Photographer: Alice Williamson
Caroline Bird is an essential part of the BalletWorks team and has been with us since the very beginning. After dancing with the Stattsballet Berlin for 6 years, she is finding her way into a new domain. We were able to catch up and discuss her views, along with the circumstances that most dancers have to come to terms with when leaving such an institution.
1) We dedicate so much of our lives to this art form, so now that you have left the company, and are now making the transition of what most dancers fear, tell us how you're feeling after coming to terms with this step in your life?
The first thing I remember thinking, waking up the first morning of what would be my 7th season as a professional dancer, is how strange is it that I don't have the same routine I've had for over 20 years of my life. Waking up and going to the studio was as regular as making my mandatory coffee and breakfast each morning. I remember feeling lost that I didn't have responsibility to please any one else, a higher power, which used to be the big machine that was Staatsballett Berlin. I soon shed this craving for routine and grew to love the spontaneity of making my own weekly goals and having the freedom to do most things on a whim. The best part of being my own boss is the doors it's opened for me, truly beyond imagination. The hardest part is not belonging to this elite title, but what is a name worth if it isn't fulfilling you?!
2) You mentioned you feel your identity is lost, why do you think that way?
Being a ballerina in this big world is undoubtably an alluring profession. We look different, we walk funny and we're filled with die hard passion to transform people to another world with our bodies. It is probably the second thing I say to people after my name when I describe myself. And I couldn't stop thinking what if I took that away, what would be the first thing I say about myself. What else is there to intrigue people in the same way? It is such a gift to be an artist and to have given the majority of my life to this art form and to have lived and experienced all the glamor and magic that comes with the world.
3) How did you change your mindset?
No matter how often I dance and how present it is in my daily life it will always live inside of me. My soul will always dance and I will always cry watching Giselle Second Act. But departing from the career and using its tools to propel me forward into another career is thrilling. It used to scare me to think that one day it could all be taken away in a blink, and I could be left lost and without time to experience another career. Now that I'm transitioning at twenty six, I don't have to fear ending with a spent body and love-sucked soul. I'm stopping in a moment when I can still appreciate its beauty.
4) What matters now?
I'll never forget the feeling of holding my niece when she was one week old. The whole world fell at my sides, and I realized, this is what it's about. Life ...pure, innocent, joy and the feeling of loving and being loved in return. This year has been incredibly eye opening for me and it's been the people, the friends and family, that have held me together like glue. They have instilled their belief in me and given me the bravery to fearlessly trek into the unknown. I've realized that having people around the world, that fill me with happiness and love, is above all, the greatest gift and reward. Because at the end of the day, if my body was to stop working, I wouldn't fear, because I would have the most beautiful collection of souls to surround me. This is what's important.