(With a little styling from Designed by Alice. Naturally!)
American dancer Deanna Pearson has just begun her first professional season with Staatsballet Berlin. I was interested to know how she has made the transition from student to professional: With particular focus on the mental changes she has began to make in how she now 'sees' herself as a dancer.
It is actually hard to believe that I have already been dancing and working at Staatsballett Berlin for more than a month now, all of the new sights and experiences have made the time fly! Each day I continue to appreciate how lucky I am to have been given this wonderful opportunity to be a part of the company, and to be able to do what I love for a living. Of course, although the people at Staatsballett Berlin and my family and friends have made my transition from student to professional a great deal smoother, stepping into the professional ballet world has brought many changes and adjustments that have challenged me both as a person and as an artist. Moving from the US was exciting but also exhausting, but I can now proudly say that I have settled in to my first apartment all on my own. At the company, not only have I been lucky enough to be able to take class everyday surrounded by brilliant dancers, but have also been able to be a part of many rehearsals. Coming directly from school, I am of course accustomed to daily classes and rehearsals, but I have discovered that once you are a member of a professional company many aspects of these routine events are different. Class in the morning is shorter than what I was used to having as a student, and I have begun to notice that the emphasis is less on perfecting technique and more on getting one's body warm and ready for rehearsals as well as extending one's individual artistic abilities. As part of expressing one's individuality in class, the usual simple uniform of leotards and tights I am accustomed to coming from school transforms into endless combinations of colorful leotards, tights, warm ups, and wonderful skits - Designed by Alice! Additionally, in a company such as Staatsballett Berlin, classes are quite large and it therefore becomes essential to find your own space and rhythm in taking class while respecting the other dancers around you. My rehearsal experience has also evolved as I stepped into the professional world; surrounded by the rest of the corps de ballet, it is not only important to know each step precisely and to be able to execute it correctly, but to know how your position relates to that of those around you and to the overall formation of the corps at each point in the piece. Thus, company rehearsals so far have proven to test both my physical as well as mental ability and speed. These differences in company life while challenging have been wildly enjoyable for me, although I would definitely view my highlight of my first month at Staatsballett Berlin as being able to dance in the opening season gala, an experience I will truly never forget. With all the changes moving from student to professional, what I realized is not at all affected is that feeling of stepping out onto the stage, hearing the music, and surrendering to the complete bliss that is performing live onstage. Whatever other challenges may lay ahead as I continue to adjust to company life, I know that I will be able to continue to learn each day about what it truly means to be a professional and an artist.
'Before' Audition photographs by Vihao Pham
'After' Professional Photographs styled with and by Designed by Alice
at Staatsballet Berlin