Mini interview: Victoria Roberts

Victoria Roberts. Photo: Urban JörénStarting today we will present the Cullberg Ballet dancers with a "mini interview". First out is Victoria Roberts who joined Cullberg Ballet in 2009. This spring she performs in The Strindberg Project and, being British, she speaks the world's most understood language, English, on stage in Translations.

What is language to you?
Language is instinctively free and easy. It is the basis of communication. Even two people who don't speak the same language can communicate with each other using their own languages. However, for me language can also be painfully difficult. When I try to speak a foreign language I feel as though I regress to the ability of a toddler - I sound and feel so unintelligible and therefore my mortification prevents me from really learning a second language. And this saddens me, because I'd like to know more than just English.

When you first came to Sweden, how did the Swedish language sound to you?
I couldn't understand anything. Not even the melody of the sentences. For example, pauses wouldn't happen when I expected them to, nor would the end of a sentence. I couldn't grasp anything.

Any progression in the field?
I can hear distinctions between words, I can discern whole sentences. I can even understand some of what I hear, but I can't speak much of it yet.

What is the most inspirational moment in your dancing?
Whenever I come off stage after a performance and simply think "wow, that was amazing". I don't remember how I executed any of the movements but I remember a feeling of exhilaration - of enjoyment at being present in the moment without any thought to what had just been and what was to come. It doesn't happen often - although it's something I strive for - but when it does I treasure it.

What is music to you?
Music is life. Everything we are as human beings is reflected in music - in the lyrics of songs, in melodies, and rhythms. I can't explain it better than that. Music drives me, it affects me in so many ways but most importantly it makes me feel.

Born in England, Victoria trained at the Bird College of Theatre Performance in London where she gained a BA Hons Degree in Dance and Theatre Performance. Victoria worked as a freelance dancer before she joined Scottish Dance Theatre in Dundee in 2000, where she danced until 2008. There she was involved in the creation of over 20 pieces by choreographers including Rui Horta, Didy Veldman, Hofesh Shechter and Jan de Schynkel, amongst others. During her career Victoria has also taught at various dance colleges and for dance companies in the United Kingdom.