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Screening of ‘Primeiro Bailarino/Principal Dancer’

Thiago Soares
Thiago Soares

The HBO Latin America documentary about Royal Ballet Principal, Thiago Soares, is a fascinating exploration of a dancer’s life. The film had a beautiful honesty that was captivating to experience. A documentary but with the class and elegance of a film. There were a lot of wise words that performers or aspiring performers need to hear. However, the honest portrayal felt like it would be exciting for everyone. Dance and the life of a performer is such an alien concept to a lot of people that this should be enjoyable for many to watch.

It explores the harsh reality of being the star at 10pm and then just one of the cast on a new show the next day, old news 3 days later. The brutality to the body and the total focus and commitment that a top performer must have to make it. Thiago is not just a performer but an athlete, not just a star but a collaborator.

I enjoyed the variety of places depicted: the familiarity of London with the exotic Brazilian segments. There was also a mix of performances shown, from the classic Romeo and Juliet to more contemporary pieces, and seeing how they are developed and rehearsed was enlightening. Also, getting an insight into the relationship between choreographer and dancer.

Thiago, as the Principal Dancer, is, obviously, incredibly talented, professional and focused but he brought a truth to this documentary and was very interesting to watch. He was very warm and human and I felt welcomed into his world very openly.

4 stars

Review by Daisy Smith

‘PRIMEIRO BAILARINO/PRINCIPAL DANCER’ is about an artist’s journey: how he is defined by his ability to challenge his own limits and, ultimately, how he reinvents himself. Brazilian hip-hop star turned Royal Ballet Principal THIAGO SOARES takes the viewer from the Royal Opera House in London where he is rehearsing Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and Wayne McGregor’s ‘Raven Girl’ to the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro where he works with the Companhia Brasileira de Ballet, Italian dancer Alessio Carbone, and Brazilian director/choreographer Deborah Colker.


PRINCIPAL DANCER was shot entirely on location in London and Rio de Janeiro by the Brazilian director Felipe Braga, creator of the popular Brazilian Netflix comedy series ‘Samantha!’ and the HBO Latin America series ‘Mandrake’ for which he was nominated for an International Emmy. The viewer is given unprecedented fly-on-the-wall access to Thiago’s day to day activities – the repetition of rehearsals, the thrill of performance, the anxiety of injury, the enormous pleasure of working with dancers from around the world.

This insight into the complex world of performance and extreme physical exertion contains scenes of electrifying entertainment as well as heart-stopping moments of pain and exhaustion. It’s a fascinating mix not to be missed.

Thiago Soares – quotes from the documentary: “I discovered dance at the age of 15 and it wasn’t even ballet – it was street dance, hip-hop in Brazil. Back home nobody knew much about dance or that you could make a living out of it…

People think that you rehearse, premiere and then leave on tour and spend the rest of the year travelling around, dedicating yourself to that, but it’s not quite like that! In a single year, you dance four, five, six different ballets and sometimes rehearse more than one at the same time. All of us who give this career a shot tend to be perfectionists, but when you work as a team it’s all about collaborating…you need to have this sense of trust in the artists who work with you… I want to challenge myself, I want to discover how far I can go…

Thiago Soares Dancer Official

January 21st 2019 – Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House at 7.30pm
Royal Opera House Bow St, London WC2E 9DD
Tickets: £10-£17 www.roh.org.uk


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