“I began dancing once I was 9—faucet dancing and jazz. Then ballet, once I was 13. I began professionally once I was 18. I absorbed [ballet] like a sponge—I had loads of catching as much as do, as a result of 13 is actually outdated [to start] ballet. I carried out within the Nutcracker and I used to be simply enchanted by it. Not by what was taking place on stage, however what was taking place within the wings. The focus, the devotion, the nerves…everybody was quiet and nervous, getting ready their sneakers. After which they’d go on. There’s the purpose on the brink, which is the sting of the wing. Within the wing you’re hidden, you are able to do no matter you need, however then whenever you step out, every little thing adjustments. I may see that, and it was like, ‘Woah.’ Jazz was actually enjoyable—I’d simply go and flail round. However once I noticed these skilled ballet dancers, what was so fascinating to me was how critical everybody took it. Within the jazz world, it was like, ‘Really feel it! Yeah! Dance the shit out of it!’ Which was completely totally different. I beloved the self-discipline [in ballet]—nonetheless, that’s what drives me.
I went to the Paris Opera Ballet Faculty once I was 17—so I spent my senior 12 months in highschool at this faculty in Paris. Then I joined American Ballet Theater right here in New York. ABT was at all times my dream firm—I simply began working my method up getting an increasing number of roles. Now I dance for ABT, however I dance too for the Bolshoi in Moscow, and I’m a resident visitor artist on the Australian Ballet. I’m at some extent the place I’m sort of deciding the place I’m—I’m a bit homeless proper now. ABT is house, and it has an incredible eclecticism to it—there are loads of totally different dancers from totally different elements of the world, who’ve come from totally different coaching backgrounds. There’s an vitality and a vibrancy in how totally different everyone seems to be, and it lives on this vibrant metropolis, and it’s a great steadiness I believe. However Bolshoi encompasses ballet. Bolshoi, to Russia, is just like the Yankees to right here. Or one thing. It’s arduous to check, as a result of sports activities groups aren’t cultural gems to the id of the nation. Like, the crown jewel of Russia is the Bolshoi theater. It’s very embedded within the tradition and the way in which folks see Bolshoi. There’s a way of respect and significance that’s superb to expertise as an outsider. There’s extra at stake [because of that].
Dance is so deeply embedded in me that once I retire, I don’t wish to do it recreationally. I don’t wish to go right into a studio and simply mess around. I do know what it’s proper now, so I really feel like I’ll be capable of transfer on. There’s a lot extra to life than tights. Though I really like the stage, I don’t crave it like a drug, like some dancers do. The stage is worry to me—it’s humorous to say that as knowledgeable, with 1000’s of individuals watching a present or no matter. The stage to me is sacred—it’s actually a sacred house—and magic can occur on that stage. For me, it’s extra doubt and worry, and self-questioning about what I can produce on the stage, than it’s a place for freedom or danger. As an alternative, what drives me is the work it takes to get to the stage. The nearer I get to a efficiency, the extra scared I’m. It hasn’t eased up, 20 years later.
Look is essential on the stage, and I believe I’ve turn out to be a bit extra seasoned in the best way to seem on the stage. I believe ballet can stifle you a bit bit in that method, as a result of it’s a must to put on your hair a sure method, it’s a must to put on a specific amount of make-up—there’s a practice you’re meant to uphold. The extra deeply embedded I’ve turn out to be within the ballet world, the more durable it’s to shed that pores and skin, and to study to say no. Or to say, ‘that’s not who I’m as an individual,’ you understand? I’m nonetheless studying from that. There are undoubtedly two sides of life—my life onstage is certainly part of me as an individual, and I can categorical myself onstage to a sure diploma. That’s an incredible outlet for me to have. However I’ve to maintain a way of actuality in thoughts.
