17 May 2017
Author: The Place

Q&A with Anna Nowak (Ballet Preparation short course)

A long-standing dancer in Company Wayne McGregor, Anna has been a part of all the company’s creations, as well as appearing in film, art and a variety of other projects over her course professional career which has lasted 16 years, undergoing a demanding schedule of touring, performing and teaching.

This summer at The Place, Anna will be leading a short course of 3 weeks in Ballet Preparation, which will be developing participants’ strength and flexibility with exercises that will open up the body, build coordination and core muscle strength as well as correcting alignment. Read our interview with the artist and book your space.

Before joining Company Wayne McGregor, you were a part of the National Ballet of Poland and were awarded an MA from the Chopin National University of Music in Warsaw. Can you tell us a little more about your training background?

I took my dance education in Parnell National Ballet School in Lodz and I was awarded the special prize for the Best Graduate of ballet schools in Poland as well as the Prime Minister’s scholarship for academic achievement. I joined the Polish National Ballet (PNB) in the same year and simultaneously I began my higher education at the Chopin University of Music, studying towards an MA in Art, with a specialised study in Dance Teaching.

It was hard work, as I was also dancing at the PNB, often finishing performances very late and going to the university on my only days off! But it was worth it, I’ve learned a lot, being forever grateful to some of my tutors for their life-long expertise, which they generously shared, spreading their passion and curiosity. They taught me that there is always more and that if I ever want to teach, I would need to know my subject in depth so I can share it with my students playfully, whilst inspiring and encouraging them to keep growing.

How does the dance scene in London compare to that of Warsaw?

The scene in London is one and only… what can I say! Here, every night we are bombarded with choices, styles, possibilities of what to see, which workshops to attend and what to do with all we have access to. I think the Polish scene for dance has a lot of potential and I often appreciate its developments during my visits. I think there isn’t so much of a freelance scene in Poland as yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. London has so much confidence, but I wonder does it always translate to the quality of the work being presented? Being bold is not in itself a guarantee of success. I like to believe that there are many talented Polish artists ready to invest all their resources and efforts to better themselves, take workshops, find teachers and bring it all back to Poland with understanding and appreciation.

Currently, what are your interests away from dance?

I have always had many interests away from dance, where can I start?!

I have developed a passion for travelling, researching, observing different cultures and perhaps one day would like to write about it if the opportunity presents itself. I got lost and found by a local farmer near the Great Wall of China, I have spent 5 weeks alone in Brazil observing two different conservation projects, I got rescued by a fisherman when I was in trouble in Thailand and have said “why not” countless times having no idea of the opportunities they would lead to. All of it self-funded and on the edge of a financial disaster, but I have no regrets.

I feel privileged to be able to practice creativity. There are many ways in which we can use our skills to make a contribution, to make a statement, to ask questions, to get involved, to empower others, to take responsibility for the direction in which our world is going; a great opportunity for artists, educators and those practicing mindfulness. I think everything in life is connected and we as humans have a great responsibility to live our lives with awareness, compassion and kindness. I am interested in diversifying and collaborating in the interdisciplinary work and dedication to others. After all, everything is a dance.

What can we expect from participating in your classes?

Bring an open mind and commitment, curiosity and a spirit of playful exploration. We will work hard because there is no other way! I feel privileged to share what I have learned with others and I know that with genuine investment on both sides the results will exceed any expectations.

Ballet Preparation with Anna Nowak will take place on Wednesdays from 17 - 31 May (6:30-8.00pm). Participants can enrol for all 3 sessions or drop-in to individual sessions.

Anna will also be delivering a Yoga for Dancers course and a Ballet Level 3 course as part of The Place’s Summer Dance Courses. For more information and to book your place click the link.


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