My House: Ricardo Cervera, First Soloist with the Royal Ballet

I haven’t covered my walls with pictures of me dancing. I wouldn’t want a shrine to myself.
Look out of the windows of my flat and you see leaves – it’s almost like living in a treehouse. Five years ago I moved to Canonbury from Westminster. Living in such a central location was convenient because it was so close to Covent Garden where the Royal Ballet practices, but all the concrete and busyness got too much. I wanted somewhere green and quiet, so Canonbury fitted the bill – a lovely, leafy conservation area. It’s perfect. You’re so well connected to everywhere in London, but it retains a villagey feel. I prefer that – in central London, everything and everyone is anonymous.

I haven’t covered my walls with pictures of me dancing. I wouldn’t want a shrine to myself. Instead, I just have bits and pieces that I’ve collected over the years. Working for the Royal Ballet, I travel a lot and I like to gather mementos from the places I visit, especially Asia and Japan. I have a lot of Japanese things, trinkets and paintings. One of my most prized possessions is a cartoon portrait that a Japanese friend drew from my programme picture (seen on the table to Ricardo’s left) after seeing the show in Tokyo.

Another theme is Spain, where I’m from. Before coming to ballet school in London aged 10, I grew up in Malaga, and I have an original 16th century map of the city that I bought from a specialist shop in Covent Garden. I have other quirky, Spanish-inspired things including a little painting by Holly Freean entitled Velasquez Talks To Las Meninas.

I live with my partner, who works in television. He’s a producer-director of art history documentaries, and we choose everything together. We have learned from each other and over the years and our tastes have converged. Now we more or less appreciate the same things. Overall the flat is a haven of calm, quiet and peace. Coming home after a long day dancing, I can shut the door behind me and switch off completely. My house is a place of relaxation and recovery.

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