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A question of culture: Anne Maher, director Ballet Ireland

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Anne Maher

Anne Maher

Anne Maher

Favourite dancer? Natalia Makarova. Just fabulous. Even now, few can match her extraordinary Port de Bras and Épaulement (her arm movements and use of her head and shoulders).

DREAM ROLE?

Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet. All that drama is just irresistible and the music is fabulous.

BEST STAGE SHOW?

There are many, but one of the first ones that made a very powerful impact on me was Lindsay Kemp's Midsummer Night's Dream at Sadler's Wells, London, back in the 80s. That was heady stuff.

BEST CONCERT?

That had to be Live Aid. Just an amazing line up and such an emotional day. I was lucky enough to be there: A friend phoned me at 9am to say her boyfriend couldn't go. Living in Wimbledon at the time, I hotfooted it up to Wembley!

FAVOURITE SINGER?

Bruce Springsteen - his music is timeless.

FAVOURITE BOOK?

Pride and Prejudice, I never grow tired of it. The story is as resonant now as it was 200 years ago. Elizabeth is such an intelligent, feisty character. Although to be honest why any sensible woman would want the bad-tempered Mr Darcy I don't know.

LAST BOOK YOU LOVED?

Dracula - because I have been playing with the idea of a ballet about Dracula.

FAVOURITE FILM?

Four Weddings And A Funeral. Because I'm a total romantic. There is so much fun and love everywhere in this movie. I defy anyone not to be heartbroken when Gareth drops dead and Matthew reads Auden's Funeral Blues poem.

LAST FILM YOU LOVED?

I just saw 71 at the weekend, set in Belfast during the Troubles. Powerful and emotive, with wonderful performances. I hope we have left it all behind us!

FAVOURITE CITY/COUNTRY?

The south of France. I just love the culture, the food, the weather, the lot.

CULTURAL BLINDSPOT?

Modern art. I can never see anything in a pile of bricks other than a pile of bricks!

Ballet Ireland's Swan Lake is on national tour, and is at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre from November 19-22, where it will be accompanied by the RTE Concert Orchestra. See www.balletireland.ie

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