As Director of the Royal Ballet I do so many things that whenever I have to answer this question I sort of can' t think of any of them. Except to say that of course first and foremost I choose all the repertoire, with the assistance of the music director, Barry Wordsworth, I choose the conductors. I choose all the members of staff, all the people who teach for the company how frequently we change teachers, how many classes they teach a week. I select all the people who will coach the dancers, and invite different people in, guest teachers and guest coaches. With regard to teaching the ballet and mounting the ballets that' s also my decision. Not ever alone I have to say, I don' t like working on my own. I love sharing problems and I love other people' s input and I depend on it enormously. You' re looking after a very large family. You' re trying to maximise the talents of as many of them as you possibly can and you want to encourage them and support them. At the end of every season I interview everybody, minus the principal dancers because I talk to them through the year and I would be talking to them about their rep for the following season. But I interview something like 75 dancers at the end of the season to review their work and to allow them to ask questions and see if they feel they' re having, what the challenges are for them, if they are happy in their work. Just happy enjoying their work, feeling they' re making progress. There are hundreds of things and it' s sort of non-stop.
Mal Barton, Head of Costume Workrooms, has worked with the Royal Opera House since 1981, restoring and altering thousands of costumes. In this talk, Mal shares her passion for performance costume and the techniques needed to enable a performer the freedom of movement whether wearing a corset or a tutu.