BRINGING THAT SUGAR PLUM FAIRY MAGIC: It's MAYARA!
PRINCIPAL BALLERINA OF THE ROYAL BALLET
Brazilian dancer Mayara Magri is a Principal of The Royal Ballet. She trained at The Royal Ballet School and graduated into the Company in 2012. She was promoted to Principal in 2021. Mayara is Imperfect Pointes' first Official Brand Supporter and she has just released her first sustainably-made collaboration leotard, the Carioca, inspired by the natural environment in her home city of Rio.
Ahead of Mayara's Sugar Plum Fairy
debut, we asked her about all things Christmas and becoming more sustainable in her festive choices. Here's what our Queen had to say:
What do you most look forward to at Christmas?
I’m such a big fan of Christmas! Since I was little, my family back in Brazil used to always make the month of December a very special one, with big family gatherings and lots of food, Christmas films and songs… we used to go to church together and just really value those moments we had with each other. Since moving to London - 10 years ago - I try to keep the same spirit that I was once taught by my family. I love decorating my apartment for Christmas, putting up the Christmas tree and fairy lights and having my friends over for dinner and small gatherings. It’s nice to have the loved ones around us in this time of the year!
What is your favourite festive costume? What are your favourite roles for Christmas?
Ahh… performance-wise, at The Royal Ballet I’ve always wanted to dance the ballerina role in Sir Peter Wright’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’ and this is happening this year… I’m so excited!!!! …the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ Tutu is one of the most iconic and fabulous costumes to wear on stage. It’s so sparkly!! That is definitely my favourite costume this year. I’m really looking forward to my debut in that role!!
Mayara Magri rehearsing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Peter Wright's The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. All ROH images are by Andre Uspenski.
What gifts can you suggest giving your dancer friends or other sustainable gift ideas?
Last year I gave all my friends trees. Yes! Trees for them to plant and subscribe to a website that I support called ‘Ecologi’. Helping the environment with as little waste as possible is the biggest gift you can give to anyone. It’s important to have have this front of mind when going through your Christmas presents list. And also, sustainable brands put so much consideration towards valuing their workforce and helping the environment by doing what is most sensible for all of us other than taking the easiest route….
Why not support brands like ‘Imperfect Pointes’ and Projects like ‘Ecologi’ ?!?!? You could check out Imperfect Pointes sustainable activewear collaboration with Royal Ballet/ Royal Opera House
What are your top tips for a more sustainable Christmas?
My friends last year got very excited about subscribing to ‘Ecologi’ and now we all supporting and investing as much as the price of two coffees a week!! Every little counts. Check out their Reforestation and Carbon Offsetting Projects. And at The Royal Ballet, I’m also trying to change the perceptions of my friends over the fast fashion industry… leotard after leotard produced with no purpose, no inspiration and no eco-friendly materials - this has to stop! Imperfect Pointes has helped me bring awareness to this matter and with time I’m sure, more and more dancers will get on board supporting brands that actually care about the process and not just the final product!
What is your first memory / favourite memory of performing for The Nutcracker?
I love our ‘Nutcracker’ it’s so magical!!! I can’t get enough of it and I have pretty much performed every role it over the last 9 years that I have been with The Royal Ballet. I loved doing the ‘Vivandiere’ Soldier Doll at the party scene. I was always so excited to jump out of that human size box and finish the dance off with the most challenging sequence of fouettés :)
Mayara Magri performing the part of 'Viviandiere' the soldier doll in Peter Wright's The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House. Credit: Andre Uspenski.
How do you balance your busy dancing schedule with having a relaxing time at Christmas?
To be entirely honest, Christmas is not a particularly relaxing time for us at the Royal Ballet... We have over 30 performances in the month of December, pretty demanding shows actually, we must be on our top form all month long. There are lots of casting changes and replacements throughout this period, because of sickness and now COVID…
Christmas shopping at this time can be stressful with having to fight with tourists for spaces in the stores around Covent Garden 🤣.
I would actually call this month ‘The Most Stressful Time of the Year' for a ballet dancer, but fun though when you manage to squeeze in a gathering with your friends or a theatre night here or there…but in the end, we are truly very happy and grateful to be able to spread the love and send out a lot of Christmas joy with our shows at the Royal Opera House!!!
What's your Christmas guilty pleasure?
It has to be Panettone!!! (a traditional Italian dome shaped fruit cake)
My favourite one is from Monmouth Coffee House. It’s so fruity and fluffy, I always spread some butter on top .... I LOVE IT!!! It's always good to indulge a little at Christmas.
Some of Mayara Magri's Christmas treats include selecting fresh Panettone from her favourite independent coffee shop! Yes please, that looks yum!