Luca Abdel-Nour, the Prix de Lausanne 2021 prize winner, has graduated Switzerland’s Tanz Akademie Zürich and joined Dutch National Ballet Junior company. He was born in Egypt in 2003 to a French mother and an Egyptian father and started doing ballet at the age of 12 in Cairo and six years later became the first Egyptian prizewinner in an international ballet competition.
We have talked with this aspiring and fervent young man about his personal traits and the way in ballet.
Luca, I’m really glad to talk with you. Ballet lovers are impressed by your Prix de Lausanne performances and achievement, you’re also an inspiration for many people in Arab countries and around the world.
You started doing ballet not in very early age, but you have very good technique and amazing plastique. Was it hard to achieve such great results?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t naturally blessed with some qualities that helped me achieve what I have achieved. I am naturally flexible and have good proportions and that already helped me throughout the process to catch up with the dancers around me that were the same age as me. However flexibility is both a blessing and a curse I had and still have to work a lot to stabilise my body my ankles etc.
Nevertheless the process was not easy at all but I found the challenge a fun one, but with all the knowledge that was given to me since the beginning of this crazy journey I was able to learn things I never imagined that I could. And I always have to remind myself that good things never come easy. So in short yes it was hard to achieve where I am now but every sacrifice was definitely worth it.
What personality traits help you?
This is a very hard question to answer but I personally think that yes I love ballet and I am a very hard worker but I couldn’t be all the time 100% focus on ballet so being a balanced human being is definitely it. Aside from that being persistent, hard working and being a dreamer have always helped me strive for more and better.
You have said that to join Dutch National Ballet was your dream, how do you feel now after joining it?
Crazy, it has been a crazy ride to arrive here. Every single moment in my life has led me to this amazing company and I am very grateful for the Prix de Lausanne and for the Tanz Akademie Zürich for giving me the opportunity to be in this amazing company. The season started with lots and lots of different rehearsals for different piece and I’m very excited to hopefully dance on stage soon! With a real audience which feels kind of weird as I am saying this because it has been soo long!
And what about Amsterdam? I have been there and it seems very good place to live in…
Amsterdam is such a beautiful city and has this amazing vibe to it. There’s a lot of diversity which I love and the people are very warm and nice! I also love the fact that I can just bike everywhere whenever I want I love that freedom in this city!
How do you spend your free time?
I always get asked this question in interviews and I always give different answers because I always change what I do in my free time, but I usually like to spend time with friends and family, cook and eat with friends sometimes when I have the time, and a good walk or bike around the city is always a good idea.
Do you feel closer to Middle Eastern or European culture?
If you have been following me lately you would probably know that I am actually raised in a mixed family. My mother is French and my father is Egyptian and I was born and raised in Cairo Egypt up until I turned 14 and decided to make the leap over to Europe to pursue a full time ballet school. So I don’t really know what I feel closer to European or Egyptian culture but I definitely love parts of both cultures and dislike some parts from both cultures but I identify as both Egyptian and French so I couldn’t choose.
How can you characterize yourself as a person and as a dancer?
I am shy until you actually get to know me but dance is my comfort zone and I am mostly having fun whenever I am dancing on stage or in the studio. Other than I am quite outgoing and always down to have a good time.
01. Your favourite place?
Probably the Red Sea in Egypt, I love the sea the weather the nature and the vibes.
02. Favourite food?
French cheese / Lasagna / burgers / pizza.
03. What music do you listen to?
I love the 2000s pop music e.g. Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Shakira, but I also have an unconditional love for Madonna’s music.
04. Your favourite film(s)?
I don’t have a single favourite movie but love Harry Potter, the Blind side, Spy, The Heat, and for series Friends is always a good idea.
05. And book(s)?
This doesn’t sound very good but I do not really read books.
06. Which are your dream roles?
I prefer Prince roles so for example the Prince in Nutcracker, Desirée from Sleeping Beauty etc.. but above all I love working on Neo classical original works because I love the process of creating a new piece with a choreographer and I would love to work with William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, Leo Mujic (again) and many others.
07. And who are your role models in life and profession?
In life probably my parents I’ve seen them go through so many ups and downs and but they never failed being there for my siblings and I. In the ballet art form probably my role models are Vadim Muntagirov, Marianela Nuñez, Tiler Peck, Denys Cherevychko and many many more!
08. What can you wish yourself?
I can just hope that we can dance on stage and I wish health and happiness for myself and all dancers out there because being injured is probably the thing we fear the most.
I can wish you the great luck and health, and also many interesting roles! Thank you, Luca.
Interview: Julia Sumzina
Photos: Xandra M. Linsin
Video: Prix de Lausanne