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Artist Dusty Button celebrated her 21st Birthday yesterday. Birmingham Royal Ballet was heading home, having completed a tour the night before, so Dusty’s fellow dancers decorated the coach for her!

With thanks to Ballet Mistress Marion Tait, who took this photograph.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s tour of the North and South of England opened on Tuesday, but here’s an interview with Dusty Button from last week to offer a glimpse at the preparations that were going on. Dusty, who was born in South Carolina, is on the Northern leg of the tour.

How have the rehearsals been going?

It’s been really good this past week because we all know that it’s crunch time. We know that we have to be on stage this week so we’re all working together and with the staff, and communication is really good. That’s generally the case, but at times when you’ve got a long period before the show nobody really gets worried as much. But because we knew that we had just a week before we’d be on stage, we were all really focused on really figuring the pieces out. So it’s good that everything’s working and it’s coming along! It’s just exhausting.

What do you think of the pieces you’re dancing on this tour?

I really love the variety of rep on this tour. I really enjoy it being different, because otherwise there’s a risk that you can get a bit bored. I like changing between pieces, because it keeps you occupied and keeps your mind working. You can concentrate on different elements of your artistry from piece to piece. Then whenever you return to a work you bring to it experiences from all the things you’ve danced in the meantime.

Have you been to any of the cities on this tour before?

Not yet – this is only the second of these split tours that I’ve done and last time I was on the southern leg. But my ballet teacher who used to teach me in South Carolina is actually from York. She trained me until I went to ABT at 16, and she recently told me that her friend went past the York Theatre Royal and saw me on the posters for this tour! She’s really proud that one of her students is now appearing at the theatre that she used to walk past all the time, it was really cool and really random. So I’m excited to go and see the city, and I’ve heard it’s beautiful up there too.

Is there any one item in your bag that you can’t tour without?

Oh, my ipod! Yes! I don’t think I could live without my ipod, even more so than my cell phone. I just love music. When you wake up and you have a great song on and are strutting down the street in the morning it’s amazing, it can make or break your day! Sometimes I take my speakers for when we’re back at our digs between shows, or a lot of the time you can just run it through the TV speakers. I’m the flat DJ for sure!

Visit www.brb.org.uk/ne2010 to find out more about Dusty’s performances in the North/East of England.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s website

Birmingham Royal Ballet on twitter