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.
Tonight will be this season’s first performance of our ballet creation ‘Anne Frank‘. And it will be a pleasure to bring it back to life. Since premiering last season, ‘Anne Frank’ has been a great success which means a lot to the company because it was created by one of our very own dancers, Reginaldo Oliveira. I have briefly mentioned this creation before and as I am sure you can tell from the name it is a piece with so much meaning and history.
Originally from Brazil, Oliveira moved to Germany to join Karlsruhe Staatsballett 10 years ago and discovered his talent for choreography while working within the company. He has had the chance to create many pieces with the dancers here but ‘Anne Frank’ was his first full-length ballet.
When I first heard we would be creating the story of this little girl’s diary from the Second World War I was very intrigued. I had a feeling Reginaldo would find a new interesting way to tell such a tragic tale. I have heard similar comments asked by the public, wondering how someone would portray such horrific history with ballet. But after experiencing the ‘holding onto the happiness while heading towards darkness’ opening scenes and the ‘hear a pin drop’ silence during the concentration camp second act, their questions were all answered. Continue reading “Anne Frank”→
Thought I would let you guys know I managed to advance further in training this morning so feeling good about that. So good in fact, I treated myself to a new leotard. Feeling positive and pretty in pink.
May this feeling continue and fingers crossed it is onwards and upwards from here. Have a good weekend.
I have so much to share with you about my injury and the journey it took me on, that I decided to dedicate a few posts to it. It was a significant time for me where I learnt a lot and hopefully, by sharing my experience I can help other dancers, athletes or anyone see what one can get out of a bad situation. Enjoy.
Last weekend I sadly missed the first performance of our season due to pain appearing where I was previously injured. I was very disappointed to find out I needed a weeks rest after only being back two weeks from summer. The workload having gone from nil to intense was just too much for my foot.
My injury occurred last season in May. I was having pain in my right foot for a while, with it feeling tight and ‘crampy’ most days. After a sudden change of cast I had to dance Taming of the Shrew with only a few days notice and from the increased work my foot started reacting to it. I saw our Physiotherapist to try release it, but the pain kept returning. I was told to take care and rest when I can.
It is always hard to hear these words. As dancers, I believe we have a very high pain tolerance, and when told to take it easy I always find it hard to step back. I love to do class each morning, and even on the days I don’t think I can manage I push and try to finish, which is not necessarily the right thing to do.
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”→