Dancing Queen in Quarantine

With us all going through something very scary right now, I wanted to spread some positively about what us artists are doing while we can’t work

Never would I have thought I’d be writing a post about this. With the world on lockdown due to the quickly spreading Coronavirus, it has been one of the strangest and scariest times any of us have experienced and it doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.

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❝The entertainment and theatre industry is taking a huge hit❞

It is causing us all to go through our own difficult times and creating a worrisome atmosphere of what is to come and the possible effects it will have on us all. We have all been advised to say indoors and avoid contact with others, not to mention the unfortunate people that are having to actually deal with the illness and lives being turned upside down because of it.

The entertainment and theatre industry is taking a huge hit, with performances being cancelled for weeks due to the crowds and dancers all over the world not being able to work for the foreseeable future.

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Training and exercising in the living room while under quourentine

As a dancer myself, who is writing to share my dance experiences and seeing as we are all at home needing to find our own source of entertainment to fill the days, I wanted to share with you, if you can find the time, what I and fellow dancers are doing to get through this time and to come out the other side as healthy as possible.

❝Something pretty amazing is happening within the dance community❞

It was at the end of last week when we were informed that our theatre in Salzburg would be closing for at least two weeks due to the virus. It was not long after that the government announced the city itself would be going into shutdown; taking the necessary precautions to keep us all as safe and healthy as possible.

And just like that, we could not work any more. We were not allowed to train in the studio or even be in the theatre. All shows were cancelled and the only option was to go home, leaving the dancers deflated and heavy-hearted. You may know that as a group, dancers are not the kind of people to give up and go home, we are constantly striving to keep the shows going so this was a situation where we literally didn’t know what to do with ourselves. And with is happening all over the world we are all now at home trying to find solutions to be able to stay in shape and motivated, not knowing when we can be back on stage working. It’s not like we can do home office…. or is it.

Something pretty amazing is happening within the dance community; something unique and could only have happened in a situation like this. Teachers and dancers are offering live video classes from their studios and homes for other dancers to take part and be able to feel like they can train and not be alone while doing it. Giving us all the motivation and discipline we might lack when home alone.

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Doing class the only way I can… at home following a teacher online

I find it amazing that we have all come together to help each other stay fit and entertained. We are all in the same boat so why not join together and do something we all love and are eager to keep up with. I think it is bringing a lot of joy to whoever takes part and is a great way to connect with people.

This whole experience is surreal but it can be a time we use wisely by doing the things we can never find the time to do, or trying out something new, like an online ballet class. I am a person who loves being at home so, for now, I am filling my days with things I love and getting in touch with people I love. I want to focus on some studying and maybe also try out a few online classes.

I am also trying to put life into perspective. Now that we have all been forced into a state of isolation I hope we realise how much we have and should want to treasure the little joys in life more. Right now we all wish life would go back to normal, wish we could get back to work. And yeah, maybe work is not too bad after all. Maybe we shouldn’t complain too much about the silly things while we have them.

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Looking forward to being back in the studio and everything being back to normal with the world (Working on the ‘Romeo & Juliet’ pas de deux with Flavio Salamanka, coached by director/choreographer Reginaldo Oliveria)

We should also be kind and helpful in these times. Share and spread love in any way you can and don’t let the fear and the unknown create greed and loneliness. Do as us dancers are trying to do, share the things you love and keep each other smiling and dancing.

Stay safe and healthy,

Harriet

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”

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”

Pain as a Constant Companion

Reflecting on my interview with Sarah Nagel about my career and life as a ballet dancer

When Sarah Nagel, a journalist and friend, asked if I would like to be interviewed by her for the Sunday newspaper here in Karlsruhe I jumped at the opportunity. It was a pleasure to wake up this morning with my face on the front page and a beautifully written article to read while sewing pointe shoes on my day off. I have to admit reading about yourself over morning coffee is a joy, but another part of doing interviews I really appreciate is getting the chance to remind myself of where I have been and where I am now.

