A few weeks ago I was asked by Alex if I would like to take part in her interview series about young creatives and their way of life for her blog page ‘Alex In Allem’, and of course, very flattered I said yes.
It was a great experience to work with her interesting questions and in the end, I found answering them showed me how much I have learnt through my life and helped me see my life as it is now. It was a really good exercise for me to express my past experiences and question my future ones. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Find below the link to the interview – originally in English but translated into German for her page (a treat for all my German friends):
Ein Interviewreihe über junge Kreative und ihre Art zu Leben.
❝Tanzen kann verdammt hart sein. Du musst es wirklich wollen und mit einem fröhlichen Geist bei der Sache sein. Dann kannst du es schaffen.❞
And for the benefit of everyone else, here is the interview in English:
Mind Over Matter: Harriet
An interview series about young creatives and their way of life Alexandra Krohn
❝I get so much out of working hard and improving, but I thrive off encouragement.❞
Alex: Hello Harriet. Will you give us a sneak peek into your most unconventional training method?
Harriet: I always try to think positive – mind over matter. Everybody needs positivity and to do something hard or demanding you have to believe you can do it. One of my peculiarly quirky methods I try for maybe a step I am struggling with, is to do it with a smile and a light mind, or I even say to myself, ‘I am Marianela Núñez’ (or some other famous dancer) and pretend to be her doing the steps. Somehow, by thinking these little thoughts the steps usually work much better.
Alex: Is it more challenging to dance for pieces like Anne Frank, rather than Dornröschen or Giselle, or is it all about the same?
Harriet: Both styles are challenging in different ways. Personally, when dancing a classical ballet I definitely get more nervous, which makes it difficult and I need a lot more preparation. They are technically very challenging on the body, both in rehearsal and on stage. With new creations such as ‘Anne Frank’, we can spend months working in the studio with the choreographer developing steps and the storyline, which can be tough. But I find it also a very precious time because the dancer and choreographer really get to know each other and the choreography becomes a creation between them. A lot of the modern styles being created nowadays are just as demanding on the body as the classics, but ‘Anne Frank’ is so emotionally draining, it is that which overcomes me every time I am part of it.
Alex: What is your biggest motivation in life?
Harriet: My family and friends. I think I am naturally a motivated person anyway but it is not just motivation but encouragement these people give me. I also find it very motivating when I work with someone who is as driven and as passionate as me. I get so much out of working hard and improving, but I thrive off encouragement.
Alex: Are you sometimes worried you won’t succeed or it’ll all be too much? How do you go about that feeling?
Harriet: Yes, I guess like most people, no one wants to fail at something, especially something they are working hard for. Since childhood, I have always put everything into what I do because I would hate to fail. I never want to let people down, but most of all I would be so disappointed in myself if I didn’t try my best. And that is all I can do, try my best. It helps me no end to know that whatever happens, at work, on stage, or even in life, I will always have the love and support of my family and friends.
Alex: What would you advice young girls or boys who want to become a dancer?
Harriet: The career of a dancer can be very hard and demanding so you have to really want it and have the right mental attitude to get you where you want to be. I started dancing because I loved it and between the age of 11 and 16, when I studied at The Hammond School, my friends and I never stopped laughing – it is so important to have fun with it. Also going to a school like The Hammond, where I studied all different styles of dance, encouraged me to be a more versatile dancer and I could see where my strengths lay, which helped me in the future. When I joined The Royal Ballet School, life become much more intense and in those tough three years I had to stay strong. Maybe not at the time but now I see that not being the ‘favourite’ is not necessarily a bad thing. It taught me to stand on my own two feet and work as hard as I can because no one else will do the work for me. Dance has to be done by you and for you.
Alex: And finally… 10 years from now: any concrete plans?
Harriet: I would love to have a plan but at the moment I can’t see it yet. I can definitely say that in 10 years I would like to be finally living in the same house as my husband, have finished my dance career on a high and be on my way into another exciting chapter in whatever direction that may be.
My life in 5 words:
Precious. Family. Laughter. Positive. Dance.