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How Do You Deal With Injuries?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, February 10, 2020

Photo: Kasper Nybo

Thank you for the question, @sylle_

Gosh, how do you deal with injuries!? Whether an injury is taking off ballet for a few days or taking off for several months…years, it is never fun. It always feels like it is the worst timing. None of us want to miss out. None of us want to lose an opportunity. None of us want to not be able to dance, the thing that we love to do.

Photo: Ravn

Dealing with injury is a tough process but in order to survive it, we have to find an upside. Finding this upside will not come overnight. NO. NO. No. It will take you time.

I believe that there are several phases of injury that one has to go through.

Starting at the very beginning, Phase 1: Shock and Denial! “I’m fine. I’ll be fine,” you whisper to yourself as you limp home to watch Netflix’s on your couch. Yeah, sure… sure you’re fine. You aren’t fine at all.

Phase 2: Acceptance. Admitting that you are hurt IS scary. It has to be done, though. The quicker you get to this stage, the quicker you can start to heal. Your mind can finally calm down and stop having to repeat that made up story of how you aren’t really injured. One can stay in denial for months… just getting by…for months.

Phase 3: Depression. It will hit you hard and it will put you in a place that you never knew existed. A dark, dark place. Tears… so many tears. Anger will flare up from within you too. Depending on how you deal with this stage, will shape your return from your injury. I would say, feel that deep, black hole, feel the cold walls surrounding you, then… look up at the light. Look up to the surface and start swimming upwards to get out.

Photo: Kasper Nybo

Phase 4: Find the positive side. Suddenly, you have more free time then you know what to do with. Instead of watching TV all day (yes we’ve all given in to those lazy days of watching nonsense TV when injured) I would recommend to take this time to work on having a more, well rounded life.

We put so much focus, energy and hard work in to our ballet that we easily forget that there are a million things happening in the world everyday. Exciting things.

Try something new! Dare to be a beginner at something again. Have that coffee with a friend that you never really had the time to get to know. Educate yourself. Explore what you might be interested in. Could be learning more about the human body or learning a new language or learning about art history. Sky’s the limit! Explore your own city. Find local spots that you’ve never been too.

Phase 5: Starting your way back to ballet. When you are able to start moving again, you’ll be so grateful to have survived all the previous phases. Your love for ballet will have grown even bigger. And believe it or not you will have learned a lot. Hold your horses a little bit though. Try not to rush back. Listen to your advisors including physical therapists and doctors but also listen to yourself. Only you can feel what is going on in your body. I’m a believer of listening to that gut feeling.

Photo: Kasper Nybo

Phase 6: Expect at least one set back. I’ve seen it, time and time again. Someone has recovered from their injury, everyone is so excited to have them back in the studio but their work load just increased quite suddenly. That injury will get a little mad at you for asking so much of it, all of a sudden. Be smart. You are so close to doing what you love but you must remain careful and not push too hard. You are risking setting yourself even further back. And there is no way you are ready to be back at phase 1 emotionally.

If you are injured or know someone who is injured, I’m so sorry that you got hurt. I would never wish an injury upon another human being but especially never upon a dancer. It kills us. Our insides just die. I wish you a speedy and healthy recovery. I hope that you get back even stronger then when you were forced to stop.

xoxo
-Hol

What Is the Summer Ballet 101?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, February 3, 2020

Thank you for the question, Elena Kelly

Every year, Nikolaj Hubbe takes a small group from the Royal Danish Ballet, around 10-12 dancers, to perform on outdoor stages around the countryside of Denmark. Nikolaj Hubbe chooses what the dancers will dance and who will perform. The show is around 1 hour and fifteen minutes long and consists of classic pas de deuxs, & modern pieces from the current season or the upcoming season. Usually the show finishes with a group piece such as Pas de Six from Napoli or Pas de Sept from A Folk Tale.

White Swan with ulrik Birkkjær.

If the summer ballet tour takes place during our contracted season then it is mandatory to go but some years the summer ballet tour takes place outside of the Royal Danish Ballet’s season and then it is a paid tour and optional to go. (but who wouldn’t want to go!)

I’ve always loved dancing in the summer ballet tour! Before I was a part of it, I set it out as a goal! I thought it looked like so much fun. Typically, the principal dancers go, some soloists and possibly an up and coming corps de ballet member or two depending on the repertoire.

Coppelia.

