20 Aug Interview with Deborah
How and why did your dance career start? What lit the spark for you when you knew Dance was your career path?
Well, my mom put me into Ballet class when I was 5, and I even wanted to try to audition when I was 12 but I got discouraged by my teachers at the time. But I guess it wasn‘t really until I got back into ballet after a break of 6 years at age 24 that I think I truly and entirely caught the fire for dancing. And now my love for dance is growing every single day!
If absolutely nothing could go wrong, what would like to accomplish in your career?
I would love to keep dancing, grow my skills and working with more and more amazing creatives, hopefully, one day to get paid for it too. I also want to keep inspiring and encouraging others to follow their journeys, which is what I‘ve been doing for a while now through Instagram. I see myself traveling the world, dancing, coaching, connecting, and moving.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to teaching dance? What annoys you sometimes?
Well I‘m not teaching myself yet, but what I don‘t like in classes is, when the teacher repeats the exercise several (and I mean like 5!) times, very slowly, then everyone is marking with the music and then you only get to fully dance it once. I want to try several times, to figure it out and make progress. Otherwise, I get bored quickly.
If you could go back in time, (any age of your choice) what advice would you give your young dance self and why?
I would tell my 12-year-old self not to listen to the stupid narrow-minded adults, that told me, that I don‘t have the right body to do classical dance, and believe in myself and my abilities.
What is the biggest advise you have ever given someone?
The biggest advice I’ve given someone is to believe in themselves and trust the process. This is something I continuously tell myself too.
What was the biggest hurdle you’ve encountered and how did you overcome it?
I guess my anxiety disorder and panic attacks. They controlled my mind for a long time and kept me from being myself and from dancing too. Interestingly enough it was through dancing that I gained my life back and was able to become more and more confident over the years up to the point, when I was able to fly to California, traveling and dancing for four weeks all by myself.
Do you have any rituals.. In the morning, or before a show,… if yes, which.
Well being an adult ballerina or non-professional, I don‘t have any shows. But I always try to do a warmup before I dance, and not only get my body started and ready, but also put my mind in the zone. Especially when I‘m doing video shootings, I want to loosen up any tenseness that I might have inside to be able to move freely and honestly.
What is the most difficult thing to master or that needs the most work? (This could be anything from dance skills to people skills or business.)
Aside from the obviously super hard technique that ballet demands, which I will probably try to gain until my feet will no longer carry me, it is hard to grow your brand and create a business around your passion and abilities. It takes persistence and patience and sometimes you have to turn down offers because it‘s too much effort for too little outcome. But I think it‘s moving in a good direction and things are happening, so I always focus on that.
What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in the dance (teaching) industry? What are the biggest wastes of time?
That anyone can do it. I was only able to reach the level that I‘m at now because I have the most motivating, dedicated but most importantly qualified teacher you could find in the City. He‘s a former professional soloist with Hamburg Ballet, who has danced all over the world and has profound technique and knowledge to share. When I think back to my teacher when I was little. I had fun, she was nice, I was never able to fully get my splits or do anything really that I‘m able to do today. So that‘s how important a good teacher is.
If you were to train an absolute beginner for four weeks for a 30 minute performance and had a million dollars on the line, what would the training look like?
I would start by finding out what his/her natural movements, his/her abilities are to find out what style to choose that will suit them best. Then I would create a simple barre routine for warmup and correct body-alignment to continue with a bit of center for coordination and spacing. Over time I would increase the complexity of those exercises. During week one, I would start working on learning the steps the choreography (having incorporated some of the movements already in the warm up exercises). Week two would be repetition, repetition, and repetition to gain as much confidence as possible in the steps. In week three, I would start to include both style and attitude to the routine. Emotion is a huge part of dancing, so after sorting out the technical part now it‘s time to give it character. In week four, I would perfect details, work on hard parts and build the confidence to perform this, by filming it several times and maybe let friends or other dancers watch a few times.
What are the biggest mistakes novices make when teaching or choreographing?
Since I‘m very new to this myself, I don‘t know if I can answer this. But experimenting with choreography and improv for a year now, I noticed that one sometimes get stuck in the same kind of movements. That‘s usually when I would show the rough work to someone else and ask them to move with me to the music. That way something new is added and the flow comes back.
Even at the pro level, what mistakes are most common? What did you waste the most time with?
When it comes to teaching, either not explaining enough or too much. Both can be really annoying.
What is your favorite gadget/software/ tool you use in your career?
So far, Instagram and Youtube have been my platforms and all the software that I use to edit my videos to post on them. Including InShot, Photoshop, and iMovie.
How important is networking and promotions for you? How do you do it?
It‘s crucial and I‘m doing it a lot! I mainly use my social media accounts to do it but I also tell people in person when I see them. I always think that I could/should do more, but that‘s also my perfectionism.
On the top or your head.. What are your 5 favourite songs of all time?
Oh, my God, that‘s not possible to answer. I grew up with music, my parents are classical musicians, my grandpa was a composer, my brother is a producer and DJ, so I breath music. Right now I am obsessed with the song „Arizona“ by Common souls. My taste in music is vast and changes a lot, so ask me again next month, and I might be raving about Chopin again (which I can never EVER get enough of!)