Dance has accompanied people since the dawn of time. Regardless of the place in the world, people have used dance as a kind of instrument to express their own emotions, ritual or religious imagery, and cultural traditions, which differ depending on the country, in which we were brought up. For me dance has always been my Achilles’ heel. It is probably caused by lack of motor coordination, as well as no ear for music. However, I think that all these difficulties could have been overcome with a little bit of effort put into learning the steps and dance savvy. The main reasons of my failure, which have blocked me for good in this particular area … and not only … are my shyness, lack of self-confidence, as well as the fear of being criticized by others. I know that some of you struggle with similar problems … and I must tell you clearly and firmly that it’s sheer stupidity! Not all the people dancing on the floor are champions and winners of dance contests. Mostly these are people, who know how to enjoy themselves, and who don’t pay much attention to what others may think about them. It may frequently occur that they’re no better than you, and the only difference between you and them is that in your head, and you should really work on your attitude towards this matter in the future.
In today’s interview I’d love to introduce you to Karolina – a dancer, blogger and fashion designer, who stole my heart at once. While looking at her photos, showing a majestic ballet dancer and a truly beautiful girl, I had a thought: ‘Great … sometimes God doesn’t skimp when it comes to beauty and talents. I wish I could be her!’ After having a nice chat with Karolina, who turned to be an amazingly modest and nice person, I realized that we have more in common than I had thought before. Everyone struggles with some demons and it only depends on us how we use our weaknesses … whether we decide to be passive observers of our lives or we decide to find our own way, which will make it possible to chase our dreams. I don’t hide the fact that Karolina impressed me also with her passion for writing, but I’ll tell you about that later!
Passion Piece: Could you please tell my readers something abut yourself?
Karolina: I’m a girl who fell in love with dance a bit too late. Actually, much too late (laughter). I started my dance adventure when I was 19 from tribal fusion (a dark variation of a belly dance), however when I got to know ballet, I found out what passion and love towards things we do really means. I’m a dreamer and a sensitive person, although you may not notice that at first sight. Ballet is a great combination of strength, grace and this sensitivity to art and music. I have always loved art, but I didn’t know right then, that I also love dance.
Passion Piece: What inspired you to set up a blog?
Karolina: My blog is an extra activity for me, the first one is dance of course. One day I had a thought: ‘Hey, Karolina, you like writing, you love dancing, maybe you should combine these two arts?’ I write mainly about spectacles, exercises, sometimes some things related to my private life. However, I don’t have too much time for writing, I neglect it … guilty as charged! Most of my free time is devoted to training. I’m more regular when it comes to my Instagram account. It’s easier to find time of my busy schedule to add some photos, rather than to write new articles.
Passion Piece: How often do you exercise?
Karolina: After work, I usually devote my time to dancing. It differs during the week, depending on the number of rehearsals, which I have together with my dance team, but I always try to spend as much time as possible on ballet. I also attend yoga classes twice a week. After 8 hours spent at work, it’s difficult to force yourself and go to the training, but I always try to find at least 6 hours a week to exercise and move myself. Now, for example, we’ve got one of the busiest times just before our new spectacle The Wayward Daughter. That’s why, at the moment, I’m spending at least 10-13 hours on dancing a week. To tell the truth, I don’t have much time for anything else now (laughter) !
Passion Piece: How did you find your passion for dancing?
Karolina: A long, long time ago, I found a short movie on the Internet, in which I could watch a belly dancer who was dancing to modern music. She was beautiful, proud and brave, I also wanted to be like that girl. Unfortunately, at that time I was the opposite of everything she was. A painfully shy introvert, who just hated being in the public eye. However, there was something in her movement and pose, which fascinated me, attracted me like a magnet. I felt that this music pushed a button in me. That’s why, I signed up for the only available classes of tribal fusion in Łódź, and I tried to overcome my shyness. Later on, I got a chance to take part in a school performance at the end of the school year. I still remember how stressed I was about it. I remember taking tranquilizers to be able to go on the stage at all. I was totally stressed during the whole performance and my face was tensed. Fortunately, after getting of the stage, I felt just wonderful, because something inside me melted. I think I broke my own barrier of fear. Later on, every year, I performed together with some other trainees, as well as with the dance team from my school. It lasted for a few years, I think for about 4 or 5 years, however at that time, I attended dance lessons only once a week, and I really thought that it’s a training, which would give me something (laughter). When my dance school introduced ballet lessons, I had a thought: ‘Ok, I’ll go there only to improve my dance technique to be a better dancer, but it’s not really something for me.’ And for some time I really thought it wasn’t for me, because I prefer darker vibes, but surprisingly it occurred that step by step ballet started seducing me, and finally I gave up my dance Alma Mater in favour of classical dance.