I’m working with Revlon now because the face of their new Volumizing Mascara, and it’s thrilling for me as a result of I’m the primary man to do it. I believe there’s a wave taking place now by way of being a homosexual, male ballet dancer—it wasn’t began by me. After I started my profession I used to be out, and every little thing was cool. However you continue to felt stress onstage to present this persona of the ‘main male.’ A little bit bit like Hollywood. And that has actually modified—males are out and advantageous and verbal and vocal about it. Like, I play Romeo onstage, however I additionally hope to search out my Romeo. I believe that was an necessary step for Revlon to take, and for me to take as nicely.
I’m an early riser—espresso is the very first thing I do. It takes me some time to get up, though I rise up at 6:30AM. I’m within the health club by about eight:45, and I’m there till 10:15. That’s like a non-negotiable, on a regular basis factor—at all times the identical workouts. An hour and a half of that, ideally, after which ballet class every single day. Rehearsal is often anyplace from two to 5 hours every single day. After which physio or therapeutic massage or acupuncture—not every single day, however in all probability each different. It’s superb to stay a needle in a muscle. Say you might have a sore muscle, and also you get a therapeutic massage, and it feels higher nevertheless it’s nonetheless sort of sore. What occurs whenever you get acupuncture is like, it can simply set off one a part of the muscle, and all of it feels prefer it fully releases—it’s a bit bit surprising, such as you’re being pinched. However it’s like deflating a balloon. It’s superb. Afterwards that you must go house and chill—you are feeling a bit pummeled. I do this on the finish of a day, ideally with the following break day, to let issues sort of get well. I see this lady Amy at Manhattan Physio Group. For therapeutic massage, I see lots of people at Manhattan Physio Group, however Michelle Rodriguez is an incredible bodily therapist. She’s the most effective.
Within the bathe I take advantage of a standard bar cleaning soap—proper now it’s Olay. But when I want an exfoliating, feel-good scrub I take advantage of this Aesop scrub that’s fairly superb. It’s actually grainy, and I take advantage of a Salux towel, and I simply scrub all of it away. It’s actually superb. I do that when every week. I don’t put on perfume—fragrances are so private, and I’ve been given presents of fragrances that I put on typically, however nothing has actually hit me. You recognize whenever you meet somebody and the perfume simply bounces off of them, and also you’re like, ‘Fuck, I ought to have that.’ However you possibly can’t put on that, as a result of it’s not yours. However you bear in mind these folks. For example, Carine Roitfeld—she smells superb. I used to be like, ‘Carine, what do you put on?’ And he or she was like, ‘Oh, it’s simply my factor…’ That odor belongs to her.
I take advantage of Cetaphil cleanser every single day. My pores and skin is regular, a bit dry, so Cetaphil is nice. I kind of use no matter moisturizer is round. My mother makes use of Estée Lauder, so I’ve been utilizing that. In between my exercises, it’s often simply chilly water. I sweat a lot that I can really feel the salt on my face, so chilly water is the most effective factor. Finish of day is Cetaphil once more. A buddy bought me the La Mer Lifting Masks as a present, and I find it irresistible. I simply ran out yesterday, and I don’t know if I’m going to spend $275 on a fricking moisturizer. That’s insane! I’d love to search out one thing comparable, as a result of it makes my face really feel nice. However $275 man… I don’t see a dermatologist, but when there’s a serum I needs to be utilizing, I wish to use it! Folks say to begin moisturizing now, for whenever you grow old, however I assume I moisturize sufficient. Twice day by day—is that alright? However wrinkles, whenever you’re older, I’m all about that. I’m not attempting to repair it…or spend $275 fixing it. [Laughs]
After I’m at Bolshoi, somebody does the make-up. I made the error of doing my very own make-up for certainly one of my first exhibits, and the make-up girl got here at me—she was indignant. She’s employed by Bolshoi theater to placed on the lads’s make-up, and she or he’s there each present, and she or he is aware of what appears finest for the Bolshoi stage. With my firm in Australia I’ll do my very own make-up, and with different firms that don’t have make-up artists on the prepared I’ll do my very own. That’s been a little bit of a course of. I’ve realized from trial and error, in addition to asking the recommendation of the ABT make-up artist who’s there on a regular basis. I’ll go in and be like, ‘How ought to I do my decrease eyeliner?’ And he or she’ll inform me some easy suggestions. I’ve been doing make-up for like 20 years now, you understand? So I do know the face I’ve to do for stage, which is definitely a pancake, which might be a bit dated by now. I take advantage of this dry cake basis from Mehron. After which I’ll do a line, prime and backside, and if I’m feeling fancy I’ll shade the attention a bit bit. I simply use Revlon black eyeliner—it’s a moist sort of pencil. For brows I take advantage of sometimes a Revlon powder to color them on. Typically I take advantage of waterproof merchandise, since you’re sweating like loopy.
