BR: Madeleine, you are taking over the Finnish National Ballet on August 1, 2018, but you began to be a director when you founded a small group from within the Royal Swedish Ballet?
Madeleine Onne: Yes, Stockholm 59 Degrees North, in 1997…
BR: How did you know that you could be a leader of dancers when you were still just a dancer yourself?
Onne: I was very much involved with the union, so I realized that people listened to me. I was the personnel representative on the Royal Swedish Ballet Board…
BR: Why did you offer yourself as that?
Onne: Because I always have lots of opinions, and I hate when you go around and think things. Don’t just talk about it, do something! You can’t do something in the corridors. You can if you are a personnel representative, or on the board…
BR: That’s odd, because the education of a female ballet dancer does not encourage talking.
Onne: But I don’t agree! I always felt I could talk. I had a fantastic female artistic director, Gunilla Roempke [Royal Swedish Ballet artistic director, 1980-1984]. She was the one taking me out of the corps de ballet to do Juliet, making me a principal dancer. She would guide me, but she liked that I questioned things… I learned to analyze and discuss, and be involved. If there is a meeting, most people think a lot, but they’re not going to raise their hand. I couldn’t keep quiet. I just had to say it… But it comes with a lot of responsibility. When I talk to my friends, they say, “Don’t you get tired?” or “I would hate when dancers scream at me.” Of course it has those undersides. But the pleasure is overwhelming: the joy of seeing someone you know develop from a first rehearsal, of watching a young dancer grow to a ballerina. That’s almost a bigger kick than dancing myself.
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ISSN 0522-0653 6 x 9 inches, 100 pages
55 color photographs 7 black and white photographs