Passion Piece: How has dance changed your life and your attitude towards the world?
Karolina: Oh, it has changed completely everything. As I’ve already mentioned, I was … and I am still a shy person, mainly when it comes to social contacts, in a bigger group of people. However, not to such an extent as it used to be before. Dance has reduced my fear of being judged by others. Of course, it’s obvious that it’s very difficult to change such a character trait, however I feel much better than before. So these are the changes when it comes to my mind. When it comes to my body, the more I exercise, the better my body looks. The ballet gives extremely beautiful build. It strengthens the body and makes it slimmer at the same time. You’re not wrong when you say that dancers are gods’ athletes. They’re strong and full of grace, it’s really amazing.
Passion Piece: What challenges occurred to be the most difficult for you?
Karolina: When you start ballet as an old woman (just like me), and you don’t really exercise since leaving your cradle, you don’t have the right motor coordination, you’re not too fit and so on. To be honest everything causes problems. From the combinations set by the teacher, to enduring excessive exercises, coordinating arms with legs and head. You sweat and exercise a lot during the lesson. For example adagio – in which you keep your legs high in the air for a longer period of time, it requires strength from you, which you initially lack, but you keep gaining it with every lesson. During the following lessons you become able to keep your leg slightly higher than before, you get less tired. Later on, you can notice that your legs are nicely shaped, some muscles start appearing, even the ones which you didn’t know they really exist. It’s the payment for your efforts put into the lesson. After your training you feel like a queen. And you’ve survived, that’s important.
Passion Piece: What advice would you give to aspiring dancers?
Karolina: I try not to give any advice to aspiring dancers, maybe only that they should listen to their instructors, even if their comments are not meant for them. I always do so and I try to improve myself, even if the teacher talks to someone else. Girls who like ballet, but who think that they are too old – please, come to the classes! You don’t need to be scared of anything. Classical dance for adults is becoming more and more popular. We can finally make our childhood dreams come true, so why not to try it? The instructors adjust trainings to adults, so don’t be scared, you’ll be asked to do miracles. Chase your dreams, don’t think it’s too late for you. When if not now?
Passion Piece: What are your other passions?
Karolina: I’ve got many passions. Too many if I take the amount of my free time into account. Once I tried drawing and painting. I come back to these two passions with a strange regularity, something attracts me to art, but I can’t spend enough time on these hobbies to gain something spectacular in these areas. I like listening to music, but I don’t restrict myself only to one chosen genre – from electronic music, heavy metal to trip hop and classical music. I can’t help it, I just love many things. It’s a little surprise for others, when they notice music from ballet to Slayer on my phone. I also love writing, but only things, which I feel like writing. I’ve just started a blog, where I post short fantasy stories. If you like these vibes, I invite you to visit my blog – terraaeterna.blogspot.com .
Passion Piece: How did you come up with an idea of creating your own clothing brand?
Karolina: When it comes to my profession I’m a graphic designer, and once I came up with an idea of creating my own ballet sweatshirt with a motif of Starbucks. My friends really loved it, and started asking me where I had bought my sweatshirt. That made me think that there might be a demand for interesting dance motifs, humorous ballet T-shirts. Not the ones which you can find in the chain shops – with pink dancers wearing tutu and pointe shoes (special kind of footwear allowing dancers to stand on their toes), which were great, but for children. I wanted to create something for adults, maybe in combination with pop culture. I did as I thought, and in this way appeared my own brand called Tutu Tee.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Karolina: I hope I’ll be still exercising. I’d love training to accompany me during all my life. My dream is to do something related to dancing … maybe still creating apparel for dancers. We will see, where my life leads me, for now it’s really great!
Passion Piece: What motto would you like to share with my readers?
Karolina: Chase your dreams! You’ll never be any younger, so why not to start today?
Passion Piece: Thank you for this inspiring interview and I wish you all success in dancing, and not only.
The interview with Karolina coincided with my own thoughts related to overcoming barriers and making use of your own potential. I hope that one day, I’ll be able to say just like Karolina, that my life is great, because I do what I love, and not what I have to. That’s why, it’s worth making your dreams come true and to inspire people to do great things. And what do you think?
See you around!
Photos by Tutu Mansion