The world is a small place. But the dance world is even smaller. And you wouldn’t believe how international every school or company is around the world. I have had friends from everywhere and there is a huge chance that they know people I have met in school or in other companies. And there is even a bigger chance they are from a different country and are now living in a different country to that due to dance.
In my experience alone – I have shared a room with a Norwegian girl and became friends with a bunch of Australians during my school time. When I started working I joined the company with an American, Israeli and Austrian. I created life long friendships with a Korean, French and a Belgian. I have shared a dressing room with a Spaniard, Czech, and many Japanese girls. I have partnered Brazilians, Chinese, Armenians and Italians. I have worked with teachers and choreographers from too many places to remember and the list goes on of international friends, co-workers and associates I have met because of my chosen profession.
❝We are able to form very close bonds to people we would never have met if it weren’t for dance❞
As the applause subsides and silence falls throughout the auditorium, there’s chance for one last breath in the wings. Then the smile is adjusted and the walk to centre stage begins. The moments before performing a solo can be very nerve-wracking ones. Time is up. It is only you and the music, and all eyes are on you. You can’t practice that pirouette one last time, you can’t work on your stamina anymore. All that work is done. It’s go time.
❝With my confidence hitting rock bottom at times, even stepping on stage was terrifying❞
When I remember back to the very first solo I performed in my first year as a professional dancer all I recall are the nerves. I was part of the Pas de Trois in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake and my little solo was the biggest thing I had done so far in my career. It was my first chance to dance alone on stage, and it was scary.
During my younger education, I danced plenty of ballet, tap and jazz solos as a schoolgirl as part of our school productions, but back then it was no big deal. Being young and innocent made it all amazing good fun. ‘Bring it on’. But when I joined The Royal Ballet School things changed a lot and nerves grew inside me. There, I was never the ‘chosen one’ and with my confidence hitting rock bottom at times, even stepping on stage was terrifying. Being part of a group was just enough for me to handle. I had little stage experience and wanted to avoid any spotlight as much as I could. Continue reading “Everything is Possible if You’ve Got Enough Nerve”→
You may all know from my post ‘A Chance to Return to The Hammond School’, that during May I spent a week in England at my childhood dance school, The Hammond, as I had been invited to take part in the school’s 100-year anniversary production of Sir Peter Wright’s ‘Giselle’. My years as a student there were so wonderful I couldn’t wait to return to where it all began. And of course, it was even more memorable than I could have imagined.
Arriving at the school, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was so strange to be back. How the school has changed in ten years I have been away, with its own in-house theatre and brand new studios replacing the portacabins I danced in. However, once my dance colleague, Flavio Salamanka and I found our way into the theatre and spotted my old ballet teacher, Miss Jane Elliott, working with her pupils, the familiar, friendly atmosphere I remembered was still ‘in the air’. Being introduced to her pupils as ‘my Harriet’, Jane had me feeling like I never left. Continue reading “My Unforgettable Debut as Giselle”→
Over the last few weeks my days have been filled with preparations for something I am very honoured to be working towards and can’t believe it has arrived so quickly.
It was back in February when I got an email from an unforgettable teacher I had while training at The Hammond School, the wonderful Mrs Elliott. This delight of a women being someone who took me through my final years at the school,before transferring to the Royal Ballet School, and gave me so much joy in the studio as a student asked if I would return to the school for their 100 Year Anniversary performances to dance the lead role in Peter Wright’s ‘Giselle’.
Being a role I have not yet had the opportunity to dance I was very excited to confirm with my directer, Birgit Keil that it would be possible for me to travel to England in May and take part in the production. It was a little concerning that I would have to learn the whole ballet on top of the usual work schedule, as it would be something I would do in my free time, but seeing as I was informed early enough I was sure I would manage the work load.
Everybody needs a holiday, and dancers are no different. It is always something we look forward to, and I mean really look forward to. It’s a time when our bodies and minds can take a well-earned break and recuperate. We can let go and relax. We can forget about work, about dance for a week or two. And I have to tell you, it feels good.
It is so important that we give our bodies time to rest. We work them so much and push past pains that could be bothering us for a long time so a mid-season break could be just what we need to recover from our tough timetable. It is also quite refreshing to have some time away from the studio. Being inside the same four walls is not good for anyone, and the studio is a place dancers have to love. It is a place for hard work and creation, and for that to happen we don’t want to be climbing the walls but rather filling the place with our passion. Having time away can remind us how good it can be to come back.
We did it! And what a great time we had. After one week in Bangkok, I can honestly say I have made memories to last a lifetime. From performing for special audiences to sharing evenings with influential people, and experiencing it all with friends and colleagues, it has been fantastic.
After arriving safely and settling into the beautiful Dusit Thani Hotel, we had the day to relax before work started. We spent our free time, usually the early hours of the morning exploring the streets of Bangkok. We hunted through markets, admiring rooftop views, relaxed with massages, munched on enticing street food, dined at upmarket restaurants, and even found a Thai/German Bistro we just had to try. Sharing smiles with friendly and helpful locals and each meal even tastier than the next, we were never disappointed.
We performed Youri Vámos’s ‘The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol’ at the Thailand Cultural Centre, with its large stage and hard working team of technicians, it was great to be back. In this production, there is also a chance for young local dancers to perform with us and I had a great time with a group of bright and polite girls all from Thailand except one from the USA. They all spoke excellent English and wore big smiles all day. The American girl, and her mother, actually knew me through a teacher I had when I was young. The ballet world really is small. The girls were so lovely, and we shared many giggles; I think they had a fun time with us too. Continue reading “Ballerinas in Bangkok”→
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.
Here is a speedy clip of my Spanish morning workout that has kept me going while on holiday. I combine different stretching and strengthening exercises: each one focusing on a different muscle or section of muscles.
As you may have seen I am spending the last 2 weeks of my summer holiday in Spain with my wonderful family. Since it is such a rare occasion to have us all together for more than a weekend it is a much needed and lovely holiday for us all.
As my summer break is ticking by quickly and the last weeks are upon me, it is now important for me to exercise every day to get my body work-ready. Like on all summer holidays it is very tempting to soak up the sun all day, but I know my body will thank me for doing some exercise before the season starts. Continue reading “Tanning, Toning, and Training”→