Last Sunday we danced our final performance of the season which is always an exciting evening – another year completed, another year survived. However this year, not only was it a great one, it was also a very sad show for Karlsruhe StaatsBallett, as it was the last ever performance of our Kammertänzer Flavio Salamanka, a dancer who has been with the company since the beginning and who I have had the chance to dance many roles with and learn so much from.
We have had the pleasure of watching Flavio in numerous classical leads such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker to the more modern lead roles in A Midsummers Night’s Dream and Rusalka. Flavio has done it all. And he has done us proud. He has been such a big part of the company and many members of the public have followed his career over the 14 years he has danced here.
With his admirable work ethic and calm, beautiful personality, I have always appreciated every moment I have shared with him, whether that was in the studio, on stage or in everyday life.
I remember my first chance to work with him was in the role of Anastasia in Youri Vámos‘ ‘Dornröschen – Die Letzte Zarentochter’. ‘Till this day it is one of, if not my favourite role to dance and I think a lot of that has to do with having Flavio with me all the way.
Feeling quite nervous to work with him at first (a group dancer paired with a principle for the first time… ekk) but quickly relaxing and realising how amazing he was to dance with. He had so much advice to give and his partnering was incredible. He learnt every step of mine so he knew exactly where I needed to be, and each time we danced this ballet I felt we improved – I felt so calm with him and he taught me so much. From that first experience, I have trusted him 100% ever since.
Over the years we have danced many pieces together including Giselle, Taming of the Shrew, Anne Frank, Siegfried, In Den Winden Im Nichts, Der Prozess and a few more. I just wish he was staying so my list could grow longer.
Anyway, as you can see I love this guy and wanted to dedicate a post to him as a thank you for all he has given me and to wish him a fond farewell as he moves on to Austria, joining the company in Salzburg. I also wanted to hear a few words from him and thought it would be nice for him to share his side with us, what he has taken from his time here and what he is wanting to achieve in this next step in life.
With this short interview, I guess it’s over to you Flavio.
How did you feel after your last show with the Staatsballett Karlsruhe, a place you have danced so many shows?
So Harriet, when I finished my last show I felt very glad and blessed. After all these years of dancing here all the love and affection I received from the public and my colleges were so real and pure.
Having such a large portfolio of roles, is there one, in particular, you have enjoyed dancing the most? What has been your favourite so far?
It is so difficult to define one particular role that was my favourite because each one I have danced there has been something special that I have identified with. So, I would say all of them have been my favourite!
You have danced such diverse roles over the years, what has been your most challenging role so far?
For me, the most challenging roles so far were Joseph K. in ‘Der Prozess’ from Davide Bombana. During this performance, I hardly left the stage to rest, recover or shake my legs. It was 95 minutes of continuous intensity. The other role has been Kitty in ‘Anne Frank’ from Reginaldo Oliveira. To me, this ballet is a master piece and through out the creation process, the permanent question for myself was how can I become a Second World War young Jewish girls diary? What an important part of history I had to portray.
Having spent a large percentage of your life here, Germany must have become your home, what will you miss most about Karlsruhe?
I will miss the real friends I have made in and outside the theatre. I will miss the public and all their love that gently welcomed me to their country. Germany, in particular Karlsruhe, became my second home. My second ‘Heimat’
Is there anything you would have done differently?
No, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I enjoyed every moment throughout these 14 years here.
You have achieved so much in Karlsruhe but what do you feel has been your biggest personal achievement so far in your career?
To have achieved the title of Kammertänzer within in the theatre has been very special. It is something that I never thought I could have reached and actually something that was never even really a goal for me. But also staying true to myself and always being me through out my career is something I am proud to say I have done.
From working with you I have learnt so much, is there anyone who has influenced you and your dancing?
My mother is the most influential person I know. With her I started to learn ballet, she was my first teacher. Over the years many other teachers and ballet school directors have influenced me to reach where I am now, whether they are in Brazil or Germany I should not and will never forget them.
With this new and exciting step ahead of you, you must be so excited. What are you looking forward to most when starting your new company?
So I am looking forward to continuing to learn, dance and to help create new and exciting ballets with my new boss, the young and talented Reginaldo Oliveira, who is becoming the new Ballet Director and choreographer of the Salzburger Landestheatre.
You have a new title in Salzburg as the Assistant Choreographer, this must be exciting? What will this entail?
Being Oliviera’s assistant for the productions will guide me to a freedom of expression that allows us to explore and expand the limits of the body and soul. It means a lot of work is waiting for us in Salzburg and we are all looking forward to it.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions Flavio, it is always interesting to hear from other dancers.
As we all know life must go on and the company, the public and I have been so lucky to have such an honest, talented and true person amongst us while we had him. Flavio has been a great dancer, partner and teacher to many of us at work and a caring, peaceful, giving person always. Now he can share his talent and wisdom with the Salzburger Landestheatre Company (lucky people) where his future is bright. I just hope Sunday was not my last time sharing the stage with him, even if I did get to end nicely with a kiss.
Wishing you all the luck in the world Flavio, you deserve it. See you soon in Salzburg.