How Dancers Motivate Themselves

I’m creating a small series for my blog to give my favourite dancers the opportunity to talk about their experiences, motivation and daily routines nowadays. As you all know, it must be so tough for dancers to train hard every single day in isolation and stay in top shape, not knowing when the next performance is going to be.
When you consider the short life span of the typical career of a professional dancer, it has been a waste of time. A typical career spans just 15 years within the dancer’s prime, usually from age 19-34, and that’s assuming there are no serious injuries or other health problems along the way.

Statement of Lou Spichtig

Let’s start with Lou Spichtig, a Swiss dancer being a member of the Queensland Ballet company in Brisbane since 2016.

„Dancing our kitchens was fun – until it became the new normal. 
In my case, my balcony became my ballet studio, my living room my gym & class taught through Zoom, a daily routine. From day 1 of isolation, Queensland Ballet made sure we were well taken care of – from portable ballet barres delivered to our door, squares of marley flooring cut to fit our living space, workout programmes and check-ins provided by our health teams and most importantly, ensuring all dancers remained connected, despite being apart. I’ve never felt more fortunate to live so far removed from the rest of the world, in Queensland, where we were able to return to both the studio and the stage far sooner than the rest of the world, in these unusual times.“


Stunning Ballet Paintings

by South African Artist Claire Linder

Based in Switzerland, I’ve known Claire for more than 10 years. I always admired her paintings and even own one myself. Take a look and be inspired by glimpse in time which captures the dynamic movement typical of ballet. If you enjoy them, they are currently available for sale.


If you are interested to buy them, please let me know.

  Image size                          Frame size             Price  CHF

Movement 1           46 x 60 cm                     62 x 75 cm  (white metal and  white passepartout)                                                           450.00                                                    
Movement 2          46 x 60 cm                    62 x 75 cm 450.00
Movement 3          44 x 30 cm                     45 x 60 cm  200.00
Movement 4          54. x 40.5 cm                56 x 70 cm    300.00
Movement 5          54. x 40.5 cm                 56 x 70 cm    300.00
Movement 6          46 x 60 cm                     62 x 75 cm    500.00
Movement 7           46 x 60 cm                     62 x 75 cm    500.00
Movement 8           60 x 100 cm 60 x 100 cm  (white wood)  600.00 

More about Claire Linder



Born in 1954, South Africa.

  • Bachelor of Arts, University Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Classes for botanical illustration from Katie Lee (USA) and Jenny Philipps (Aus)
  • 1977 – 1979 Freelance illustrator
  • 1980 – 1981 Artist at the national Botanic Gardens, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • 1982 – 1985 Freelance artist at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, England.
  • 1986 – 2004 Freelance illustrator in South Africa and Zürich.
  • 2019 Member of SGBK – Schweizerische Gesellschaft Bildender Künstlerinnen
  • Winner of the Royal Horticultural Society gold medallion 1985
  • Winner of the Botanical Artists Association silver medallion 1995
  • Founding member of BAASA (Botanical Artists’ Association of South Africa)
  • Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (UK)
  • Flowering Plants of Africa (SA)
  • Veld and Flora (SA)
  • P Linder and H Kurzweil, Orchids of Southern Africa
  • Du Puy and Cribb, The Genus Cymbidium (UK)
  • Various scientific journals

Wieder alles abgesagt!

Wie das Staatsballett Berlin Corona trotzte

Das Staatsballett Berlin blieb dank eines effektiven Sicherheits- und Hygienekonzeptes spielfähig bis der 2. Lookdown in Deutschland kam. Die 91 Tänzer*innen arbeiteten davor in separierten Trainingsgruppen, eingeteilt nach den Produktionen, in denen sie auftreten. Sobald ein Ensemblemitglied positiv auf Covid 19 getestet wird, kann diese Trainingsgruppe sofort isoliert und untersucht werden. Für November mussten alle Vorstellungen abgesagt werden.

Alle hoffen, dass ab 5. Dezember der Betrieb mit dem Ballettklassiker GISELLE wieder aufgenommen werden kann.


Mehr über das Staatsballett in der Corona-Krise im Video. Hingabe, Disziplin und Weitertrainieren – das ist und bleibt die Devise des Staatsballetts!

Beitragsfoto Iana Salenko und Daniil Simkin in GISELLE ©Yan Revazov

#WorldBalletDay on 29 Oct 2020

A Must For all Ballet- and Dancelovers!!!

What a great program and variety!

Visit worldballetday.com or join the Facebook event to stay up to date with news and announcements, and to join us LIVE.

Add Your Own Touch and Live That Story

Interview with Michelle Willems on her career at Ballet Zurich 

You danced the main roles in Nutcracker and the Mouseking, the little Match girl and Sleeping beauty. The characters are totally different. Could you tell us about the challenges of each ballet?

