I am on the train heading home to Halmstad for the Christmas break. This Friday I completed my first term at Balettakademien in Stockholm.
Last week we did studio performances for all the students at the school, including the three year-groups of contemporary dance students, the preparatory dance line students and the street dance students. We showed two choreographies we had learned between the autumn break and Christmas. My class was divided into two groups; one group had contemporary choreography classes with Lee Brummer and the other group had jazz with Jan Åstrøm.
We also had the option to show our own choreographic work, which we worked on in our free time during the autumn period. Student who wanted to show their work in the performance signed up for an audition. 6 works were then selected for the showing. I danced in a piece choreographed by my friend Annika, who also composed and played the music live at the performance! Cool!
The year at Balettakademien is divided into 4 periods where you switch teaches and some of the classes. We have ballet, contemporary and jazz every week. Other classes vary between street, composition, improvisation, acrobatics etc. We even have choir classes and theatre every week.
Our school days are from 9 to 5 every day. We generally start off with either theory classes (dance studies, injuries prevention, nutrition) or physical studies (body rolling, strengthening, fitness). We have 2-3 technique classes a day and each class is typically an hour and three quarters long.
We usually have the same teacher during a whole period and most teachers are permanent staff that returns each year. We don’t have many external teachers, as I would like and this is one of the main differences compared to my year at CCDS. The good thing about it is the sense of continuity and routine in our daily work. I usually start my day in the school gym, where they have fitness bikes as well as gym and stretching aids.
My experience is that the school is very physical and that I have developed during the autumn term. I try to live in the moment and to make the most of each day. I am stretching these days to maximize my body’s potential and I can really feel it. There is not as much focus on creativity at the school, but I am actually functioning really well right now, working primarily on my physicality. Perhaps this will change with time.
I think I might even audition for Danshögskolan in the spring and see if I get further than last time and to try something new.
Stockholm is a small world and it is obviously a safe bubble for me. This might be a problem when you graduate and no longer belong to the safe environment of the dance class.
Everything surrounding my life at the school is good. I live with Annika in a really nice apartment, 300 meters from the school, half an hour’s distance from my family.
Perhaps the best circumstances under which to focus on my dance, but perhaps I am too safe this way?
I would love to come to Copenhagen soon; perhaps to follow a day at CCDS or take a class with you for inspiration.