Carry On with SF Ballet Principal Dancer Luke Ingham

By: Kelly Soderlund, Hipmunk Staff

South Australia-born dancer Luke Ingham trained at the Australian Ballet School and performed with the Australian Ballet and the Houston Ballet before joining the San Francisco Ballet as a soloist in 2012. Ingham was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2014, and has danced many soloist and principal roles for SF Ballet, including Tomasson’s Nutcracker*. We asked the globe-trotting Ingham to take a quick break from dancing and and chat about his travel habits, tips, his favorite cities to visit, and the items he can’t travel without.

InghramHipmunk: So, tell us. What’s in your carry-on?

Luke Ingham: If I’m on a long-haul flight, I always bring Peanut M&M’s. Definitely a book in case entertainment fails. Other than that, I bring water, my passport, and a massage ball that I use on my feet and ankles because they get so swollen when I fly.

H: Carry-on bag of choice? 

LI: A navy blue Herschel Lonsdale Duffle. I’m not very fancy.

H: How often do you travel?

LI: I travel about 4-5 times a year internationally, plus wherever the SF Ballet tour takes me. I fly back to Australia when I can, and for the last 3 years I have frequently traveled to Amsterdam because my wife was based there.

H:  First, business class or coach?

LI: I have only ever flown coach. I feel like flying business and first would be like tasting caviar: Once tasted, nothing will ever be as good.

H:  Ok, now that we’re warmed up, let’s play a game of favorites. Favorite city to visit for work? Why?

LI: I was lucky enough to go to Tokyo on tour with the Australian Ballet in 2008 and 2010. The Japanese audience has a great respect and understanding for ballet. On top of that, Tokyo is an incredible city! The night life is so unique, and it’s always nice to be able to go to areas like the Golden Gai and sing karaoke after a performance.

H: Favorite city for play? Why?

LI: I have to say New York City. It’s still fresh in my mind—I was just there in May. There are so many things to see and do, including restaurants, bars, shows, and awesome live music venues. I saw Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Parisand The Book of Mormon. Both were fantastic. I’ve stayed down in Chelsea a couple of times and prior to that I’d stayed in Williamsburg. I love Brooklyn, especially the Williamsburg area. The Brooklyn Brewery is worth a look. It’s a great place for people-watching because everyone has their own unique and interesting style. 

H: Favorite hotels?

LI: I don’t really have a favorite, but last year SF Ballet toured to Paris. I had an early morning fight to Italy at the end of the tour, so I stayed at the citizenM at Charles de Gaulle Airport. My room overlooked the runways, and the room itself felt like a spaceship with a simple yet futuristic, almost pod-like design. I don’t know why, but I enjoyed it far more than the standard airport Hilton. 

H: Favorite airline? Airport? Airport Terminal?

LI: For nostalgic reasons, Qantas because it means I’m flying back to Australia. Melbourne Tullamarine Airport is my favorite for the same reason.

H: Any travel tips before you take off?

LI: I love to fly, but I’m always anxious about getting to the airport. If I’m not familiar with that particular airport, sometimes I’ll get there three hours before a flight to get checked in and through security. That way I feel much less stressed with time. Plus it means I can enjoy a refreshing beverage before I fly. I’ve never missed a flight. Hopefully in mentioning that I haven’t jinxed myself.

*This year, the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker runs from December 16-31 with the Repertory Season beginning January 24. Highlights from this season include world premieres by Liam Scarlett and Justin Peck, three full-length story ballets, the North American premiere of William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts, and the SF Ballet debut of Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas.

This post was posted by Kelly Soderlund on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on August 31, 2015.

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