I take advantage of Fekkai shampoo, which I really like. I used it as soon as at a buddy’s condo and went and purchased it once I bought again. It’s simple to lather and rub away—it’s a fast shampoo, you don’t should work it lots. After I’m going out and have occasions and stuff, I take advantage of a Shu Uemura powder, virtually like a dry shampoo with a brush. You launch some powder and brush it in. I do the roots to present it some physique. I blowdry it, sometimes as a result of I’m working late and I’m not going to stroll out with moist hair. And once I blowdry it, it appears higher anyway. Stage hair is a complete factor. It is dependent upon the character I’m portraying. Mainly, it at all times requires a complete can of hairspray. I’ve actually advantageous hair, so the hair will go all over the place. If I don’t plaster it down, it received’t maintain. I’ve to carry a can of hairspray to the wings, as a result of it can immediately fall out, or go each which method. Hair takes so long as face. I often prefer to have another person do my hair, as a result of I have a look at it in 2-D, and it’s Three-D. It may possibly’t appear like a helmet—it’s so sprayed and coiffed, that it’s a must to discover a steadiness between correct motion and holding it in place. Minoru Obata cuts my hair, a Japanese man, at Le Mino salon on eighth road. He’s reduce my hair for over 15 years. I had been away for 3 months, and I got here again and my hair was a full mullet—very first thing I did was go to Mino. I’ve referred to as him up in desperation earlier than being like, ‘Who have you learnt in Tokyo?’ or ‘Are you aware anybody in London?’ You achieve such a belief in who cuts your hair. I’ve needed to go to somebody actually random in Moscow, and it doesn’t at all times garner success. There isn’t any one like Mino.
As I’ve gotten older, I eat much less and fewer processed stuff. I attempt to maintain it actually clear. After all, as a result of I’m a dancer, not an excessive amount of sugar and never an excessive amount of alcohol. However I’m a whiskey man—I can at all times drink a whiskey. I simply attempt to maintain it to a minimal, one or two every week. However I’m an individual, so I’ve a candy tooth—I particularly like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I attempt to maintain it to a minimal, however there’s an ebb and a circulation. Lots of people say like, ‘Oh, do you eat as a ballet dancer?’ And yeah, I completely eat. To begin with, I’m an athlete, so I’ve to eat. And second of all, yeah! I would like cheese, and chocolate cake—I would like all that stuff. And so far as dietary supplements go, proper now it’s loads of electrolyte replenishers. After I’m sweating, I can actually inform the distinction between once I drink water, once I don’t drink sufficient water, after which when I’ve an electrolyte complement that I sip on throughout rehearsal. I actually really feel a distinction. I really feel prefer it’s extra helpful—the electrolytes assist your physique to get well and hydrate extra than simply regular water. I imply, you’re hydrating with water, however electrolytes offer you that further increase. The best way I can describe it’s if I drink an electrolyte complement, I’ll depart after rehearsal feeling satiated, in a method. If I don’t I really feel crispy and fried—physique, thoughts, vitality. I stroll house—it’s like a 15-minute stroll—and if I ate correctly and had electrolytes, strolling house isn’t a giant deal. If I haven’t, the identical stroll looks like trudging uphill. I’ve [taken protein] prior to now, however I don’t now—I attempt to get my protein in fish and hen. You recognize… from meals.”
—as informed to ITG
David Hallberg photographed by David Cortes in New York on November 7, 2018.