and Freda Silk poster girl!
Photo by Suzi Bird Photography
My name is Poppy Frankel, I am 15 years old and am currently in my final year (yr 11) at The Royal Ballet lower school (White Lodge). I got my first Freda silk skirt for a photoshoot last spring, and since fell in love with the beautiful designs, patterns and look of the skirts! They are perfect for photo shoots but also for rehearsals that require long skirts, now I wear them wherever I can!
FS: Where were you born and raised?
PF: I was born in London and raised in London!
Do you recall when or how you caught the dance bug?
Well I started ballet at 18 months old (of course just baby ballet!) and I have never stopped! But I think I was around 10/11 when I realised I wanted to pursue it professionally.
Can you briefly describe a typical day at The Royal Ballet School?
On a typical day I get up at about 6:30am, we have academics in the morning from 8:30 till 1pm (with a half hour break). Then we have lunch from 1-2pm and ballet class from 2-4pm, after that we will have another 2 hours of varied dance styles (e.i contemporary, Pilates, pointe work, rep and so on).
Do you learn choreography at school?
Yes, I am very lucky to be able to work with some amazing choreographers creating new works and also learning great classical repertoire.
Do you enjoy choreographing, or prefer to perform other people’s steps?
I love being able to dance other people’s works, but I also love to choreograph. Each year we have an annual choreographic competition which we get to create short pieces on a group of dancers. Two years ago I was lucky enough to have been awarded 3rd place, it was very fun putting together all the aspects for the piece and also makes you feel how a choreographer feels when working with dancers!
As a Royal Ballet School student, do you ever get to perform on the stage at Covent Garden in any of the Royal Ballet shows?
The younger years get to perform in the Nutcracker at Christmas time, and there are various events around the year, but each year we have the annual school matinee at the Royal Opera House which is so exciting!
Full time ballet training as a teen must been really hard work. What keeps you motivated?
Training full time can sometimes be quite exhausting with juggling academics and school, but I also love being busy! Obviously you’ll always have days when your not feeling your best but I love always having something to work towards to and knowing that each day is a step closer to that goal is really motivating for me.
Do you feel that as well as technical ability, it is also essential for a dancer to understand music and have a certain degree of acting skill?
Yes! Personally I think that is the most important thing for a dancer, of course you have to have technique but at the end of the day ballet is a performing art and generally people go to the ballet to watch a story being told. Of course technique is so important especially in the ever growing demands of more modern works, but musicality and artistry is the most important in my opinion.
What sort of a dancer are you?
I would probably say I’m quite an expressive dancer, artistry has always been my stronger point.
You model beautifully for dance photo shoots. Do you have a favourite photographer – either someone you’ve worked with or would like to work with in the future?
Thank you! I can’t have one favourite photographer as everyone I have worked with brings something different to their profession, which is one of the things I love about working with photographers. I have many photographers I would like to work with in the future but i would really love to work with @ballerinaproject_ Their work is absolutely stunning!
Do you find that putting on a costume changes the way you feel?
Yes definitely, I think wearing a costume makes you feel more like a “ballerina” for example when you put a tutu on. But also for other roles that aren’t the classic tutu help to really put you in the mood of the character you are portraying.
If you have a beautiful flowing rehearsal skirt, does it help with the feeling of fluidity and movement?
Completely! I think wearing skirts elongates the line and also makes movement look more effective, plus it just makes you feel pretty too!
I love the elegance and grace of the clothes worn by ballet dancers. Do you take it for granted now, or do you get excited about a new ballet skirt, shoes etc?
Yes I absolutely still get excited about any new ballet attire! Wearing something for the first time is the best feeling!
Do you have any other talents that might surprise people?
This isn’t really a talent but I can taste the difference in almost all brands of water and could tell the difference if they were unlabelled!
Do you have some essential / favourite things that you keep in your dance bag?
I always have a Thera band to warm up before class, hair things, a notebook to write down corrections and of course my pointe shoes!
Who is your ballet idol or idols?
My absolute inspiration is Marianela Nuñez.
With which company would you like to work in the future?
My dream is to work with The Royal Ballet Company, but I am happy wherever I am dancing!
Which song / piece of music will always get you dancing – doesn’t have to be classical!
To be honest I do love classical music, so any grand ballets like Swan Lake, Romeo + Juliet, or The Nutcracker will always make me want to dance!
If you could use your social media following to raise awareness for something besides ballet, what would it be?
Probably the importance of being happy and not taking life too seriously all of the time.
How do you like to relax?
I love having baths with Epsom salts or a Lush bath bomb, they are the best!
Favourite Freda Silk skirt… !
My favourite Freda Silk skirt is probably my peaseblossom rehearsal skirt as it literally goes with anything and I love the colour and the flowy look of the fabric.
Follow Poppy on Instagram @poppyballerina