Finding My Feet in Salzburg

Want to know how things are going here in Salzburg? Read about the new and wonderful time I am having with the Landestheater Salzburg

I have been part of the Landestheater Salzburg for almost two months now and am definitely on my way to feeling settled. The new routine is becoming my norm but still fresh enough to be interesting, and the people that now fill my days are all making life enjoyable and welcoming.

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In our rehearsal studios in Salzburg

I feel cosy in my cute little apartment, filled with leftover furniture and comforting photos of friends and family. I am adapting to the very different timetable here where we work through rather than having a split working day. We begin at 10am with training followed by morning rehearsals till 14pm, a half-hour lunch break and continue with rehearsals until 5pm. When we start performing it will be a little different, but for now, I am really liking this way of working.

❝This is a big ballet to create so a lot of interesting work is going into this part of the process❞

Before I joined the company I admit I was a little worried about this change as I couldn’t imagine not having the long afternoon break I have grown comfortable too, but now I really appreciate having the evenings to relax and recover for the next day. Our bodies have so much more time to recuperate and it also gives us the feeling of a ‘normal life’; work is done at 5pm, time to enjoy dinner, meeting friends or an evening at home. Continue reading “Finding My Feet in Salzburg”

Dating a Dancer

Have you ever dated a dancer? Well my husband has & he somehow ended up even marrying one. But what comes with being with a dancer? A person who’s job is a big love in their life

Recently I read an interview with Gary Avis, a Principal Character Artist with The Royal Ballet, where he talked about his experiences as a boy doing ballet and what that has lead to. But he briefly mentioned something that really hit home for me so I wanted to share my thoughts on that topic with you all while sending out my special thanks to a special someone.

“There’s an impact on your personal life, too – but not for the dancer himself. Whoever partners with a dancer has to be a saint. Ballet takes a lot out of you and the hours are crazy. Dancers are committed to this life 110 per cent and so your partner has to be too. There is no other way.”- Gary Avis

Mr Avis was talking about the men and women who are not dancers themselves but choose to enter the world of dance when in a relationship with a dancer, and that is what I wanted to write about today.

❝Dancers are lucky that their jobs are a big love in their lives

The partners of dancers. Our better halves. The ones we come home to after a day in the ‘office’ and they will listen to our absurd ballet world problems, trying to understand what we have been doing all day while learning more about the arts than they ever thought they would.

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Busy at the office, a place my husband has learnt all about (Playing the title role, Anne Frank from Reginaldo Oliveira)

Continue reading “Dating a Dancer”

Tanzen in Tokyo

Sharing with you my amazing time in Tokyo during summer

If you’ve already read my previous post “Living In a World Such as this is like Dancing on a Live Volcano” you will know why I recently ended up on a quick trip to Japan to perform at a small gala very last minute. This spontaneous trip became part of my very short summer vacation and was another chance to perform some pieces I never thought I would again.

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Post pas de deux pic, with my ‘Romeo’ Zhile Xu

I spent the week rehearsing and performing with old colleagues while managing to combine the days spending some much needed holiday time with my other half, who came along for the week.

❝It is quite amazing what you can make possible when you have no other choice❞

We arrived at our hotel after a very very long journey just in time for a quick dinner and hopefully an early night. But upon arriving I received my costumes and pre-ordered pointe shoes, which I needed to prepare for the next morning’s rehearsal. So while my husband slept soundly (possibly the only good night sleep he got the whole trip due to jetlag) I lay in bed till 12:30 sewing these emergency pointe shoes until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

The next morning I was sewing the whole way to the rehearsal studio, during the warm-up class and literally moments before I had to put them on and dance in them. I quickly broke them in, gave them a quick hammering and they were on my feet for the rehearsal. Never before have I managed to dance in such new shoes, not to mention without elastics and on a very slippy, hard floor. But it surprised me how manageable it was. It is quite amazing what you can make possible when you have no other choice.

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Rehearsing Rachmaninov by Jonathan dos Santos with Timoteo Mock

My working hours were not too long so my husband and I were able to seize each day and explore the great city of Tokyo. We spent our time wandering the fascinating streets of busy Shibuya and Shimbashi, enjoying the view from Tokyo Bay, tasting the intriguing food and even joining the locals at one of their beloved baseball matches. This was definitely one of our highlights, along with the Teamlab Borderless museum where we became children again, mesmerised by the three-dimensional world created there. This is a definite must-see when in Tokyo, guys.

