I would like to introduce a former student of mine, Jack Stromland, who is currently attending full time ballet training in Germany. Jack was a student of my Semi Professional Program for two years, in which time he made incredible progress. I had an informal chat with Jack after class just recently whilst he was on a break from his full time ballet training in Germany. Here is a little insight into his new life as a dancer training in Dresden.
Name; Jack Stromland
Previous training; Balmain Dance Academy, 2007 – 2012
Semi Professional Program, Academy Ballet, 2011-2012
Currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) at the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden
“When did you commence full time ballet training in Germany?”
In September, 2012.
“Obviously life in Germany is vastly different to your previous life in Australia. What would you consider to be the 5 most difficult areas you have to cope with on a day to day basis?”
1. Doing my cooking, cleaning and washing after a long day can be difficult. Especially when we have twelve hour days, but I find that by being organised and making sure I do as much preparation on the weekend, makes all of this much more manageable.
2. Dealing with a very cold European winter for the first time was also hard. Coming into dance in the morning after a freezing commute, it is often difficult to get the body moving and warm, but it’s really important especially in helping with injury prevention. I also feel like I can get more out of my body for the rest of the day when I make the extra effort.
3. The time difference between Europe and Australia makes skyping home and keeping in contact with family and friends difficult. Everyone deals with this differently, but I find the best way of keeping in touch is having a regular weekly skype session with family for a couple of hours.
4. Learning German is also hard. In our lessons at school we speak English but we were required to pass a German test by the end of the first year. To help with this the school has a weekly german lesson for international students. I am now quite comfortable speaking german in supermarkets and stores which has proved a very handy skill.
5. The long and intensive days at full time ballet training in Germany means that I have very little energy for hobbies outside of dancing. I quickly learned that I needed to find other activities to take my mind off dancing on the weekend. Watching movies and seeing friends helps with this and doesn’t drain my energy. It’s really important to find a healthy balance between life inside and outside of dance.
“What do you particularly enjoy about your schooling?”
I love that we have the opportunity to explore both Classical Ballet and Contemporary every day. I also admire the schools philosophy of encouraging us to be unique and individual.
“What would you consider the main differences from your previous Semi Professional Program training at Academy Ballet to your full time ballet training in Germany?”
Definitely the class sizes… In Dresden there are twenty students in my year (8 boys and 12 girls) and in the Semi Professional Program there were less students and more individual attention. Also, the fact that the school uses a wider range of ballet styles: Vaganova, Balanchine, English and French, due to the diversity of our teacher’s backgrounds.
“Could you give us a typical day in the life of Jack in Dresden?”
9:30-11:15 Classical ballet
“Does the school promote a friendly atmosphere?”
There is a very friendly atmosphere, although quite unique as we come from all over the world (Australia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Italy, France). You get close to people very quickly, because we are with each other for so long each day.
“What do you miss most about Australia, besides your mum?!”
Definitely the beach!
Written by; Vicki Attard and Jack Stromland