It is a privilege to be asked by Nikolaj Hubbe to represent the RDB to the rest of the country. We love what we do and we love where we do it, so it is always a huge honor. The tour takes us to different cities every year, allowing us to explore Denmark in a way that we probably wouldn’t be exposed too otherwise. You fall in love with Denmark not just Copenhagen.

We have been to many cool locations to perform. Sometimes in font of old, historical castles or in large, blooming gardens or in a farmers backyard with sheep running by! Once we performed in front of an old prison… My favorite spot was several years ago in Funen. It was just so beautiful!

Etudes Sylph Section in Funen.

Summer ballet is especially fun because of the time you get to spend with your colleagues. There are many dinners and bus rides all together, so naturally a lot of jokes, great talks and lots and lots of laughs! All while we do what we love to do. It’s the dream!

The only time that summer ballet isn’t so fun is when the weather begins to drizzle, the temperature drops and now you are COLD. That is not the ideal condition to be in to perform difficult, high demanding pas de deuxs. Such as Black Swan pas de deux, or Grand Pas Classique…etc. Nikolaj always casts a pretty challenging program, full of difficult pieces. So when it is cold, as the Danish summer always has at least a few cold days, it is actually dangerous for us. Our muscles are frozen and that tutu isn’t exactly helping us to keep warm against the wind and other natural elements. When your muscles are cold, an injury is truly just one wrong twist, or one wrong step away. And to get injured, for us, is like death.

When the weather downpours, the show gets cancelled. Disappointing for all involved, including the audience that so kindly showed up, but understandable. The group usually goes to have dinner somewhere and then we try again the next day.

Diamonds Pas with Ulrik Birkkjær.

We do have a few tricks to help us stay warm on those more challenging days. We have skin colored leg warmers that we can wear and long underwear we can put on. If the temperature is ridiculous then we will shorten the program. Instead of each couple doing a pas, male solo, female solo and coda. We will cut each couple to only dancing the pas. That way we can still give the crowd a show, while lowering the injury risk for us.

We do all that we can to help ourselves recover and be ready for the next day, as a ten day tour with one day off is demanding on our bodies. It is common to see us traveling around with our compression socks constantly on, back warmers on, and a roller under our arm so we can roll out our muscles. Anything to help our bodies recover faster to be ready for the show the next day.

Pas de Sept

There will be a summer ballet tour this year from June 8th-June 17th. The specific cities have not been announced yet. The casting has gone up though, so I’m very happy to announce that I will be joining this years tour. I’ll be dancing, “That’s Life” from Come Fly Away and Napoli Pas de Six! I hope we come to a city near YOU!

Summer Ballet Tour

xoxo,
-Hol

What Was It Like Working With Merrill Ashley?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, January 27, 2020

Thank you for the question @andreeaunicorn

Working with the legend, Merrill Ashley, was everything and more a dancer can wish for during a rehearsal period! She is AMAZING!

Studio Time with Merrill Ashley. Working with Jonathan Chmelensky and myself on the Pas De Deux

When I saw Merrill in the hallway of the Royal Danish Ballet for the first time, I ran up to her, gave her a big hug and I started crying. I was THAT excited! Absolutely, a complete, 100% fan girl moment. I knew ever since my boss, Nikolaj Hubbe, announced that she was coming to set Ballo Della Regina on us that she would be the highlight of the season!

Merrill Ashley working with George Balanchine in the New York City Ballet.

I trained in NYC at the School of American Ballet which is the ballet school that feeds in to the New York City Ballet, aka Balanchine’s company. So of course, I’ve grown up knowing exactly who Merrill Ashley is. She is someone I’ve admired greatly for a long time. Living Balanchine royalty. I also read her book when I was a teenager, Dancing For Balanchine, (I recommend it if you have not read it, to take a look) and as I read it, I kept nodding my head in agreement to the words on the page. Her opinions and views on things struck home when I could recognize the same thoughts from within myself.

Merrill and I working on a bit of the Sugar Plum Variation.
Merrill was so kind to come and watch my stage call and share her thoughts with me, even though she had just arrived from the USA and was most likely very jet lagged!

You could feel from day one in the studio with Merrill, that her goal for every dancer in the room, was bigger than just getting the ballet on and up to par. Merrill wanted to help you improve to be a better all around dancer. That is an exciting energy to feel from your coach. When you are already working hard, and then feel that energy coming from her, it just makes you want to work ten times harder. To soak up every second, every word of wisdom she has.