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Uli & I among the beautiful artwork within the Teamlab Borderless museum

Not forgetting that I was actually here to perform, and once we were in the theatre we had full days of dress rehearsals in the afternoon and shows early evening. We had quite a hard time adjusting to the very hard stage and I was feeling especially anxious for the performance after our first run-through. But we all grit our teeth, wanting to enjoy performing here as much as possible, and we did.

❝Being positive is what it should all be about❞

For myself, the second evening performance when I danced the Romeo & Juliet balcony pas de deux and all together we finished the evening off with Rachmaninov, was particularly memorable. The dancers and audience were lovely and after the final evening, there were many pictures with excited students and family members of the dancers. I felt very honoured to be there.

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Happy ladies at the end of the week (Momoka Kikuchi, Carolin Steitz & Moeka Katsuki)

Even though I had my doubts about going at first, I am so lucky to have had this opportunity. I helped a lot of people by going, I performed for a new grateful audience, I had a wonderful time with my husband and friends, and I once again danced pieces that mean a lot to me. It was all so positive in the end and being positive is what it should all be about.

Thank you to everyone who made this possible and so memorable. It really made my summer.

With love,

Harriet

“Living in a World Such as this is Like Dancing on a Live Volcano.”

An exciting and sudden opportunity came my way, just as I thought a quiet three week rest was what I needed

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Not often such a calm moment in the ballet world

There is never a dull moment, even during my lazy summer holidays. One week in and finally enjoying some days off with my family in London, looking forward to the next two weeks of summer, a phone call changed all my plans.

❝I had NO pointe shoes❞

Just as we were sitting down for a coffee my phone rang, flashing my previous employer’s name, Birgit Keil. ‘Mum Frau Keil is calling me’. Just seeing her name on my phone suggested something was going on and something was definitely about to happen.

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Weekend away in London with my family

Upon answering she told me all about the big dilemma she was in regarding a ballet gala in Japan and how desperate she was to find a dancer to replace someone who had suddenly dropped out at the last minute. Hence the call to me – trusty Harriet. Continue reading ““Living in a World Such as this is Like Dancing on a Live Volcano.””

Ask Me Anything

Sharing a video answering ten questions about me and my ballerina life for an ‘Ask Me Anything’

The life of a Ballerina can be quite an interesting one and very different to any other lifestyle there is. As I love sharing with you what I get up to through my blog and social media, I wanted to do an ‘Ask Me Anything’ to answer some of the many questions people are often wondering about us dancers.

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Performing one of my favourite roles ‘Juliet’ with Juliano Tuscano as my ‘Romeo’ (Photo: Admill Kuyler)

I got a great response through Instagram and some amazing questions, so much so I think I may have to turn this video into a series of videos to give as many answers as possible.

Thank you to everyone who asked me something, I loved answering them and it is also a great way to inspire me on things I should write about for the future. If anyone out there has a question for a ballerina please write to me and ask, I would be honoured to answer. 

Hope you enjoy the video and keep your eyes open for more.

With love,

Harriet

The End of My Karlsruhe Era

A week to go of the season here in Karlsruhe and I want to look back all I have gone through here and share with you all what is to come

As the end of our ballet season in Karlsruhe is approaching fast, the time for big changes is also on the horizon, and with this post, I want to share with you the next step I am planning to take in my career and personal life.

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On stage performing as Anastasia in ‘Sleeping Beauty – The Last Daughter of the Czar’
a ballet by Youri Vámos

This season will actually be my last with the Staatsballett Karlsruhe and I will be eagerly joining the Salzburg Landestheater Ballet Ensemble at the beginning of August. A company I have had my eye on for a while and a place I hope will bring many different and exciting opportunities my way.

❝Karlsruhe Ballet has been my home for nine seasons, giving me more than I ever thought I would have❞

Continue reading “The End of My Karlsruhe Era”

Inspiration All Around Us

Where do you find your inspiration? I find my inspiration in you

We all need a little inspiration in life and we all find it in different places. It can come from the simplest of things, like a sunny morning helping you get out of bed or a good song brightening your mood. Inspiration can be found almost anywhere and I think one of the strongest inspirations we have out there can be each other. Humans inspiring humans.

