Friday, April 5, 2013

Dancing in Salzburg

Contemporary Dance Student

Here is an example of strong willing and effort. 
After falling in love with dance, he seriously went for it. 
 And he danced all the way to Austria. 

Name:   Alexander Metaxas
Age:      24
From:    Piraeus, Greece
To:        Salzburg , Austria
For:       Study major in perfomance or choreography
In:         Salzburg Experimenta Academy of Dance (SEAD)

1. Your dance route. The beginning.

" I started my ballet training when i was only 7 yeas old. My mother was a fan of Nureyev so she sent me to a small ballet school. I WISH! The truth is that although she loved dance as an art, she included nothing artistic in her children's education.. Still swim racing was a good base i realise now.
I started taking contemporary dance classes when i was 18. It was only after one semester in Informatics school that i had decided that i'm not a computer geek after all (I adore computer geeks, i think they are sexy but i'm not one...) so i was trying to find what i should do with my life.. Fortunately one of my colleagues was Myrto Papailiou, a girl who by that time was already in a professional dance school. She suggested me Dancce studio where there were open classes (beginners) of  contemporary dance. My intention was to attend the classes as a hobby but after a month there i was attending all the classes every day regardless the level... The professional classes teachers were so scared that i would break my neck or somebody elses neck.. I don't blame them. After 6 years of training everyday, there is someone that has to visit the hospital occasionally because I got hyper during improvisation... (I'm really sorry Pauline!)"

2. The experience of professional training.

"What you experience when you decide to train professionaly varies, I believe, depending on your background physically,mentally and socially... A professional dance school is after all one more social stucture that aims to educate people. The difference with other educational structures is that it has to do with an art. And that's why sometimes a dance school can be like Fame and some other times like Dantes Inferno...( It is never like Step Up... NEVER!)
In the first school i got in (State Dance School of Athens, ΚΣΟΤ) , i realised after one and a half year that physically my body could not (back then)  survive almost 8 hours or more of intense dance training, plus my mentality could not handle a teacher screaming in my ear to strech my knee.. Nevertheless i have now understood that a teacher is screaming sometimes basically because you are so spaced out while focusing in your arms for example, that you will never hear him if he just says ''stretch your knee'' in a low voice.. The approach of the teachers in the school I am now is very different. It is up to us to make use of the feedback we are offered and the game is all about who gets more feedback or even no feedback..."

3. Dance’s social aspect.

"Regarding the social structure of a dance school saying that the interaction of students resembles what we have watched in american school tv shows like Beverly Hills 90210 is an understatement. People are always exaggerating in both positive and negative feelings.. You are extremely happy or on the verge of depression every other week..  But maybe i'm exaggerating myself now describing the situation... Even if i am, I do love all my dance mates from both schools and (with some gradient for sure) I consider them all friends..."

4. Highlight moments.

"First thing tha pops in mind is being applauded after our last school perfomance..Also auditioning for Sead was a highlight since I didn't really believe I would get in so I was just fabulous, attending an audition while i was enjoying my spring vacation in Austria. No really the same situation with my first audition for ΚΣΟΤ where i almost sat on the lap of one judge after a ridiculous failed landing of a rather decent pirouette..."

5. Significant sacrifices.

"The only thing i consider a sacrifice -since i am so determined to make this happen that i don't feel it is a sacrifice- is spending all my life waking up at 7 to do ballet training at 9, is that there are days that i don't get to stay under the sun.. Especially in Austria it is still dark when we begin classes and by the time we have finished in the afternoon it is night again..."

6. The hardest moment.

"For sure my last month in  ΚΣΟΤ. Due to unweighted factors i had to leave the school and my whole world collapsed in a month. Good thing that life always balances offering also well-weighted factors afterwards that you can benefit from."

7. Why so fewer male dancers compared to females in Greece? Is the analogy different in Austria?

"One basic reason is that art generally in Greece is not considered as worthy to be part of our education. Girls do ballet from a young age to get nice beautiful bodies and have the essential ''french, ballet and piano'' trinity in their C.V. for their future husbands. Inevitably boys most of the times will be motivated to play manly sports like soccer and learn languages to understand what the fuck is written in their future wife's C.V. So time passes you are 17 and even if you love dancing you feel really awkard attending an open class of ballet where you are probably the only male in the middle of young girls with pink tights, bitchy ballerinas and in the best of occasions a very polite funny guy in pink fluorecent leotards... (Love you)".

8. Why Salzburg?

"Because of this school. For sure I prefer any european capital because this is the environment i was raised in; traffic, noise and pollution make me feel like home. But having a rather popular school based in a small town in Austria (which is a rather popular base for art schools, Mozarteum is also here) aims to keep the students focused on their training and not the upcoming Woodkid or Beyonce concert in town... We only got Peaches last semester...<Who cares! She is a far better Music Producer than Woodkid and she a far better performer than Beyonce! >"

9. What is special about this dance school?

"Basically it's who is in the school which makes it special.. All my colleagues belong to a mental istitution like me.. And for sure some of my teachers too! One other thing is that the school is self-organised. There are very few faculty members and everything else is organised and done by us. Our lunch, the production of the perfomances , the maintenance of the school ( respect to the brave cleaning-team, they wake up every morning at 6!) everything is our responsibility!"

10. The best thing to do with company in this city

"Bike riding at midnight already a bit dizzy from beer, singing all together on our way to somewhere. We look like juvenile criminals disturbing the public peace.. And it's not true! All of us are adults!"

11. The best thing to do alone.

"Explore the countryside around the city... When it's sunny and green Salzburg look like Narnia after Aslan decided to show up finally.. He is very late this year.. Aaarghhh!"

12. The hardest thing to get used to in Salzburg.

"I would say -20 degrees but dressing like an onion solves this.. What is really hard for me to accept is how conservative local people are.. It's just pink shoes people, you don't have to stare at me like i'm an alien  or a witch that has to be burned alive. Seriously?"

13. The song linked with your life in this city.

"It's not only one...

Lykke Li  -  I follow rivers (night bike riding)
Alela Diane  -  Oh my mama (to wake up in morning ballet)
Arcade Fire  -  My body is a cage (to try to sing while you are doing ballet)
Missy Elliot  -  Music makes you lose control (to get hyper for a three hour rehearsal)
Scissor Sisters  -  Let's have a kiki ( for every occasion that includes alcohol)"

14. The taste.

"Mama Nitsah's cookies ( Roni's successful buisness in our school cafe)"

15. Your furthest dream.

"To dance at least once in a piece of every famous dance company like Rosas. And then be a happy househusband and teach dance improvisation for children in a dance school."

16. Favourite dancers.

"Mistaya Hemmingway, Stella Zannou, Lali Ayguade, Sofia Butela, Daniel Cloud Campos, Sidi Larbi Cherqaui (choerographer)."

17. Your personal balance among talent-skills-expression.

"I believe that balance between those three is what one should aim for but never achieve it.. Because if those three are balanced i believe you have a very correct but rather listless dancer..  It's our flaws in one of them that brings out our skill in the others and vice versa."

         18. Your most usual thoughts before getting on the stage.

         - It's gonna be amazing. We will shine..
- I have no recollection of the first three moves of the material... FUCK!

       Photos of performance by Theano Vasilaki  

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