Spanish ballet dancer in Romania Ada González, a soloist of the Bucharest National Opera: “We are dancers 24h a day”

by Bogdan Chenciu

Born in 1994 in Barcelona, Ada Gonzales began taking ballet lessons at the age of four. At the age of 12, she started training as a classical ballerina with Roser Muñoz and Joan Boix as head teachers and decided to dedicate herself entirely to ballet.

In 2010, Muñoz and Boix opened their own ballet school, Center de Dansa de Catalunya in Barcelona, where Ada graduated three years later. She has won numerous awards, including first place at the International Dance Contest “Ciutat de Barcelona” in 2011.

Upon graduation, Ada Gonzales joined the Sibiu Ballet Theater in 2013 and performed Clara in The Nutcracker, Gulnara in The Corsaire, as well as other solo roles in neoclassical ballets. In 2014, she became a lead dancer in Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Fille mal gardée, and Anna Karenina, among other roles in productions of classical and neoclassical ballets of the company.

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Since 2016 Ada Gonzales has been a soloist with the Bucharest National Opera, where she has performed Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Renato Zanella (nominated for Best Ballerina of the Year at the National Opera Awards Gala in 2017), the lead role in Giselle (choreographed by Mihai Babushka after M.Petipa), The Main Couple in Themes and Variations by G. Balanchine, Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as other solo roles in the company’s repertoire (Gulnara in The Corsaire, Amor in Don Quixote, Shadow in La Bayadere, Pas de trois in Swan Lake).

Ada Gonzales has also been a guest artist in numerous ballet galas and performances both in Romania and abroad, including IBStage Galas 2016 in Barcelona; State Opera Plovdiv’s Giselle 2016, Bulgaria; Les Ballets de France tours in France (2016) and Spain (2017); and the Bellini International Dance Gala in 2018.

Ada González: “Ballet is a way of living”

In your opinion, what characterizes a ballet dancer?

A ballet dancer is first of all a person who has chosen a very demanding career from the physical point of view but especially from the mental point of view. I think responsibility is one of the main qualities a dancer must have, that is being committed to always perform 100%, while taking care of himself or herself to be up to that daily standard. We are dancers 24h a day, ballet is not a job, it is a way of living.

How can one become the best ballet dancer ever, the perfect ballet performer ever?

I don’t believe the perfect ballet dancer exists. The main thing about ballet dancing is that we find ourselves in a constant race towards perfection, which is actually unattainable. So the right way to think about it should be “how can I become the best dancer I can be”, which definitely happens through hard work and the right work ethic. What I personally appreciate the most in a dancer is the attention to detail, and easiness of the movement, and of course the artistic expression, and the connection with the audience.

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Ada Gonzales: “I think Romania has chosen me”

You have been living in Romania for 7 years now. What is the reason why you decided to build a career in Romania?

Actually, it has been 8 years, time flies! I don’t think it was much of a choice. In Spain it’s very hard to find a job as a dancer because there aren’t many ballet companies, and they struggle anyway a lot because the Government doesn’t offer Dance a very big support, so when you are 18 and looking for a job, you just take auditions everywhere positions are opened, and I only got a contract in Romania. So in a way, Romania has chosen me.

If you asked your colleagues who you are, what do you think that they would say about you?

It wouldn’t be fair to answer this question for them, it would be just very arrogant of me. But I know how I see them, and I can say that, generally, my colleagues are very supportive. When they dance well I feel challenged to dance well myself, they teach me lessons through their performances and their hard working, and some of them are very good friends who are there for me unconditionally.

Have you been treated differently given the fact that you are Spanish?

I’ve never been treated differently because I come from another country or followed a different school. Actually, I’ve always been very well integrated by our ballet masters and colleagues. I don’t think there is any discrimination towards a dancer’s nationality, at least not anymore. We as dancers are speaking the same language, Dance! We don’t care about anything else.

Ada Gonzales: “Ballet professionals have to make a decision at a very young age” 

Did you have any doubts about not having chosen the right path?

The problem with ballet is that you have to make decisions at a very young age. Most ballet professionals started ballet when they were 4 or 5, and by the time they were 12 they were already training to be professionals, so it’s very easy for dancers to quit in the early stages of their careers when they realize they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.

This is why I encourage parents to be a part of their children’s learning process and make sure their kids are enjoying it. I was never pressurized by my family to get on with my classes, it was always my decision and even though it was hard as a student, and sometimes it still is, mentally speaking, I always find the best cure in holding myself to the bare. If I had to take it all over again, I would.

Who is the mentor who discovered you and which is the most important ballet company you have been working for before being hired by the National Opera House in Bucharest?

My mentors are Roser Muñoz and Joan Boix, my main teachers from Barcelona. They always believed in me and taught me discipline and how to respect Dance. Every time I go home, I take classes with them and they remind me why I do what I do. I still talk to them often and they give me advice for my performances here at the Opera.

My home before BNO was the Ballet Theatre of Sibiu. I started very young getting lead roles because the company trusted me and pushed me to overcome my stage fright and feel comfortable onstage. Without my baggage from my teachers and the experience at TBS, I wouldn’t be the dancer I am now.

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