Viviana Durante Q&A: Ballet

Our chat with the extraordinary ballerina.

We recently caught up with legendary ballet dancer Viviana Durante to chat about her remarkable career and the incomparable beauty of ballet. Viviana has danced for the world's most prestigious companies all across the world and is the consultant and foreword writer on our book Ballet: The Definitive Illustrated Story

Fast facts first: can you describe your work in five words?

Dancer, artist, actress, director and producer.

Where is your favourite place on Earth?


If not a ballet dancer, you would be:

A scientist.

Tradition or innovation?



What has been your most memorable single performance, and why did it stand out to you?

When I stepped into the role of Odette/Odile at the last minute in Swan Lake. The principal dancer hurt herself and Antony Dowell asked me to take over. I was only nineteen years old and I had never rehearsed the role before. I’ll never forget it!


What was your favourite science experience when you were growing up?

One thing I remember is that we had some strong magnets in our garden shed. I used to play with them, and I was amazed by the fact that they could push each other apart as well as pull together.


Do you recall when you first got excited about science?

One thing I remember clearly is being told how hot the surface of the Sun is. Afterwards, my father asked how scientists knew, and that really got me thinking.


What was your reaction when you saw Maker Lab on the Kardashian social media feeds?

I was really excited! It was a great idea to give the book as a gift, along with all the things someone needs in order to do the activities.


What do you think the connection is between reading and hands-on activities for learning?

Whenever I think about this, I always remember a famous saying: “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” I certainly did a lot of hands-on investigating when I was growing up, and I think it really helped me to remain curious and to understand better the things I was investigating.


What’s the most recent thing you’ve learned about science as an adult?

I keep up to date with all the science news, so I’m always learning new things. One of the most recent fascinating discoveries was of a fossilized flower that lived 174 million years ago. Until that discovery, scientists thought flowers developed only 120 million years ago.


What will fans of ballet adore about this book?

Its beauty; it’s stunning to look at.