Natalia Magnicaballi (Principal) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and graduated from Teatro Colón. She became a principal dancer at the age of 19 with Julio Bocca's Ballet Argentino. Since 2002, she has performed with Ballet Arizona as a principal dancer. Her classical repertoire includes the lead roles in Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda, Paquita, La Sylphide, Don Quixote, Coppélia, and Giselle. Natalia has premiered works by Jirí Kylián, Mauro Bigonzetti, Roland Petit, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, and Ib Andersen. Natalia has been a principal dancer with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet since its inception, performing in Balanchine's Tzigane, Don Quixote, Apollo, Divertimento No. 15, Duo Concertant, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Agon, La Valse, Serenade, Bugaku, Meditation, Episodes, Diamonds, Rubies, Monumentum Pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Mozartiana; and Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun and In the Night. She has been featured as one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" and named the "Best Dancer of the State of Arizona" by The Arizona Republic.
A Conversation with Natalia
What is your favorite role to dance and why?
It's a little hard for me to mention just one particular role... I really like to dance and every time I do it I try to make every ballet my own. I think that's why I like dancing so much.
What do you like to do when you are not dancing?
I love to spend time with my husband, travel with him to new places and watch a lot of movies.
How do you prepare yourself for the physical challenges of rehearsing, performing, touring?
I've been performing and touring since a very young age, so that regimen has been pretty much a part of my life. I believe it is essential to train, eat right and get enough sleep, so your body and mind can function well, because what we do requires a lot of discipline and constant focus.
What is it like to work with Ms. Farrell? Any fun and memorable stories or anecdotes about working with her?
I have been working with Ms. Farrell from the inception of her company. For me, working with her is super inspiring. She gives me a lot of freedom and every time I'm on stage it's a very pleasurable experience. As an anecdote, I will never forget that during my first tour with the company I didn't speak English yet, so I couldn't communicate with anybody. Ms. Farrell was very nice to me, making sure every day that I was okay. Among other things, at the end of the tour we were in NYC on the New Victory Theatre's stage and she toasted me and said she was very happy with my work on that tour and proud that I had made it through with no English. That gesture made my day very happy.
What music do you like to listen to when you warm-up?
I don't listen to music when I'm warming up; I like to be in silence. For me, that's the moment when I connect with myself before my day starts.
What do you think is the most common myth about being a ballerina? What do you wish people knew about what it's really like to be a ballerina?
I don't know if this is the most common myth, but a lot of people think that ballerinas are very fragile for what we portray on stage (Maybe this is because it is our job to make everything look effortless and easy when actually it is not). I believe we are really tough. Sometimes people don't realize how much dedication and discipline we put into what we do, how many hours we spend working in the studios, etc. When I tell people who are not very familiar with ballet that we work at least eight hours a day, training and rehearsing in the studio, they usually seem very surprised.
Do you feel an affinity for any particular choreographer?
I love to dance Mr. Balanchine's ballets; my body feels somehow at home. His ballets are so diverse one to the other, plus so challenging physically and mentally, that you feel you are in different worlds when you are dancing them. He really was a genius!
What is the biggest reward in your career?
If I have to think of rewards in my career, I would say that being able to inspire or move others with my dancing is probably the biggest one. Having people from the audience coming backstage after every performance and sending letters and emails to share how inspirational or touching my dancing was for them, is very rewarding for me as an artist.