Studio Time with Merrill Ashley.

Under her eye, we explored every step in Ballo Della Regina. We spent six weeks, for five days a week with extended rehearsals everyday, to work on Ballo. This process came at our busiest time of the year which is of course, The Nutcracker season. So yes, some days were long. Some days we were more tired than others. Some days we wouldn’t even leave the theater until after the evening’s performance. We’d go straight from Ballo rehearsals to getting ready for the Sugar Plum Fairy or Cavalier. We were working very intensely but it was without a doubt, the best rehearsal process I’ve ever had. (Powerade did become a must have) 😉

Merrill doing the pas de deux with me, when my partner was busy in a different rehearsal.

I defiantly didn’t want to disappoint Merrill or let her down in any way but she made the atmosphere so nice and supportive that I was able to forget that I was dancing in front of one of the ballerina’s I admire and idolize the most in the world. The fear and intimidation vanished. There was room for jokes and stories! Oh the stories! To hear about Balanchine and that epic period of time she danced in was 100% ballet heaven. Everyday, I looked so much forward to going to work. I was completely inspired by her.

On stage rehearsal in the Raymonda Sets.

There is truly nothing more rewarding than to feel that you are improving as a dancer with your coach. My time with Merrill was a gift. I know in 5-10-20 years, I’ll still be talking about how lucky I was to get to work with Merrill Ashley!

xoxo
-Hol

Back stage after the premiere with Merrill Ashley and Stacy Caddell.
Bows at the premiere on January 12th, 2020 at the Royal Danish Ballet.

Which Are Your Favorite Costumes?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday, January 17, 2020

Photo: With Ulrik Birkkjær. Diamonds

Thank you for the question, @elisabethbjornholst


Costumes!! So many beautiful costumes! We are so lucky at the Royal Danish Ballet to have a super talented costume department that makes THE most incredible costumes! I’m absolutely blown away by what I get to wear on stage. They are amazing!

I am 100% a tutu person. I love all tutu’s! To be extremely specific, my favorite costumes are the tutu’s that are considered to be “small”. For example, the tutu I wore for Theme & Variations or for Diamonds.

Photo: NYC Dance Project. Theme & Variations Tutu

The tutus used for more of the classical ballets such as Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty, or Raymonda are also very beautiful but they can be quite large! The smaller tutus just feel like they fit the best.

Photo: With Ulrik Birkkjær. Swan Queen (Odette) Tutu

Here are some of my favorite tutu’s!!

Diamonds Tutu
Photo: With Gregory Dean. Gamzatti Tutu.
Black Swan Tutu
Photo: With Jonathan Chmelensky. Princess Florine Tutu
Photo: With Sebastian Haynes. Coppelia Tutu
Photo: With Jon Axel. Sugar Plum Fairy Tutu.
Photo: With Jonathan Chmelensky
Raymonda Tutu.

My other favorite type of costume is a leotard with a flowy skirt. For example, Ballo Della Regina or T. Pas.

Photo: With Jonathan Chmelensky. Ballo Della Regina.

I’m a fan of dancing in a tight fitting costume that doesn’t get in my way. 😉 Here are some of my favorite flowy dresses.

Photo: With Marcin Kupinski. T. Pas
Photo: With Magnus Christoffersen. Schubert Pas De Deux
Dew Drop.
Teresina Second Act

Soon (April 2020!!) in Come Fly Away, I will get to wear the costume below and I’m positive that it will be going on my favorite costume list! I mean look at those sparkles!!

Kate Costume.

Xoxo,
-Hol

Is It Hard To Be A Ballet Dancer?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, January 13, 2020

Thank you for the question, @frederikke.schmidt

The quick answer is yes. Yes, it is hard work to be a ballet dancer! BUT if you love it, love it with your heart and soul, then it is worth every second of pain, every sacrifice, every drop of sweat and every tear.

Photo: Morten Eggert

As a ballet dancer, you don’t do it for the money. You don’t do it if you are lazy. And you don’t do it if you don’t have a passion for dance. It’s too hard.

We spend hours upon hours trying to push our bodies to the extreme. We have constant body pressure to look a certain way. Long days. A six day work week. (Sometimes seven days, like last week 😉 )Vacations always include an element to stay in shape. We are more in our leotards then in street clothes. We are at the theater more then we are at home. It can be difficult to make friends outside of the theater because of our demanding and weird schedule. Friday nights are not to party. Friday nights are to recover because you most likely have a show the next day.

