Now that my time of home quarantine is pretty much over with Germany and Austria coming back to life after almost two months in shut down, I have a similar feeling to when I go back to work after our long summer holidays. Having gotten quite used to the way of life we were all forced into I am now feeling like I am once again treading on familiar ground but a little apprehensive to do so.
My first journey back to Salzburg was a strange one, riding an empty train carrying a ‘border commuter’ document and wearing a mask, something I never imagined I would be explaining to people. But I got across successfully and made my way to the disinfected studios to begin a ballet class of four dancers, all practising their spacial awareness and finding their own feet after taking class in their living rooms for the past few weeks. Continue reading “Crossing the Border to Basics”→
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.
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”→
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.
❝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”→
Dancers literally never stop moving, whether at work or not, our feet find rhythm in silence. But apart from never sitting still, we are constantly trying to move in more ways than the obvious one. The best kind of dancers are forever trying to improve themselves and their work – never wanting their performances to stop developing and because of this, ballets themselves are steadily growing and changing each time they are performed.
Ballerinas are often never satisfied, and even though they may look perfect to their adoring audiences, there is always something they will have wanted to be better, even the best of them. But that is what makes them the best.
❝I am always hoping to do it better than the last time I did it❞
One of my favourite aspects of dance has always been pas de deux. From a classical grand pas de deux to modern creations, I just so fond of sharing the work, technicality and especially the emotions of a dance partnership. I have been lucky enough to have had some fantastic partners over the years and I have loved working with these young men and performing together.
❝What does actually make a good partnership in dance? What can make it or break it?❞
As a student, during my time at The Hammond School, we studied simple pas de deux and I took a liking to it straight away, but it was not until I joined The Royal Ballet Upper School, where we had pas de deux class two-three times a week, that I really started to enjoy it. It began a little shakily but after a few weeks I was randomly partnered with a classmate called Ashley Whittle and not only did we immediately click and work well together, but we had so much fun. This must have come across to our teachers as for almost two and a half years we were always dancing together. Pas de deux became my favourite class of the week and it was the first time I felt 100% trust and confidence in my partner, and I think he felt the same.
My summer holiday is never complete without some dancing, and over the past two days, I have had the pleasure of spreading and sharing the dancing joy with the students of Moorland Ballet Academy Summer School.
Moorland is a privet school in Lancashire with an Elite Football Program and a Classical Ballet Academy. The ballet academy was founded by two wonderful past teachers of mine Lynsey and Simon Kidd, who both taught and guided me during my student years. Knowing personally what good teachers they are, I was honored to hear from them and be invited to join them during the summer course.
Even though I only spent two days at the school, I truly enjoyed teaching the summer students – a mixture of full-time students at the school and young dancers from outside, some coming from as far as Japan, and already saw improvement in that short space of time. I had the pleasure of teaching a great bunch of 11-13 year olds and an older group of 14-18 year olds. Both classes worked so hard for me so thank you for that girls and boys.
I am sure all of the above come to mind, and it is true, we ballerinas can be all those things, (I try to convince myself I am a princess every day) but in this post, I want to focus on the ballerina and her flexibility.
Flexibility is a very useful and often needed attribute of a dancer but I would not say it is always the most important. Yes, some days, if not all, I would give my right arm to be more flexible but as I have gotten older and (hopefully) wiser, not only have I decided my right arm is a part of me I would not want to lose, I have also come to realise I can be ok the way I am.
How is it already the second week of December? My advent calendar is slowly emptying, snow has already fallen, Christmas markets are buzzing like always, and as the days tick towards the 25th (24th here in Germany), the music of the much-loved ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ is filling theatres all over the world and Karlsruhe is no exception. Tis’ the season to be jolly and what better way to get in the festive mood than dressing up as a snowflake and jumping out of giant presents.
We have been dancing Youri Vámos’s ‘The Nutcracker – A Christmas Story’ since the first year I joined the company. The storyline combines the original Nutcracker with Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. It was actually the first premier I experienced back in 2010. I had just graduated from the Royal Ballet School, and after performing my last Grand Defile with the school and a night celebrating with fellow classmates for the last time, I flew to Karlsruhe to spend a week with the company while they started learning the ballet.
With the premiere of Peter Schaufuss‘s La Sylphide at the end of the week, things are really coming together and getting exciting. We had a few dress rehearsals last week and I had the unexpected chance to dance the Sylphide.
Originally being the third cast for the main role and just coming back from injury, I was not expecting to be dancing it for a while. But things changed when Peter asked how I felt about giving it a go in the next day’s run through. I was feeling good and knew the role pretty well so why not. With this ballet, there is surprisingly no pas de deux choreography so it is very easy to mix up the casts. Peter told us he wanted to change the dancers around so we all had the chance to dance and he also had the chance to see us in each role.
After the run, they were happy enough to give me another chance to rehearse it again the next day on stage. This rehearsal also went well and it was beautiful to dance with the live orchestra, which always brings another depth to the piece. I was then surprised last Monday morning when Peter set the cast for the first dress rehearsal and I would dance the Sylph. Continue reading “How a Fairy Gets Her Wings: An Unexpected Chance to Fly”→