Having just passed the year mark of the first Covid lockdown, we sadly find ourselves in not much of a different situation to where we all were this time last year. However, after months of waiting, endless shows being cancelled and not even stepping foot on our stage, a few weeks ago my company and I were finally back where we belonged. What a feeling it was to be under those bright lights once more, doing what we are meant to do after so long.
We were filming our beautiful ‘Romeo & Juliet‘ to be available online for the public over the next month. I was lucky enough to be performing as Juliet once more, almost exactly a year after my debut, just before we all got closed down that first lockdown. And even thought it wasn’t a normal performance, with public or even a full run through, as we had two days to film it, it felt so good to be able to put our art out there once more.
Hello again. How are we all? After not being on social media for a while, due to feeling personally a little strange about posting about my lucky circumstances compared to other people’s difficult situations all around the world at the moment, I have decided to come back for a reason and am hoping you lovely people out there may help me a little.
With the world going through what it is at the moment causing many people to loose their loved ones and livelihoods I feel beyond grateful for getting through the crisis pretty much unscathed so far. I am back doing what I love in the studio, and even on stage spreading the joy of dance to a live audience once more. My hope is to now spread that joy a little further and help someone who means a lot to me.
Her name is Pia. She is a dear friend of mine from Thailand. I have written about her before because dance actually brought us together while I was on tour in Bangkok with the Staatsballett Karlsruhe back in 2013. We met when she was my Masseur in the Thai massage parlour we always went to and even though we could only communicate very simply, she was so sweet and kind it was the beginning of our long distance friendship.
It was sealed when I offered Pia a bouquet of flowers I received from the Princess of Thailand after performing for her as our guest of honour. I wanted to give her a small thank you and seeing as the people of Thailand love their Royal family, I thought she would really appreciate it and could see what an impression she had already left on me..
Two years later I returned to Bangkok for the same dance festival and was eager to try to find this memorable Thai woman in the hope she could remember the little English ballerina she once massaged. Amazingly I found her on my last evening there and it was a wonderful reunion. This time we exchanged names and addresses and once I was home I sent her some gifts and a letter; written in English and badly translated Thai. Some time later she found me on Facebook; we have been in touch ever since.
I have met her once more in Bangkok since then, where she watched me perform and met my husband and I her niece. Every time we have met she has shown me so much unconditional kindness and motherly affection, she has come to mean a lot to me and me to her.
Recently however she is really struggling due to the Corona crisis in Thailand and she has not been able to work for several months. With the city not getting the needed tourists to provide work for the locals she can no longer afford the room she has in the city to be near her job.
Hearing this from her has urged me to do something to help her and her family, and although there are thousands of families in the same situation all over the world, being so connected to her I feel I need to do something for my friend. Dance brought me to Pia and dance brings joy to so many people so I hope it can bring even more than that to someone halfway across the world who’s simple, humble life is being taken away from them.
My first idea is to offer pairs of my old pointe shoes, signed and with a little message and the story that comes with the shoes to anyone who is interested and the donation will to go towards this small cause to help a friend in need.
So please contact me if you are interested and want to help me help Pia get through this difficult situation she faces. I for one will be so grateful for anything and I know she will be even more so. You can either write to me through here, or my Facebook or Instagram accounts. I hope to hear from you soon and thank you in advance.
Sometimes life gives you a second chance, even in ballet, and it’s always what you do with those moments that counts. So when my second chance to dance a huge role came around I really wanted it to mean something
Second chances. Moments we wish we could redo. Turn the clocks back and try again. Another opportunity to improve on experiences or approach them at a different age to see how we would handle it now. Who doesn’t want a second chance at moments in their life? And as a dancer I can tell you, it is often a wish of mine to have the chance to perform a role once more for these exact reasons.
❝Little did I know it wasn’t quite the end of that chapter❞
In my previous post, ‘Never Say Never’, I wrote about my fortunate moments of getting second chances and what I gained from them, but I think having Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘Swanlake’ come back into my life this season is possibly the biggest chance for me to see what has changed after six years of professional performing.
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 the hardest weeks of the season is upon us – Ballet Week, and there is no turning back now so we might as well go for it full force. During this time the company will perform every evening of the week a different ballet from this seasons repertoire, finishing with a ballet gala on the final night.
It is always a tough week for the dancers but often a very rewarding one, especially once we have survived it. We have rehearsals in the mornings preparing for the next show or Gala pieces followed by a break in the afternoon to rest before that evenings show. It is a time we are pushed to our limits both physically and mentally. Throughout the week, we must judge when to push our bodies and when to hold back, in order to be fit enough to last another show. The change of styles and choreographies each day can be difficult, and to set the mind up for a new atmosphere and emotions every morning is challenging, not to mention finding the will to get out of bed after another late, energy filled night.Continue reading “A Week at the Ballet”→
After last night I just had to share with you all the wonderful experience I had during my premiere of ‘Romeo & Juliet’. I don’t know if I will be able to put it into words how much the evening meant to me or how many emotions I was feeling but I am for sure going to try.
There were moments when Juliano Toscano and I thought our chance to perform as Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t come – our fate was for some reason not written in the stars and as more and more performances were crossed off and our names still not appearing to dance the next one, we felt the opportunity slipping away from us. Then suddenly with just two weeks notice (an insanely short amount of time to prepare for such a big ballet), our director gave us the date and we were moving, full steam ahead.
We worked so hard in the studio, with the guiding hands and eyes of our ballet mistress, often having eleven hour days in the theatre, not only preparing for this but learning another new ballet alongside it. However, despite the long hours and other responsibilities, it never really felt like work. We were both so eager to do it, pushing any doubt out of our minds that we couldn’t. We found ourselves supporting each other endlessly, which was a welcomed surprise as we hadn’t danced so much together previously. The chemistry found between us when learning the choreography at the beginning of the season with all the other casts was still there. Along with that, each day the technical aspects improved as well as us both slowly finding ways of developing the characters.
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❞
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”→
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.
I wanted to show my appreciation for this great person by dedicating this post to him and his work. Including a short interview about him, his past and his future. Flavio Salamanka, you will be missed.
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. Continue reading “Goodbye My Friend”→