The hardest part is to stay strong mentally. When you are working so hard physically, it wears you down and you know the saying, “Life Isn’t Fair…” well ain’t that the truth. Things will happen, out of your control that will hurt you, and they most likely will never be explained. You have to stay focused. You have to continue working. And that is wayyy easier said than done.

Photo: Ravn

You need to fall in love with the training. Fall in love with rehearsing and fall in love with performing. Then you no longer see the work as hard. You see it as a part of “you.” It is just what you do. The reward you get for dedicating your life and working so hard, is in my opinion, absolutely worth it. I love being a ballet dancer. And I love working hard to be a ballet dancer.

Xoxo
-Holly

Do Professionals Really Hate The Nutcracker as Some Say!?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Saturday, January 4, 2020

Photo: KGL Teater

Thank you for your question, @idaspedtsberg

Well… personally,

I LOVE The Nutcracker!! I absolutely love it!

I think there is a kind of magic around it because it is THE reason why so many people become dancers! Ask any room full of dancers, Why did you start ballet? More then half will say, “I saw The Nutcracker.”

You can see a child’s face entirely light up when they watch it! You can almost see the dream forming in their own minds. Hoping that one day they to will get to be on that stage! And that is magic! It is so rewarding to witness, especially now as a Professional because it reminds us that this life that we have, was once just a dream. It reminds us of just how lucky we truly are to do what we love.

Photo: KGL Teater

I think why The Nutcracker has a bit of a reputation among dancers, is because we do a lot of shows, in a short amount of time, of the same thing, everyday. And in many companies, The Nutcracker, comes around EVERY December. (The Royal Danish Ballet is also jumping on that train from this year forward.)

Companies tend to not switch up the version that they perform either. At the Royal Danish Ballet we dance the George Balanchine version. Personally, I love this version. But the girls do have more opportunities to dance then the boys. Girls get the magical dance of Snow, filled with jumps, great music and teamwork. Boys get heavy costumes and large masks as Mice. The girls can dance as Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Marzipan, Flowers, Dew Drop, or the Sugar Plum Fairy. The boys get Spanish, one boy in the Chinese dance, one boy in the Candy Cane dance or the Cavalier to the Sugar Plum… Not quite as many thrilling options.

Photo: KGL Teater. Dancer Julien Roman

After you’ve done several weeks of rehearsal and then you are on show twenty something of The Nutcracker… you are tired. You are border line exhausted and still have ten plus more shows in front you. That is when, sometimes the patience for The Nutcracker starts to run thin. Which is where that reputation of professionals hating the Nutcracker comes from.

IN reality, ALL dancers have a soft spot for The Nutcracker. We owe that ballet our life. It created our dreams.

Xoxo,
-Hol

Me as The Sugar Plum Fairy with ALL my beautiful Angels.

Do You Have To Have The “Right” Physique To Become A Professional Ballet Dancer?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, December 2, 2019

Thank you for the question, Clara.

TRUTH: Nobody has everything. Nobody has the perfect body to be a ballet dancer because ballet wasn’t designed for our bodies. Ballet asks for turned out legs 100% of the time but we are built to walk with our legs parallel. Degrees of turn out will vary, people’s insteps will be different, some people are naturally flexible.. some really have to work for it. So what is the right physique? No one really has the right physique.

BUT when I hear you ask about having the “right” physicality, I’m assuming that you picture in your head a dancer with perfect 180 degree turn out, a naturally thin body, high arched feet, flexibility above their head, an easy turn and a flying jump. Those are qualities that ballerinas have become known for over the years creating the definition of a “right” physique.

Photo: Jan Christensen

Do you have to have all of those qualities to be a professional ballet dancer? No. Do you need to have some of those qualities… well.. honestly… it helps. But, those qualities are the cherries on top. They aren’t absolutely necessary in order to become a professional. The average audience member doesn’t know anything about the ideal foot or line. They go in to the theater to escape reality and to dream.

Meaning, it is your movement quality that is the most important thing. If you can touch people, if you can make things look effortless… if you can transpire people away from their reality, then no one is going to be asking if you have the “right” physique. They will just be asking, when do you perform again!?

