Sharing My Stories with Terry Hyde

Terry Hyde first contacted me after noticing my Twitter page and all my posts on dance and being a professional ballerina. He then told me about his past career in dance and what he does now to support dancers and their mental health.

https://counsellingforperformers.com/

He asked if I would like to be a part of his blog and write a guest article sharing some of my experiences in the dance world up until now and particularly a difficult time I went through when it was hard to keep going.

It didn’t take me long to decide which issue I would write about, especially as Terry mentioned aiming the thoughts to dance students, and now we have finally got the article up and running. I talk about losing all my confidence at school and finding happiness in other places outside of dance. Here is a link to the article.

 ”My weight was a problem for the ballet school but not for me”

Harriet Mills, Principal with Staatdballet Karlsruhe, talks about how she survived the toxic regime and weight issues during her ballet training

https://counsellingforperformers.com/weight-problem-at-ballet-school/

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Whilst you’re there have a read and look around on Terry’s website. The issues he is confronting are very difficult and dancers, like everyone, need as much support throughout their schooling, careers and post-careers and I thank Terry for letting me be a part of it.

With love,

Harriet

Dancing with Your Heart on Your Sleeve

Keeping dancers’ emotions in check and learning to handle feelings in and outside the studio to improve as a dancer, artist and person

I often hear artists being portrayed as very emotional people but I ask myself if we are actually more exaggerated and eccentric when it comes to feelings than the average person? Yes, we care a lot about what we do for a living and we are asked daily to bring all sorts of emotions to the surface, but I wouldn’t say we are more sensitive than non-dancers, it just depends on the person and their own personality. I think we are all emotional when we want to be.

❝I can also bring my own feelings and experiences onto the stage with me to help develop a character❞

Dance is a way of expressing emotion so I think it’s quite normal if once in a while we subconsciously, or maybe even consciously, take those feelings out of the studio and into our daily lives, and vice versa. As for me, I love to get emotional and really into a role. The stage is a place where I am put into many different situations I wouldn’t encounter in my normal life and I can also bring my own experiences onto the stage with me to help develop a character.

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Performing as Anne Frank in the most emotional scene I have ever been a part of in Reginaldo Oliveira’s ‘Anne Frank’ with Pablo Octávio as Kitty (Photo: Jochen Klenk)

Continue reading “Dancing with Your Heart on Your Sleeve”

What Do You Think Of When I Say Ballerina?

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Performing The Sylph in La Sylphide (Photo: Pablo Octavio)

Tutus… Tippy toes… Elegance… Beauty… Princess… Skinny… Athlete… Flexibility… Strength…

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.

 

Continue reading “What Do You Think Of When I Say Ballerina?”

Making the Comeback After a Setback

My Injury Part 11

As a follow up to my post ‘Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones but Dancing Does Too’, where I wrote about how my stress fracture came about and dealing with returning to work, I wanted to share my ongoing experience with the physical side of the recovery to help anyone else who is struggling coming back from an injury.

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My routine of exercises to strengthen my foot

I have to say it has not been easy, as I am sure no injuries are, and it took much longer than I first expected for me feel like I am dancing as I did before the injury last May. Originally I came back feeling good, thinking I had done everything needed to have a fully healed foot but since then numerous problems and pains have bothered me, with days where my foot still doesn’t feel ‘right’, even after a year.

Continue reading “Making the Comeback After a Setback”

Bangkok’s 18th International Festival

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.

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My first season at Karlsruhe Staatballett 2010 (bottom right: a fallen snowflake). The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol – Youri Vámos (Photo: J. Klenk)

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.

As I will only be performing a small role, Frau Cratchit, I will use this chance to work alone and get my foot back to its healthy self. And even though I will be taking a step back I will still be packing all the things a ballerina needs on tour. Continue reading “Bangkok’s 18th International Festival”

Today is a Good Dancing Day

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.

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May this feeling continue and fingers crossed it is onwards and upwards from here. Have a good weekend.

With love,

Harriet

Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, but Dancing Does Too.

My Injury Part 1

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.img_3686

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.

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Morning ballet training

Continue reading “Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, but Dancing Does Too.”

Surprised by the Unsurprising

#health#eating#food

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The Lake District, 2012

I am often asked about my diet as a dancer, which I can understand as most people think we are all so skinny because we don’t eat enough. But actually out of the number of dancers I know, we are pretty normal when it comes to food.

To do the amount of exercise required, a dancer has to keep their body fueled with the correct food and right amount of it. Yes, I do watch what I eat but more in the way that I want to get as much out of the ingredients as I can to make me a better athlete. Dancers are like any other athletes and we need power for rehearsals and even more so for performances, and that power comes from our food. Continue reading “Surprised by the Unsurprising”

A Day without Training is Like Walking Around without your Pants on!

As you can imagine with such a long summer break of 6 weeks it can be very easy to get out of shape. I have found that a good mixture of rest and movement can really help to recover, yet stay suppel and toned throughout holidays.

After a season I always feel my body does need a few weeks rest with no intense everyday exercise. It is very important to give the muscles and joints some time to recover from the long strenuous season it just went though. Continue reading “A Day without Training is Like Walking Around without your Pants on!”