Lets Spread The Joy of Dance a Little Further

I am back and hoping I can raise some money for a dear friend of mine by selling my signed pointe shoes and the story that comes with them

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.

At home during lockdown trying to stay in shape and motivated but now grateful that was as hard as it got for me

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.

Meeting the lovely Pia for the third time in Bangkok

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..

Performing ‘Sonata’ with Admil Kuyler in Bangkok for the Princess of Thailand the year I met Pia

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.

With love,

Harriet

Crossing the Border to Basics

What’s it like to be back in the studio & what I plan to do with my time back at work

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.

mvimg_20200406_204155
My quarantine studio during the lockdown

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”

Finding My Feet in Salzburg

Want to know how things are going here in Salzburg? Read about the new and wonderful time I am having with the Landestheater Salzburg

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.

mvimg_20190911_144655
In our rehearsal studios in Salzburg

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”

Tanzen in Tokyo

Sharing with you my amazing time in Tokyo during summer

If you’ve already read my previous post “Living In a World Such as this is like Dancing on a Live Volcano” you will know why I recently ended up on a quick trip to Japan to perform at a small gala very last minute. This spontaneous trip became part of my very short summer vacation and was another chance to perform some pieces I never thought I would again.

IMG_20190811_095443_952
Post pas de deux pic, with my ‘Romeo’ Zhile Xu

I spent the week rehearsing and performing with old colleagues while managing to combine the days spending some much needed holiday time with my other half, who came along for the week.

❝It is quite amazing what you can make possible when you have no other choice❞

We arrived at our hotel after a very very long journey just in time for a quick dinner and hopefully an early night. But upon arriving I received my costumes and pre-ordered pointe shoes, which I needed to prepare for the next morning’s rehearsal. So while my husband slept soundly (possibly the only good night sleep he got the whole trip due to jetlag) I lay in bed till 12:30 sewing these emergency pointe shoes until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Continue reading “Tanzen in Tokyo”

The End of My Karlsruhe Era

A week to go of the season here in Karlsruhe and I want to look back all I have gone through here and share with you all what is to come

As the end of our ballet season in Karlsruhe is approaching fast, the time for big changes is also on the horizon, and with this post, I want to share with you the next step I am planning to take in my career and personal life.

websizeddsc_2013
On stage performing as Anastasia in ‘Sleeping Beauty – The Last Daughter of the Czar’
a ballet by Youri Vámos

This season will actually be my last with the Staatsballett Karlsruhe and I will be eagerly joining the Salzburg Landestheater Ballet Ensemble at the beginning of August. A company I have had my eye on for a while and a place I hope will bring many different and exciting opportunities my way.

❝Karlsruhe Ballet has been my home for nine seasons, giving me more than I ever thought I would have❞

Continue reading “The End of My Karlsruhe Era”

Inspiration All Around Us

Where do you find your inspiration? I find my inspiration in you

We all need a little inspiration in life and we all find it in different places. It can come from the simplest of things, like a sunny morning helping you get out of bed or a good song brightening your mood. Inspiration can be found almost anywhere and I think one of the strongest inspirations we have out there can be each other. Humans inspiring humans.

img_2698
Performing La Sylphide from the inspirational Peter Schaufuss

I wanted to touch on this topic because recently I have received a few messages and responses to my dancing and what I am writing about on here that have been so encouraging for me. Messages from people who I haven’t even met, and yet they kindly took the time to let me know that from watching me dance or reading my blog they have thoroughly enjoyed it and been inspired by it.

Hearing from these wonderful people not only encouraged me but reminded me I am in a position where I am inspiring people and the fact that it is through my job and I am uplifting people from doing the thing I love, is the greatest reward I could ask for. I get this from total strangers and I am so lucky that my occupation exposes me to such compliments. Unfortunately, not many people have that exposure, but this shouldn’t make a difference and we should all take the time to tell someone they did well and we appreciate their efforts, it can honestly inspire them to do more. This is the effect that it had on me. Continue reading “Inspiration All Around Us”

Grabbing on to that Second Chance

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.

Screen Shot 2019-01-18 at 13.58.05
Performing as Odette with Zhike Xu as Prince Siegfried (Photo: Jochen Klenk)

Continue reading “Grabbing on to that Second Chance”

Never Say Never

Just when you think a ballet is behind you, they have a tendency to come back and teach you something new

I have often been proved wrong when thinking I was dancing something for the last time. Just when you think the curtain has gone down on a particular role or piece it ends up finding its way back to you. And more often than not, it’s the ones you were glad to say goodbye to.

❝It seemed like an impossible thing for me to ever dance & I never imagined I would have the opportunity to give it a go❞

Recently this seems to be happening a lot to me and it is proving to not be such a bad thing after all. For this post, I want to share two particular pieces that have found their way back to me and dedicate another to the recent return of our Swanlake and my upcoming shows of Odette/Odile, which I think definitely needs its own mention.

So for now, I take you back to the end of last season when we performed Kenneth McMillan’s ‘Concerto’ in our yearly gala here in Karlsruhe. ‘Concerto’ is a one-act ballet in three movements choreographed in 1966 for the Berliner Ballett and was staged for the Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1967. Our company had to learn it in just two weeks with Julie Lincoln teaching and staging the piece. This ballet was not completely new to me as I performed ‘Concerto’ while at The Royal Ballet School for my graduating performance in 2010. I was part of the third movement assemble, and now, 8 years later, I was cast for the third movement Solo Girl.

36868_454176020624_8209163_n
Backstage of the Royal Opera House at the age of 18 during ‘Concerto’ rehearsals

I was delighted, albeit a little nervous to be chosen to dance this role as I remember admiring the girl who performed it at school. At that time it seemed like an impossible thing for me to ever dance and I never imagined I would have the opportunity to give it a go. At that age and time in my life, dancing such a solo was the scariest thing I could imagine. Continue reading “Never Say Never”

Pain as a Constant Companion

Reflecting on my interview with Sarah Nagel about my career and life as a ballet dancer

When Sarah Nagel, a journalist and friend, asked if I would like to be interviewed by her for the Sunday newspaper here in Karlsruhe I jumped at the opportunity. It was a pleasure to wake up this morning with my face on the front page and a beautifully written article to read while sewing pointe shoes on my day off. I have to admit reading about yourself over morning coffee is a joy, but another part of doing interviews I really appreciate is getting the chance to remind myself of where I have been and where I am now.

IMG_7990

‘Pain as a Constant Companion’ is the translated title of Sarah’s article in ‘Der Sonntag” as Sarah wanted to know the personal difficulties I have faced as a student and professional dancer and we talked about the hardship of physical and mental pain ballerinas face.

Things that affected me so much at a younger age seem so small now

Continue reading “Pain as a Constant Companion”

WORLD BALLET DAY 2018

🌸🌸HAPPY WORLD BALLET DAY🌸🌸
I hope everyone enjoys dancing around in their tutus and tiaras or even socks and sweats – joining together to celebrate one of the most beautiful and special art forms there is.
Stay tuned all day with companies around the world streaming life from the studio and stage:

IMG_2845.jpg
Performing as the Sylph in Peter Schaufuss’s La Sylphide

With love,

Harriet