Blog Attitude Ricardo Leitner


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A short talk with Matt Golding - Oct. 29th, 2017

A short talk with Matt Golding - Oct. 29th, 2017


A short talk about life, HET, The Royal Ballet, future plans etc. with Matt Golding: Oct. 29th, 2017 


What a morning!

When I left home in order to meet Matthew Golding for an interview, it was sort of windy. When I arrived at the Opera the winds were so strong that while walking towards the Café in which I wanted to have some breakfast, I saw a young Japanese girl being thrown to the floor because of these hurricane-like winds and had to hold myself tightly to a lamppost in order not to “fly away”. When I arrived at the Café it started raining. No. Pouring. Like one would say: it was really raining cats and dogs! Just 10 minutes to 11 (I was supposed to meet Mr. Golding at 11am at his hotel) I decided, full of confidence, to go. I put my coat over my head but I just made it, because of the wind, until the next cabstand 10 meters away. The driver was friendly enough to take me for this 3 minute ride. It was like there was electricity in the air – the rains, the wind, trees that had fallen, everywhere tree branches… really scary. I arrived at the Hotel and after a while I found Mr. Golding talking to friends in a corner after breakfast.

At the moment he saw me, he opened that broad smile of his that made me remember Meryll Streep’s Speech against Mr. Trump's politics. She was talking about “Foreigners” in Hollywood and she said: “All nice people are Canadians!” I was introduced but we soon left to another room for our interview. I soon realized that there was not only electricity outside because of the wind and rain, but also here, in the presence of this tall dancer that I have admired for a long time. We hadn't seen each other personally since the Nureyev Gala in 2014!

To be quite frank, HE started the interview: “You were also a dancer, weren’t you? Do you miss it?” Funny, but I was taken aback by this question, asked so directly, so naturally (Afterwards I watched the definition of “taken aback” - at least in the “nautical” sense: “So that the wind presses against the forward side of the sail or sails” So, here we have the wind and the electricity again… ) I paused for a second and said simply “No, not really”. He looked at me in a quite interrogative way and said “Many dancers do. They miss class, the barre, performances”. All of a sudden it all became so clear to me again as I simply stated “I guess we all miss the “theatre life”, the backstage life. The little women that sew the costumes, the ones that bring you your shoes, costumes, phantasy, roles, premières and the butterflies in the stomach before them, flops and hits, the porter that greets you in an unfriendly way day-by-day, the woman in the canteen and her awful sandwiches, the talks with the musicians and extras, the fights with costume designers that sometimes do not understand that they are making ballet costumes… all that! But not classes, being always tired, hungry. AND injury.” “It is such a short career” he said and I added “such a short life”


“I have a question that I am not so sure you will want to answer. If not, no problem: Would you like to talk about leaving the Royal Ballet?” I said carefully. “Of course I would. I have such a good feeling about it, about this decision” he said smiling.

“I am so happy to have worked there – unique talents that were more like “fathers figures” to me. A company with an own life style... yes.” he continued “on the contrary to other companies, in which everyone gets the chance to dance many roles, The “Royal” gives you specific roles, according to your own personality as a dancer. If you don't get a role you wanted, don't take it personally. Either you are not suited for it or you are not prepared for it. Everyone in the company has his own “position”

“I have had two operations and I was nearly one year off-stage. When I got back to the company I still danced some “Swan Lakes” but I felt it was my time to move on. The “timing” was not anymore “right” for me. So I moved on. I am now free-lancing and very happy to be able to choose special projects to be in and working with interesting people.”and then he added “like with Johan Kobborg in his new version of “D.Q.”! This man, with all his knowledge and sensibility could direct a film if he wanted. I am so happy to be working with him – I think that many dancers are missing him very much! And let's be honest: as a male dancer, he was the only one ever to make "Lake" interesting”

“Which are your favourite roles? Abstract roles or roles that include a character preparation?”. He looked at me intensively and simply said “The next one”. Than he laughed and added “Of course Onegin, Romeo etc. are wonderful roles... and there is always a first time to try them. These “heavy roles”. You really do not know if you are going to be able to really “do them” until you are onstage”

“Ricardo, I started quite late – I was 14 year when I fist started classes. In fact I had wanted “Broadway” but I don't sing. But, to be honest, I never felt like a “real” Ballet Dancer. Sometimes I used to think while walking to theatre to perform – Are you really doing this? Will you be able to do it?”

I was glad when he stood up to go shortly to the Bathroom and started thinking that what makes this incredible man into an artist is his full Honesty. With his surroundings, with his co-workers, with his life and with himself. He does not “breath Ballet” 24 hours a day. He has other interests, occupations, thoughts...


When he returned I asked him one my last questions: “How do you prepare yourself for a role? How, in fact, is your creative process?”.

“To be very honest, I watch lots of films... I would never try to “recreate” a performance from someone else, but from each video I can learn how this specific dancer understood this specific role. But every single performance is unique. When I “moved on”, leaving the Royal, I thought “Wow, how I have enjoyed it” and that is the most important thing. But getting back to films. I could go to “Arcadia” (note: a shop by the Vienna State Opera that just sells Art books, DVDs and CDs) and buy every single performance. I love researching roles done by different dancers”


A short talk about life, HET, The Royal Ballet, future plans etc. with Matt Golding: Oct. 29th, 2017

“Future plans?”

His eyes opened wide again (Canadians ARE nice people) and he says: “I have at last found a place to call home, in Amsterdam, and for a while I'll just want to be home with my little son that will be born in January 2018!”

“Thank you, Matt! Uhmmm, I forgot to ask you one silly thing, sorry... but what is your real stage name? Matt or Matthew Golding?”. All of a sudden he started laughing “You know, I really don't know. Honestly. My middle name is Adam – and I am positive that I like it best!”

We embraced warmly and said Thanks to each other for such a good time. It was really a good time filled with electricity: “See you tonight at the Party after the Gala” he said.

Mr. Golding will be appearing tonight at the “Weltstar Gala” (Worldstar's Gala) produced by Kirill Kourlaev and Olga Esina at the “Volkstheater” in Vienna.

Ricardo Leitner



MacMillan - McGregor - Ashton (Vienna State Ballet, Première Oct. 31st, 2017)

MacMillan - McGregor - Ashton (Vienna State Ballet, Première Oct. 31st, 2017)

Curtain-Calls: La Bayadère - Oct. 12th, 2017 (Bayerisches Staatsballett)

Curtain-Calls: La Bayadère - Oct. 12th, 2017 (Bayerisches Staatsballett)