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Performing La Sylphide from the inspirational Peter Schaufuss

I wanted to touch on this topic because recently I have received a few messages and responses to my dancing and what I am writing about on here that have been so encouraging for me. Messages from people who I haven’t even met, and yet they kindly took the time to let me know that from watching me dance or reading my blog they have thoroughly enjoyed it and been inspired by it. Continue reading “Inspiration All Around Us”

The Spinning World of Dance

Dance can take people half way across the world to share their talents with new colleagues and audiences, giving us the chance to connect with people we would never know other wise

The world is a small place. But the dance world is even smaller. And you wouldn’t believe how international every school or company is around the world. I have had friends from everywhere and there is a huge chance that they know people I have met in school or in other companies. And there is even a bigger chance they are from a different country and are now living in a different country to that due to dance.

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Faces from all over the world together on one stage

In my experience alone – I have shared a room with a Norwegian girl and became friends with a bunch of Australians during my school time. When I started working I joined the company with an American, Israeli and Austrian. I created life long friendships with a Korean, French and a Belgian. I have shared a dressing room with a Spaniard, Czech, and many Japanese girls. I have partnered Brazilians, Chinese, Armenians and Italians. I have worked with teachers and choreographers from too many places to remember and the list goes on of international friends, co-workers and associates I have met because of my chosen profession.

❝We are able to form very close bonds to people we would never have met if it weren’t for dance

Continue reading “The Spinning World of Dance”

Grabbing on to that Second Chance

Sometimes life gives you a second chance, even in ballet, and it’s always what you do with those moments that counts. So when my second chance to dance a huge role came around I really wanted it to mean something

Second chances. Moments we wish we could redo. Turn the clocks back and try again. Another opportunity to improve on experiences or approach them at a different age to see how we would handle it now. Who doesn’t want a second chance at moments in their life? And as a dancer I can tell you, it is often a wish of mine to have the chance to perform a role once more for these exact reasons.

Little did I know it wasn’t quite the end of that chapter

In my previous post, ‘Never Say Never’, I wrote about my fortunate moments of getting second chances and what I gained from them, but I think having Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘Swanlake’ come back into my life this season is possibly the biggest chance for me to see what has changed after six years of professional performing.

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Performing as Odette with Zhike Xu as Prince Siegfried (Photo: Jochen Klenk)

Continue reading “Grabbing on to that Second Chance”

Never Say Never

Just when you think a ballet is behind you, they have a tendency to come back and teach you something new

I have often been proved wrong when thinking I was dancing something for the last time. Just when you think the curtain has gone down on a particular role or piece it ends up finding its way back to you. And more often than not, it’s the ones you were glad to say goodbye to.

❝It seemed like an impossible thing for me to ever dance & I never imagined I would have the opportunity to give it a go❞

Recently this seems to be happening a lot to me and it is proving to not be such a bad thing after all. For this post, I want to share two particular pieces that have found their way back to me and dedicate another to the recent return of our Swanlake and my upcoming shows of Odette/Odile, which I think definitely needs its own mention.

So for now, I take you back to the end of last season when we performed Kenneth McMillan’s ‘Concerto’ in our yearly gala here in Karlsruhe. ‘Concerto’ is a one-act ballet in three movements choreographed in 1966 for the Berliner Ballett and was staged for the Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1967. Our company had to learn it in just two weeks with Julie Lincoln teaching and staging the piece. This ballet was not completely new to me as I performed ‘Concerto’ while at The Royal Ballet School for my graduating performance in 2010. I was part of the third movement assemble, and now, 8 years later, I was cast for the third movement Solo Girl.

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Backstage of the Royal Opera House at the age of 18 during ‘Concerto’ rehearsals

I was delighted, albeit a little nervous to be chosen to dance this role as I remember admiring the girl who performed it at school. At that time it seemed like an impossible thing for me to ever dance and I never imagined I would have the opportunity to give it a go. At that age and time in my life, dancing such a solo was the scariest thing I could imagine. Continue reading “Never Say Never”