by Sherif Awad
-From the first time I watched ballet on TV I loved it!! I was four years-old and I asked my mother immediately when I will start ballet! I started ballet lessons at the age of six. During all the school years, I attended ballet classes and most of the times, when a big ballet company visited Athens, I used to go to watch its performance. Once, when I was fifteen, I went to see a ballet performance of the Greek National Opera where the principal male dancer was Igor Zelenski, one of the principal dancers of Mariinsky theater! I loved him. I admired his perfection and elegance! He was my idol for many years!
When I graduated from school, I thought that I would go to the university and I didn’t know what I will do about ballet. Fortunately, I had a friend with the same age as me, who gave exams to the ministry of culture in order to study dance in a professional school. She urged me to do the same and the next year I took the decision to take exams and study at the professional school of ballet and contemporary dance of Niki Kontaxaki in Athens.I feel so lucky that I met her, because she was the person who inspired me to study dance professionally and do the thing that I really loved!
I graduated in 2007 with the diploma of dancer/dancing teacher of ballet and contemporary dance. In 2008, I started Latin dances and in 2010 I took the diploma of Latin dances teacher from IDTA organization. All these years, I have been working as a dancer in dance festivals and independent projects and as a dance teacher in dance schools. I also have created some small choreographies.
-I’m sure that I made the right decision for my life. I never regretted that I didn’t study something else. I don’t imagine myself doing another profession, even though the situation for the artists in Greece is really difficult. Maybe I should have done some more, such as going abroad and study and work in another country, but some things happen or don’t happen for some reason.
-Working as a dancer or dance teacher in Greece needs a lot of love and patience. Some dancers do other jobs to support their career in dancing, because it’s difficult to have a satisfying income only from dance. In Greece a lot of performances and dance festivals take place every year but not all of them are paid works. Some choreographers, or producers take advantage of the fact that many dancers need experience in dancing and hire them for few or no money! For male dancers the whole situation is easier and they are more privileged. They are few, so they can find easier job, because there is lack of male dancers, especially in ballet. But generally, in Greece, many interesting events and performances with a high artistic level happen in theater, dance, photography and visual arts.
-When a job is offered to me, I take into consideration if I’m interested in what they ask me to do, if it suits me, with whom I will collaborate and of course if the job is paid, because this not always a given. I have made jobs that I am proud of all these years. In 2018,I had the chance to collaborate with Delia Gonzalez a very important and multidisciplinary artist from USA, but the last years she is based in Athens. She created a dance video with her own music with the title «Horse follows darkness». I participated as a dancer assistant choreographer and it was such a great experience. You can watch the film online at the platform KABINETT. Also this film has been projected in film festivals, such as Fashion Film festival Milano, and in art galleries in Italy (Milan) and the UK (Brighton and Hove). My professional practice is the same important as my personal life and I think that all these years I have found the equilibrium between these two.
-My advice to the new generation of dancers is to have faith and never give up. The disappointments are more than the successes and they have to be patient, optimistic and to work every day in order to overpass themselves. My future projects are: to continue dancing as many years as I can!!!