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‘Pain as a Constant Companion’ is the translated title of Sarah’s article in ‘Der Sonntag” as Sarah wanted to know the personal difficulties I have faced as a student and professional dancer and we talked about the hardship of physical and mental pain ballerinas face.

Things that affected me so much at a younger age seem so small now

Continue reading “Pain as a Constant Companion”

The Dressing Room of a Ballerina

Oh to be a fly on a ballerina’s dressing room wall. A space just for us amongst our tutus and friend

The theatre becomes a dancer’s second home, a place where we spend at least 50% or more of our daily waking hours. We work there, we eat there, we shower, dress and sleep there. Our friends are usually with us and its the place we do what we love most, dance.

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My first year at the Hammond School with my fellow dancers at our end of year production – Ruth Bailey, Risa Nakagawa, Anna Haresnape, Katrina Budzynski

It’s because of all these reasons that it becomes a very important building for us, and one of the most important rooms in this building is our dressing rooms.

This is where the beauty of ballet meets the ugly on a daily bases

When I was younger and performed once or twice a year in a theatre the dressing rooms were already one of the best parts and when I was part of a dance school, I remember it being so exciting to get our dressing rooms, all the girls together just like the professionals – we were just so grown up. And I was probably deep down even more excited when I first joined a professional company and found my own permanent spot in the dressing room. I had made it. Continue reading “The Dressing Room of a Ballerina”

Goals of the Dancer

Setting your own personal goals to get you from one company goal to the next

Each season ballet companies have the exciting chance to work towards and bring to life premieres. Whether that’s a world premiere of a new creation or the first time that particular company performs a ballet, they are always a huge highlight of the year.

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❝The goal that has been the main focus within the whole ballet company is reached❞

The process involves resident or guest choreographers/teachers coming to the theatre and working with the dancers – creating or teaching the steps and staging the whole production. Weeks if not months are spent putting the piece together and it will be the main focus of the company the majority of that time. Other performances are often performed during the preparation time but there will be much happening behind the scenes for the premiere. Continue reading “Goals of the Dancer”

Saying Goodbye to a Ballet

Ballets that come and go throughout a dancers career should leave something behind they can cherish

First of all, a Happy New Year to everyone reading and I hope we are all off to a good start in 2018.

As it is a new year I am sure we have all welcomed in new experiences and challenges, as well as said goodbye to and learnt from old ones. This has actually become the topic of this blog post and although sounding like quite a sad one, you know I am forever finding the positive in all my endeavours.

❝Never have I been involved in such a ballet that carried so much meaning and responsibility due to the history and story it told❞

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Happily dancing as the Sylph in La Sylphide (Photo: Pablo Octávio)

Last month Badisches Staatstheatre Karlsruhe sadly said goodbye to two of our ballets for the season 2017/2018. This commonly happens as companies need to make room for new productions each season and in our theatre ballets are often only with us for two-three seasons at a time. An out with the old in with the new kind of thing. Although I wouldn’t like to think of ballets as old, more renewed or revived in the next company who puts them on. Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to a Ballet”

The 3 Days 3 Quote Challenge

Day II

Here are my quotes for Day II of the ‘3 Days 3 Quote Challenge’

❝Keep Going. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.❞

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Stage rehearsal of La Sylphide (Photo: Pablo Octavio)

 – Roy T.Bennett

❝Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.❞

― John Wooden Continue reading “The 3 Days 3 Quote Challenge”

The 3 Days 3 Quote Challenge

Day 1

Firstly, I must thank Maysa Rose and hitherandyond for my nominations to take part in the ‘3 Days 3 Quote Challenge’. It is my first challenge as a blogger and I thought it would be a great way for A Ballet of Life to start 2017. Through my blog and dance experiences, I always want to encourage and motivate people to find the positive side of situations so the quotes I have chosen will involve the same messages.

Here are the challenge rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Post three quotes each day for three days
  3. Nominate three bloggers per day
  4. Inform the nominees

And here are my quotes for Day I:

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Dancing The Sylph in La Sylphide (Photo: Pablo Octávio)

❝You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.❞

-Merce Cunningham Continue reading “The 3 Days 3 Quote Challenge”