How Do You Deal With Injuries?

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 Your Favorite Thing About Spar Dame?

By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, October 28, 2019

Thank you for the question, andreeaunicorn

Spar Dame, is the current ballet that The Royal Danish Ballet is performing! The choreographer is no other then the one and only, Liam Scarlett. The simplistic, yet chic sets and amazing costume designs are by Jon Morrell. Together they have created quite a show!

Spar Dame, or Queen of Spades in English, tackles a dark story about an interest that becomes obsession, that turns in to madness. It is based on Russian Alexander Pushkin’s short story about a officer named Hermann, who meets an elderly countess, aka. Queen of Spades, who holds the secret, three winning cards at gambling. Hermann seduces her young chambermaid, Liza, in order to get closer to the countess in hopes of discovering her secret cards. Every time he thinks he has taken a strong step forward in his scheme, it ends up being that the countess was really one step in front of him all along. Eventually, he loses his mind over the cards in a epic solo that closes the ballet.

Tobias Prætorius as Hermann. Final Scene of the ballet. Photo: Henrik Stenberg

That last scene, Hermann’s mad scene, is my favorite thing about Spar Dame. The set closes in on him with three huge walls blocking his exit. To me, representing his own mind closing in on himself. You see him dark eyed, frustrated and crossing the line in to insanity as the solo builds and builds and builds.

Alexander Bozinoff in Spar Dame. Photo: Henrik Stenberg

It must be an absolutely exhilarating scene to dance and play. The reason why it is my favorite thing about Spar Dame is because it is the first mad scene, as far as I am aware of, that uses the male character going mad instead of the more typical, female character.

The most famous mad scene will forever be Giselle’s. Rightfully so. It’s heartbreaking. The completely innocent girl experiencing a dramatic, heartbreak of devastation. Many amazing ballerina’s have performed this scene. Many more in the future will as well.

Giselle’s Mad Scene.

In Spar Dame, it is the mans turn to be completely vulnerable, to show an “ugly” emotion with the challenge of still being honest on stage. The closing scene in Spar Dame is choreographically phenomenal. Hermann dances for at least five minutes with big jumps, runs, and turns until he eventually jumps to his knees on the floor. Physically exhausted. Emotionally drained.

This scene stays with you. You believe that he has really lost it. Goosebumps. His obsession with the story and the countess destroys him in the end. Haunting.

Alexander Bozinoff & Kizzy Matiakis in Spar Dame. Photo: Henrik Stenberg

Bravo, to both our current men, Alexander Bozinoff and Tobias Prætorius playing Hermann. It is an absolute privilege to watch them perform. They knock it out of the park every time! You can catch Spar Dame through November 23rd. Not to be missed!

xoxo
-Hol

What Is the Best & Worst Part of Working For The KGL Teater?

Thank you for the question, Frederikke_staghoej

Swan Queen Bow.

Let’s get the worst part out of the way. 😉 The worst part is that the KGL Teater is located 4,053 Miles or 6,523 Km away from my family. Copenhagen is really, really far away from “Home”. When I had my first show with the company… no one I knew was there. When I had my first solo… no family members were in the audience.. When I got promoted to soloist… no one was there… Even when I got promoted to Principal Dancer… not one family member was there…

My Promotion to Principal Dancer on Balanchine’s Theme & Variations.

I have gotten to share these experiences with many wonderful people, including fantastic audience’s but the fact remains that as much as my family wishes to be a part of my career, there is a distance because of the literal distance.

A Family Photo.

The people that sacrificed so much of their own lives in order for me to follow my dreams, without any sort of guarantee that anything would ever happen, missed all the glam. Not just my parents, but supportive friends throughout the years and even my ballet teachers that taught me what ballet is. None of it was shared directly with them, since becoming a professional.

Now, did I call my loved ones on the phone as soon as anything exciting and life changing happened? Yes! But isn’t there nothing quite like getting a hug from your own mother, while she whispers in your ear, I’m so proud of you, right in the moment? Or at the very least, that same evening. For them to be there, with you, sharing the atmosphere.

It doesn’t get easier over the years… you just get used to it. It is what it is.

Black Swan with Ulrik Birkkjær. Photo: Costin Radu

The Best part of working for the KGL Teater is the company, the Royal Danish Ballet. I am so fortunate to perform in absolutely drop dead gorgeous, customized costumes, on a big, historical stage, surrounded by around sixty other talented dancers whom are all dancing the most infamous ballet steps that have ever existed or the steps that will be the future’s most infamous ballet steps.

It takes a big theater, a large, financially supported company in order to be able to dance some of those biggest dream roles. The dream of Swan Queen in Swan Lake is to dance the entire thing. White and Black Swan. Beginning to end. To go through every emotional feeling til the very last step. For that, you need to be part of an exceptional organization that can create the production and have enough people to fill every role and enough money to pay everyone from the stage hands, to the light designers, to set designers, to costume designers, to ballet masters, to…. etc.

Swan Queen with Ulrik Birkkjær. Photo: Costin Radu

The Royal Danish Ballet was so fortunate to put on Christopher Wheeldon’s, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland in 2016 & 2018. That production was expensive… millions of Kroners expensive. The Royal Danish Ballet shared the cost of the production with another well established ballet company, The Royal Swedish Ballet in order to be able to perform it. It was a sensational production. Absolutely mind blowing. So in my opinion worth every penny.

It’s the type of production that I wouldn’t even have access to if it wasn’t for the KGL Teater, and The Royal Danish Ballet. I have some of my best performance memories from this production. I will never forget the joy I felt performing as Alice.

3rd Act of Wheeldon’s production of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

The KGL Teater has given me the stage for my dreams to come true. Thank you will never be enough to explain the gratitude I feel for such a special place. Even if it is really, really far away.

My Fist Pump after getting promoted to Principal Dancer.

xoxo,
-Hol