Oliver-Paul Adams is a professional dancer and an aspiring artist; here is a link to his website:
Q: How did you originally get into ballet?
A: I was three years old and my older sister was taking weekly ballet classes. I would stand outside the full length windows with my nose pressed up against them peering into the studio. It made more sense for me to be in the studio than outside of the studio making the windows dirty! So before I knew it I was in the studio with a tiny pair of black leather ballet shoes on every Saturday morning practicing my good toes, naughty toes exercises…. little did I know that ballet would define me!
Q: Where you a featured dancer or were you in the core group of dancers?
A: When I was at my vocational ballet school in England I would work with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in all the company’s large scale productions including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. Whilst still training with my school my teacher and former ballet icon Irek Mukhamedov would tell the guys in my class that you don’t join a ballet company to be a Corps De Ballet (group ensemble), so I took that advice on board and took my first contract at 18 as a Demi-Soloist dancer in the Slovakian National Ballet. After dancing there I did some traveling through my dancing and settled in California where I danced many Soloist and Principal roles.
Q: How many hours a day did you exercise when you were a dancer?
A: The last ballet company that I danced with was 9.30am to 6.30pm five or six days a week. As a student it was very similar so you never realize how much work you are doing until you take a moment to step back and understand how grueling your job is! Ballet dancers are some of the fittest and hardest working human beings that walk this earth, and the fact that they are doing it to create this beautifully amazing art is something that I will always respect.
Q: What is the main reason aspiring dancers fail?
A: Although there can be many reasons why aspiring ballet dancers may fail I do believe that if the dancer works hard and dedicates every drop of sweat to this art then they can make it to become a professional dancer.
Q: .When did you start painting?
A: I would enjoy sketching when I was a child, every school book would have my sketches on pages meant for math or science. I would get home from school to my grandmas house and spend hours drawing cartoons until my mum would pick me up. My dancing then took over and became the passion that I dedicated my time to. A few years ago I was injured and took time off of ballet, during this time I need to find my creativity so I headed to the art store and picked up the paints! That was enough to relight the fire!
Q: Who are some of your artistic influences?
A: Most of my artistic influences were my art teachers at school! They were always the teachers that I felt understood me and wanted to explore my creativity. I always looked forward to art classes and saw them as a sanctuary, somewhere where I could be expressive and creative. I remember thinking how cool it was being able to listen to a radio during class, the art teachers were the coolest!
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your art?
A: I dance, I teach dance and I paint. I would consider all of them my day job. The best thing is that none of them feel like a day job because its not a chore. I’m blessed being able to do the things that I love for a living. Most of the time when I am dancing I am dancing other peoples choreography, I am the paint! When I’m painting I am the choreographer, I choreograph the paint! This gives me the full freedom of expression!
Q: You paint a lot of celebrities, what interests you about them?
A: I’ve always been attracted to icons, I would say I paint icons as oppose to celebrities. It’s interesting to me why these people became massive icons. They are people that changed industries, if not the world.
Q: What is the biggest misconception we Americans have about Europeans?
A: Europeans not sure, British, we drink all our beer warm.
Q: What famous painter would you most like to teach to dance?
A: Good question. I would say a Post Impressionist painter like Van Gogh. His brush strokes were highly expressive, bold and dramatic. As a dancer its important to show the technique but to also interpret the steps in your own way. He dedicated his life to his art and although dying young he left a huge footprint of more than 2100 artworks. Dedication and hard work makes the dancer and the artist.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.