My training years. How I started dancing and my first memories of dance 

“My first memory of dancing was in my childhood home to ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker. Later on, my father remarked that my steps had been lovely because they had come from my own imagination.

I did not yet know actual ballet steps, but a short time after, I enrolled at the local ballet school together with a friend and my sister. I was only four years old, and felt a little lost. I walked straight into a huge pillar in class while distracted by two older girls coming into the room to visit their old teacher. It was Betina and Michelle from the Royal Danish Ballet School.

Maybe my dream started there, with the costumes from a fairy tale of course.

How I feel on stage 

The longer time I spend on stage the better I feel because it allows me to land in the universe and let go of the world outside. But as time on stage not always go hand in hand it can create very ambivalent feelings. Sometimes excitement other times a struggle.


Memories of a performance that is especially dear to my heart

The memory of dancing “Lady of the Camelia” is very dear and special to me. I fell in love with the story, the characters, the instructing. Many elements around John Neumeier and Kevin Haigen who instructed us were unique and the universe he created challenged us all. In a very honest and magical way. But I also adore when storytelling and dance go hand in hand.

My responsibility towards society as an artist

It’s a big question. Artists are storytellers. I hope I can make the audience forget the struggles they go through for a little while. Take a break from reality. But if art is at its best, it can also give you the courage to face reality and make changes for the better in your life.


Where I source the mental and physical strength needed to practice my art

I source for strength in asking myself “why” and hope to find a reason of how it makes sense. Without a good reason energy seems to disappear. It doesn’t always work out, but I think it is healthy despite it can also create frustration.

I also find mental and physical health in support from my family and friends. My loving parents, three spectacular sisters, my partner and my unique, crazy friends. We use humour and a good laugh a lot to gather strength.

The opposite of dancing

Standing still. But for a while that can be quite beautiful and necessary.

It is a tricky question. By standing still, dance can still happen in your eyes, your smile…


January 2018.

Susanne Grinder is based in Copenhagen and a former Principal of the RDB.

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