Photo: Jacob Jonas

I get that there are some ideals in the ballet world that we will all forever strive to have. Everyday in ballet class that is what we are working towards. You and me. Try and put your concentration on the larger picture, the love of dance and spreading the love of dance. That is what will take you the furthest to becoming a professional ballet dancer.

xoxo
-Hol

Are There Any Differences from A Brunch and Ballet class to Everyday class?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday, November 29, 2019

Photo: KGL Teater

Thank you for the question, @andreeaunicorn

There are a few differences but truly not as many as you might think. In Denmark, about once every few months, the public is invited in to the Royal Theater to watch the ballet company take morning class on the stage for free, while they can enjoy a croissant and some coffee.

The teacher varies but more often then not, for a Brunch and Ballet class we have our boss, Nikolaj Hubbe. He is quite charismatic and he always keeps the audience completely entertained with his jokes and Dan-glish way of speaking. For everyday class, we don’t actually have Nikolaj that often. Maybe twice a month… maybe. Some months less, some months more. Former Principal Dancer with RDB, Jean-Lucien Massot, former dancer and character dancer with RDB, Mogens Boesen, and former Principal dancer with NYCB, Adam Luders are our more typical teachers for everyday class. The past year or so, management has been bringing in more guest teachers from all around the world which is also super fun. Teachers such as, Taina Morales, Johnny Eliasen and Eva Draw.

For our everyday classes we never take it on stage. We always start the day in one of our studios backstage. The teacher also isn’t miked up but Nik, or whoever is teaching doesn’t change their steps, or behavior just because there is an audience for Brunch and Ballet. Who they are without an audience is the same as who they are when there is one.

The last fifteen minutes of a Brunch and Ballet, there is always a little demonstration of what we are currently working on, in hopes that we inspire a few audience members to come and see our next show.

A typical class is a full one hour and a half with no demonstration. Usually class ends with people trying out all sorts of steps they are working on, fouette turns, or boys jumping around.

Photo: KGl Teater

The outfits that we come in, the weird stretches you see us do, the leg warmers, the rolling out, the hair down, the messy buns, the side talking, the laughing, the jokes, the focus…. that is everyday. What you see is, what you get with RDB. 😉

Next Brunch and Ballet is April 25th & May 9th!

xoxo
-Hol

What Ballet “Tools” Do You Use?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, November 18, 2019

Thank you for the question, @andreeaunicorn

I use four main tools everyday. An elastic theraband, a bouncy ball cut in half, warm boots, and my make shift ankle warmers.

Before I start ballet class in the morning I pull out my elastic theraband and I do at least 10 reps of pointing and flexing each foot. By adding the resistance, I’m waking up my muscles for the day.

Flexed Foot with Theraband.
Pointed Foot with Theraband.

The bouncy ball cut in half, was given to me from my great colleague, Jon Axel. This half ball I’ll step on throughout the entire barre releasing tightness in my feet.

Warm boots. Yup. Just to keep my feet warm. I live in them at the theater. I will wear them at the very beginning of class but only for maximum two combinations. I really don’t like the feeling of having anything extra on my feet when I’m dancing. But they are great to have on everywhere else. Especially as the days get colder! You’ll catch me in my boots throughout the day between rehearsals, at lunch, putting on my makeup, walking to a costume fitting or before a show. Basically anytime I’m not dancing.

I’m wearing my green pair of boots as I put on makeup for a Swan Lake show.
Backstage in full costume for Diamonds and my boots.

Lastly, my make shift ankle warmers. I really like my ankles to stay warm. I buy those really fluffy socks from Tiger and then cut the toe off and the heel away. I do this instead of using ballet legwarmers because 1- they are super cheap. About 15kr. 2- They hug my ankle nicely as they are made to be socks. You will always find me with ankle warmers on.

Having fun in the Gym after hours with my ankle warmers on.
Learning Giselle’s Mad Scene from Sorella Englund with of course, some ankle warmers on.

I will use a foam roller but I’m not religious about it. It’s more if I remember or if I’m killing time.

xoxo,
-Hol

How Does One Cope With Such An Early Retirement Age?

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By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, November 11, 2019

Thank you for the Question Lina F.

At the Royal Danish Ballet, a dancer, regardless of rank has to retire when he or she turns 40 years old. Once you turn 40, you are allowed to finish that season which goes until June.

