Soundtrack to my life: 5 songs that influenced Mara Galeazzi

From Romeo and Juliet to Adele, ballet veteran Mara Galeazzi on the songs that influenced her

Get tickets to see Ballet Under the Stars starring Mara Galeazzi and the Covent Garden Dance Company
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Fine performance art and the culinary world will come together this weekend for Ballet Under the Desert Sky, held at Dubai’s picturesque Desert Palm and Hotel Resort. The evening features a multi-course meal that's interspersed with three pieces of ballet featuring a dozen world-class ballet dancers led by former Royal Ballet principal dance star Mara Galeazzi.

Born in Italy, and trained at the famed La Scala ballet school in Milan, the 44-year-old talks us through the pieces of music that were the soundtrack to both the peaks and challenges of her career in the competitive ballet world.

A song that reminds me of my childhood: Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone (1988)

I was in boarding school and training at La Scala in Milan – this song makes me reflect on that time. The training was very hard, and although I had a lot of support from my family, it was difficult because I wasn't with them. The ballet world – especially when you are training with schools – has a lot of competitions, so you don't get the chance to do what normal teenagers do. There is an element of giving up on certain things in life, but if you have the passion for it, you don't really think about that too much.

A piece of music that makes me want to dance: Romeo and Juliet Balcony Scene by Sergei Prokofiev (1938)

I also heard this when I was training at La Scala. I was about 14 years old, and I was touched by all the different emotions within the music – it has passion, youth, drama and this sense of sadness. These are the emotions that young people often experience when they first fall in love.

A song that changed my career: Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works by Max Richter (2017)

I heard this in London, it's a piece of music for a dance production based on novels from Virgina Woolf. The piece is so amazing in that Richter really brought out the personality of Woolf and what she went through in her life. When I heard it, I had this immediate reaction that
I wanted to dance
to this music. It made me realise that, as a dancer who was trained in the classical way, modern music can also be really effective, and from then, I began focusing more on modern pieces.

A piece of music that I would love to choreograph: Schindler’s List by John Williams (1994)

The beauty of it lies in how simple it is: the piece doesn’t have a lot of instrumentation, but it is still dramatic. A piece like this gives room for the choreographer to express themselves. At the same time, choreography needs to work without the music first, because there are some dance pieces where the music is amazing, but the choreography is not interesting. I think you should work on the choreography first and then put the music on top of it after.

A song that makes me cry: Hello by Adele (2015)

This one gets me really emotional. I hear it and I think about how I miss my family and the people I love. I live abroad, and when I go on tour, I miss my child. The song also goes deeper for me in that I think of… I don’t know, lost love, maybe? The life of a dancer can be a lonely existence generally. When you are working in a company, you do have the company of your colleagues, but when you are a freelancer, like I am, you become more independent and competitive when it comes to your work. So you rarely spend enough time with family and friends.

Ballet Under the Stars is on Thursday and Friday from 7pm at the Desert Palm in Dubai. Tickets cost from Dh750 at


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