were many times when we were starving

A ballet dancer against all odds

Helen Crawford, Nehemiah Kish and Fernando Montao in the Royal Ballet’s production of Alexei Ratmansky’s 24 Preludes (Picture: Robbie Jack/Corbis)From a violent Colombian barrio to dancing at the Royal Opera House, rising ballet star Fernando Montao has lived his own Billy Elliot story.

Canada Goose Online And this week he was named Personality of the Year at the second annual LUKAS awards, acknowledging the achievements of the 1million Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese residents in Britain. Canada Goose Online

‘It does sometimes feel strange,’ admits Montao, a First Artist with the Royal Ballet since 2010 who counts the likes of Carlos Acosta and Vivienne Westwood as friends. ‘I always wanted to be a ballet dancer but I never thought I’d be living in another country and meeting these people.’

buy canada goose jacket Montao, 28, cuts a slight but lithe figure, whose soft voice, quick smile and soulful brown eyes bring out the mothering tendencies canada goose outlet 2015 of the Royal Opera House canteen staff. buy canada goose jacket

Vivienne Westwood and Fernando Montao (Picture: File)’It’s one of the roughest areas of Cali, full of young canada goose outlet new york guys dealing drugs and robbing people,’ he explains. ‘Even when I’ve gone back for holidays, I don’t really go out: all you hear all night is gunfire. It’s very scary.’

cheap Canada Goose Hardly the place for a little boy to pursue the dream of a dance career. And yet Montao’s mother recognised his passion she nicknamed her skinny youngest son the ‘dancing skeleton’ and took him to ballroom dance classes. cheap Canada Goose

canada goose black friday sale When he won a scholarship after just a canada goose outlet in uk month there, hisfather relinquished his hopes that his son would become a canada goose outlet store uk footballer. canada goose black friday sale

Once he’d switched to taking ballet lessons, Montao says: ‘I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do.’ As luck had it, Colombia’s only proper ballet school is in Cali. He won his place there aged 12.

‘No one in my family dances,’ says Montao. ‘I was bullied in school but they were kind of impressed when I could do the splits, which earned me some respect.’

As ballet dancers usually start much younger, Montao had a lot of catching up to do. But his tenacity and his https://www.canada-gooseoutlets.ca parents’ financial sacrifices, which included remortgaging their home paid off: he won a scholarship to the famed Cuban National Ballet School in Havana.

Canada Goose sale The 14 year old found life in Cuba tough. ‘There were many times when we were starving. Sometimes, even if you had the money, there cheap canada goose jacket was nothing to buy,’ says Montao. ‘We’d fill up with water. Canada Goose sale

And when I was waiting two, three hours for the bus it was the year of the Elin Gonzlez controversy and all the transport was being used to bus people in for marches I’d think many times: “Who thought it was a good idea to come here?”‘

canada goose Montao persevered, graduated and moved into the Cuban National Ballet, winning some principal roles in his first year. A chance to go to Italy led to him being offered a scholarship by the Teatro Nuovo di Torino. There, the 19 year old canada goose sale uk was spotted by the director of the English National Ballet School andinvited to audition in Britain. canada goose

‘Of course I said yes: I knew that there were dancers like Carlos Acosta and Darcey Bussell there,’ says Montao, who won his place at the Royal Ballet in 2005.

‘Rehearsals were a nightmare, because even though ballet terminology is in French, they’d say: “Go to the right,” in English and I’d go left and bump into everyone.’

uk canada goose outlet Adding to his difficulties, two months after starting at Covent Garden, Montao’s mother died aged just 45, having contracted lupus. uk canada goose outlet

‘When I was called to the office, I thought I was going to be promoted,’ he says. ‘I couldn’t even cry when I heard the news.’

Meanwhile, professional opportunities came less frequently than Montao had hoped. ‘What they show in [the film] Black Swan is nothing, really, compared to the real thing; there was a point I was soupset, I was about to leave,’ he says.

Around this time, though, Montao met Vivienne Westwood. The legendary British fashion designer asked him to perform during a charity fashion event and the canada goose outlet sale pair have since forged a strong friendship.

Montao has modelled her clothes in fashion shoots and proudly points out that Westwood can often be seen wearing a pendant of two ballet shoes that he gave her.

Canada Goose Outlet His interests outside ballet include supporting the Children of the Andes charity, which aids children in poverty in Colombia, including in his old neighbourhood of Aguablanca. Canada Goose Outlet

And in the first season under new Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare, coinciding with the LUKAS award, opportunities for Montao to take the stage have multiplied. Most recently, he was chosen by feted Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky for a newly commissioned piece for the Royal Ballet.

‘I’m getting a canada goose outlet in new york lot of attention in the Colombian press right now,’ says Montao, who has always admired the god like status Acosta commands in Cuba. ‘There is no national canada goose outlet usa company there, but ballet is definitely getting more popular.

‘I think you set your own limits,’ he says. ‘I’ll keep trying different things because you never know what will happen next. But I’d like my dance career to be here: I feel like this is the right place.’

canada goose clearance sale MORE:Latin UK award winners: Antonio Valencia, Carlos Acosta and Phil ManzaneraShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link canada goose outlet winnipeg address canada goose clearance sale.

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