I think many of us don’t even think about our retirement if we are happy and inspired at work. Every year though, at the end of the season party, there are always speeches to those who have decided to either leave the company or to those that are retiring from the company. Those speeches always brings that looming question to the front of your mind.

To be completely honest, I don’t know. I don’t know how to cope with such an early retirement age. My brain can’t even comprehend the idea of not dancing and performing… ever. Let alone stopping in ten years, for me. (I turned 30 this past October)

Ulrik Birkkjær and I after a performance of Theme & Variations.

Some days you really feel the pressure. For instance, when a cast list goes up and maybe you didn’t get the role you hoped for… one of your first thoughts may be, will this ballet come back in time for me to have another shot at it!? Will I ever get to dance that role in my career?

These are very real questions. And all I can really say is that you have to put your faith in that everything happens for a reason. The management does have plans that you aren’t aware of. Trust the timing of your life. I do realize that that is much easier said than done.

At the same time, I would encourage any dancer to not just sit back and leave everything to the unknown. Reach out and try to get a few gigs or get involved in another project that interests you. Then, perhaps you can choose what pas de deux you dance and the stress of never getting to dance something can be calmed. It’s always worth a try!

The dancers that I have seen retire are at first usually grateful for a rest. It’s a hard career, on your body, on your mind, and on your soul. To step away from that pressure to be pretty much, “perfect” is welcomed.

I’ve seen a lot of wonderful ballerina’s become mothers at age 38, 39, and 40 years old. Maybe for society that is considered late but for a ballerina it’s the perfect timing. It’s so wonderful to see. Motherhood is a common route taken after retirement or just before retirement.

Gudrun Bojesen back from her retirement pictured as Karen Blixen.

Many dancers teach ballet either as a full time job or just until they figure out what exactly they want to do next. I would say most stay in the world of ballet. Some have gone on to become Pilates teachers, ballet teachers, gym/workout teachers, or ballet masters… Sometimes, the theater will offer a dancer to come back for a production or two as a character dancer. For example, right now in the wonderful ballet Blixen, by Gregory Dean, several retired, beloved dancers are back on stage performing with us. It’s so nice to have them and they are absolutely excelling!

Mads Blangstrup, a retired dancer, back in the current production of Blixen.

There are also those that step completely out of the business. Starting up coffee shops, renting out apartments, film director… The sky is the limit. It’s just tricky to figure out which path to take when all you’ve ever pretty much known is ballet.

Usually the dancers that decide to go back to school stop earlier then their retirement age. Although, of course, one could go back to school at the age of 40. No problem whatsoever. One is still quite young. But, it is common to see dancers around the age of 23-25, who have been a professional for a few years, to decide that they’d like to give school a go. Again around age 30 you might see another wave of dancers deciding to leave the company and go to school.

We don’t really talk that much about retirement. It isn’t until your dad or someone close to you asks “what is next?” Even now, for me, ten years away from retirement, I have no idea. I’ve had a few ideas running through the back of my brain but none of them are concrete. I would love to become an author. I’ve thought about becoming a grade-school teacher. I’m very interested in the film and Broadway world… maybe something there. ??? Time will tell.

The theater does have a fund where a dancer can send in an application describing what they want to try and see if it could be their next career. I don’t know that much about it because I’ve never sent anything in. I do know that you receive a certain amount of money to try something out either on the side of working as a dancer or you can request for some time off to discover more.

During a rehearsal of Etudes.

I think, for a dancers mind, the retirement has to be actually super close to start accepting the idea to start thinking about leaving our magical world. We all love it so much. Then, maybe, one would start to reach out to the previous generations that have already retired and have those conversations. It’s a thought that we push aside for years. Whether we should or not.

In many ways it feels like after 12 years of being a professional I’m only just starting to really figure a few things out. I don’t know if at 40 years old if I’ll feel like I actually did figure anything out or if I’ll feel like I never quite did figure anything out. That is why every picture is so meaningful. Every performance is such a victory! Every moment on stage with your partner, with the entire company is so touching. It’s all memories you never want to forget. You can’t take this career for granted. You never know when your last day will actually be. Injury or just life in general could always take it.

I guess I’ll be better equipt to answer this question in a few years time, when I’m closer to 40. In the meantime, retirement is kept in the way way way back of my mind.

With fellow Principal dancer, Jonathan Chmelensky after a Gala Performance.

Xoxo
-Hol