International Ballet Star Jeffrey Cirio on His Creative Process, Akram Khan and Bicycles

July 27, 2020

One of ballet’s most in-demand male dancers, Jeffrey Cirio could pass for a model off-duty thanks to his simplified, yet designer-savvy approach to fashion. So when the former Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre principal hopped the pond in 2018 to join English National Ballet as a lead principal, the biggest challenge, he jokes, “was deciding what to bring with me, and then getting all of my suitcases out of customs.”

Quinn Wharton

Quinn Wharton

Most memorable performances:
“Dancing Basilio in Don Quixote with Boston Ballet (after which, I was named principal), dancing the lead role in Elo Experience with Larissa Ponomarenko, and Solor in La Bayadère, which is one of my favorite roles to perform.”

Co-creating Cirio Collective:
“My sister, Lia (who is currently a principal with Boston Ballet), and I started this summer project where dancers get together with choreographers, musicians and other artists to explore movement without feeling self-conscious or afraid of failure. It’s been a wild ride—we’ve already performed at the Joyce Ballet Festival and internationally in several venues.”

His creative process:
“Choreographing is different each time for me. Sometimes, a piece of music or art inspires me, and I’ll go into a studio and start creating. Other times I’ve seen a movement and a piece grows out of just that one thing.”

Favorite designers:
“Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo, and I love what Prada is doing right now. Some of my other favorites are Kiko Kostadinov, Dries Van Noten and Our Legacy.”

What’s on his playlist:
“It really depends on my mood, but right now, I’m enjoying The Weeknd’s new album and Christian Löffler’s new album.”

After-work hobby:
“I love bicycles—I’ve built two of my own.”

Quinn Wharton

Most profound artistic experience:
“The opportunity to work with Akram Khan on Creature. I’ve yet to perform the role because of the coronavirus, but working with Akram changed my life—never have I had to dig so deep.”

How he spends his off day:
“Sunday is my one full day off. I usually spend it going to church, exploring London or grabbing Sunday roast with some friends.”

Preshow routine:
“Before performing, I usually try to take a nap, eat, get a preshow coffee, do makeup with my music on and then say a little prayer.”