An Interview with Lead Dancer Sammy - Coppelia

Published on:
Monday 14th January 2019

Sammy Camejo shares insight into the challenges of being a Principal Dancer at the English Youth Ballet as well as valuable advice for young aspiring dancers.

Interview with Principal Dancer - Samantha Camejo

How long have you been a principal dancer with English Youth Ballet (EYB)?

I joined EYB early in 2017. I had been working previously with the English National Ballet.

What does the job entail?

There are 8 principal dancers at EYB and we dance the leading roles in all EYB’s productions. There are 7 EYB productions in the repertoire so the principal dancers need to learn many diverse roles.  As principal dancers we get to work closely with the young dancers at EYB.  100 young dancers are chosen to dance in each EYB production.  We teach them class and coach them in rehearsals.

What are the biggest challenges of the job?

I think the biggest challenge of must be striking a good balance between looking after the young dancers and looking after yourself as a principal dancer.  During rehearsals with the young dancers we help them progress and be the best they can possibly be.   Towards the end of the rehearsal period there comes a time when we must put our focus on our own performances to be the best we can be too.  When we are not rehearsing with the young dancers, the principal dancers take ballet class and have our own rehearsals at Pineapple Studios in London.  It is so important to keep on top of our own fitness and technique because the roles we perform are tough.

Tell me a little bit about the ballet - Coppélia?

Coppélia is EYB’s most fun and colourful ballet.  It is almost like a cartoon.  In the story – an inventor called Dr Coppélius creates a doll called Coppélia and fools the whole town into believing she is real.  My character – Swanhilda is engage to Franz but he is fooled and falls in love with the doll.  Swanhilda takes her friends on an adventure into the Dr Coppélius’ house to confront her rival.  I won’t tell you anymore but I can let you know that it all ends up happily ever after!

What is your character like in the story?

Swanhilda is smart and feisty and quite a leader.  She loves Franz but I think she bosses him a little too much!

What advice would you like to give to any young aspiring dancers?

I would advise any young dancers who would like a career in dance to try to watch as much dance as possible – whether at the theatre, on film or on YouTube.  What you have experienced watching will have a positive effect on your knowledge and training.  Young dancers should try to get as much performance experience as possible. If opportunities do not exist then try to make your own.  Why not get some of your dancing friends together and create your own performances? It’s all about being creative and enjoying performing.

Sammy Camejo

The English Youth Ballet are back at Weymouth Pavilion on the 6th February to hold a second audition to find more young dancers of all experiences to perform Corps de ballet and soloist roles in Coppelia that will be presented at Weymouth Pavilion from the 5 - 6 April 2019. There is an audition fee of £18 and a performance course fee for those who take part. Scholarships are available. For more information please contact EYB on 01689 856747 or by email