Another year passed and a new one begins. Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all left 2016 feeling content with what last year brought you and leapt into 2017 excited for all the possibilities you can bring to the new year ahead.
I learnt a lot in 2016. Being filled with moments of happiness and times of sadness, it was definitely a year of change and growth, which is what every year should involve. I did not only grow one year older (ouch) but I believe my heart grew larger for the wonderful people I hold close and my brain grew wiser due to tough situations and learning how to handle them correctly. You only learn through experience.
It was a year full of dance, like most of my years are. I was promoted to principle and danced my first premiere in the leading role, both being things I never thought possible. 2016 also came with my first injury and unfortunately that will be something I will have to bring with me into the new year: bones take a long time to heal. May 2017 be the year of healthy bones.
I will happily be carrying my blog with me into the new age. Being something I was very sceptical of at first but now am so deep into the joy of sharing my little life with anyone interested, I am more than thrilled to introduce A Ballet of Life to 2017. I hope it can grow and expand even more in the year to come.
A new year is full of potential and will no doubt bring each of us new challenges – offering very different yet very exciting things on the horizon. I want to once again dance my way through the year and am very interested to see what that brings me. I aim to allow all the things I learnt in the year just passed to influence what happens to me in the year at present. I step into January 1st with my point shoes at the ready, all wide-eyed and full of anticipation for what ballet will bring me in 2017.
May your year be full of the things you love most and be brightened by some form of beautiful art too.
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.
A few weekends ago I was lucky enough to have my sister visit me for a few days so I thought it was the perfect time for me to introduce her to my story. Having known me for all my life and me being her much-awaited baby sister, and her my exemplary big sister, we are definitely two peas in a pod.
Growing up together Rebecca and I were very happy, busy girls. After school, our evenings were full of many hobbies and activities. You name it we did it. At the age of three, I joined my sister for ballet, tap, and jazz classes every Saturday with Lynn McCheyne. It was actually not something I loved at first, only doing it because my sister did, so we never imagined that chubby little Harriet would become a professional ballerina.
As a dancer, there are so many perks to my job it is hard not to love it. I am able to do something I am so passionate about that also encourages me to constantly develop and learn. So considering all these positive aspects of a life as a dancer I wouldn’t want to choose the most important, but at the end of the day, the main goal in this profession is to put on a show. Everything I do, from training and rehearsing to eating well and taking care of my body, is all for that. I love many elements of my work but performing has to be the best part of the job.
Just the fact that after all your hard work there is an audience applauding for you. Who wouldn’t want that? It is truly a great feeling. And for me, it is not the only part that brings me the joy. With every performance I have done, and mainly when dancing principal roles, I marvel at the thought of having taken people to a different world, if only for a couple of hours. From their ordinary lives, they are transported into a place filled with beautiful music and beautiful movement; all the hardship or struggles of life can be forgotten about. And being on stage takes me to that same place with them. This is what makes it so much fun. I can take myself to another world where I really become the character I am dancing. Continue reading “Perform With Your Heart, Not Your Feet”→
As you may have seen on my calendar, the company is heading on a trip. We will be travelling all the way to Bangkok, Thailand for a week and performing the beloved ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Bangkok’s 18th International Festival of Dance and Music. We will be dancing Youri Vámos’s ‘Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol’, a ballet we premiered the first year I joined the company. It was actually the first premier I experienced as a professional dancer back in 2010.
Going on tour with the company is always very exciting. Since joining, I have travelled to Korea, Switzerland and Bangkok, loving my time performing in different places. Dancing somewhere new has such a different feeling to being comfortable at our home theatre. New dressing rooms, training on stage, different backstage crew. But it is a great chance to have fresh experiences and the performances always bring me something new.
Today the new season officially starts with our first performance back on our big beautiful stage. The company will perform Das Kleine Schwarze/The Roit of Spring, a modern ballet by Terence Kohler portraying the lives and relationship of Coco Chanel and Igor Strawinsky. It is always great to return to stage and there is always such a good energy in the theatre.
Unfortunately this year I will not be part of this excitement due to an injury (post coming soon on this), which I am very sad about. Who wants to be off before it has even started? But I am realising, one must not dwell on things they can not change and in order to be part of the excitement I decided to share with you my wonderful experience of creating this production instead.
Last season, when the piece premiered I got the chance to work with Terence in creating the role of Misia Sert, Coco Chanel’s best friend. And oh how I loved becoming this lady. She was confident and sassy, and a socialite among the upper class. Her relationship with Coco was very passionate: insinuated by similar interests, a lethal wit, and drug usage. There was almost rivalry between the two and without Misia introducing Coco to the world of art and beauty, she would not have become the icon she did. Misia often gave Coco ideas for her production in fashion and perfume, telling Coco that fashion changes but perfume is forever: introducing Chanel No. 5. Continue reading “Bringing Misia to the Stage”→
Today we are dancing into the weekend with our annual ‘Theaterfest’. A day where the theatre comes to life and welcomes everybody back after the summer break. There is always yummy food and drinks outside in the sun and short presentations shown on stage from the ballet, opera and drama department to entice the guests into what is to come in the new season.
I always have so much fun on this day because we have the chance to see friends in the theatre and mingle with the guests who support us throughout the year. The atmosphere in the theatre is great.
On top of that we get to show our fans a ballet class on stage and then present a rehearsal or a snippet from the premier piece we have been working on, which is a good chance for them to see what goes on backstage.
With a performance in the evening it is a great way to start the season off with positive vibes and smiles from the guests and employees of the Staatstheater.