Nutcracker was my fist big role at the Ballet Zurich. I was lucky to get this opportunity and didn’t want to disappoint. I enjoyed it very much to play a little girl. 

Ballett Zürich – Nussknacker und Mausekönig – 2017/18 © Gregory Batardon
Weiterlesen „Add Your Own Touch and Live That Story“



Wer hat Dornröschen wach geküsst?


Premiere Dornröschen Opernhaus Zürich vom 10.10.2020

Ballettdirektor Christian Spuck eröffnet die Saison mit einer eigenen Version vom Ballettklassiker DORNRÖSCHEN. Der Charakter der Carabosse rückt mehr in den Mittelpunkt – ursprünglich die böse Fee, die aus Rache Dornröschen verflucht, weil sie nicht zur Tauffeier einladen wurde. Spuck fügt einen Prolog im Feenreich hinzu. Jeder Säugling ist einer Fee anvertraut, bevor er den Menschen übergeben wird. Das kinderlose Königspaar kidnappt ausgerechnet das Mädchen der Fee Carabosse (William Moore). Und somit nimmt die Geschichte seinen Lauf….

Weiterlesen „Wer hat Dornröschen wach geküsst?“

Faszination Tutanchamun


Diese Ausstellung zeigt das Grab des Pharaos so, wie Howard Carter es 1922 entdeckt hat – eine der spektakulärsten Ausgrabungen der ägyptischen Geschichte. 3300 Jahren blieb die Grabkammer unentdeckt. Als Tutanchamun 1323 v. Chr. als 19 Jähriger starb, wurde seine letzte Grabstätte mit allem ausgestattet, was er für das Leben im Jenseits brauchen würde. Die jahrtausendalten Schätze wurden für die internationale Wanderausstellung original als Nachbauten rekonstruiert. 6.5 Millionen Besucher weltweit bestätigen den grosser Erfolg.

Absolut sehenswert ist die weltberühmte goldene Totenmaske, die den Kopf, Hals und Schultern der Mumie bedeckt und schützt. Darüber liegen ineinander verschachtelt wie bei einer Babuschka-Puppe die einzelnen Schichten des Sarges – zuerst ein 110 kg schwerer goldener Sarkophag, drei wunderbar verzierte Särge und als weiterer Schutz 4 vergoldete Holzschreine. Auch zu bestaunen sind ein kompletter Streitwagen, 2 lebensgrosse Wächterstatuen sowie viele kostbare Grabbeilagen wie Möbelstücke, Waffen, Goldschmuck, Musikinstrumente und sogar Kosmetik.

Weiterlesen „Faszination Tutanchamun“

How dancers learn steps?

How to achive Automaticity?

I found this amazing video of the Royal Ballet on Youtube and want to share it with you the science of how dancers learn choreography. What happens in the dancer’s brain? How does dance effect the brain?

The Royal Ballet Company loves to enriching people’s lives through ballet. It offers a lot for all ballet lovers, digital and learning platforms for young people and adults, international touring, ROH live cinema every season all over the world. Ballet production were regularly streamed online. In times of covid 19 the Royal Opera started a fanatic programme for free to please all ballet fans.

Have a look: https://www.roh.org.uk/about/the-royal-ballet

It’s often said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert, but what happens in a ballet dancer’s brain when they learn choreography?
Royal Ballet dancer Gemma Pitchley-Gale is joined by neuroscientists, healthcare professionals and psychologists to find out how performers learn, and the techniques they can employ to improve their performance. ©Royal Ballet London

Source: Royal Opera House, 28.10.2019

What lies behind lightness

By Judith Hunger, guest entry published by Zett, a magazine by Zurich University of the Arts, 2018

What began in 1832 with the world premiere of the ballet “La Sylphide” is still part of the training received by future ballerinas: dancing on pointe. The challenging footwork is also taught and practised everyday at Zurich Dance Academy.

“Pointe work is highly demanding and requires very good training, patience and discipline. It takes a long time before the lightness becomes visible,” says Steffi Scherzer, artistic director of Zurich Dance Academy (taZ). She knows what she is talking about. Her career — from group dancer to prima ballerina — lasted 28 years. “It takes students some time to find the right pointe shoes. It’s constant trial and error,” adds Tina Goldin, who teaches classical dance and pointe work at taZ. The shoes, moreover, must be individually fitted. Possible pressure points need to be softened as a precaution, elastic bands are sewn onto the shoe or the sole need shaping. This can take up to an hour. Not unusually, ballerinas prepare more than one pair of pointe shoes per performance. They might even need to change shoes between scenes.

A new role for the foot

It was the legendary Marie Taglioni who first danced a whole performance on tiptoe in Paris in 1832. Henceforth called “prima ballerina,” she lent the mythological air spirit — Sylphide — a new body- and weightlessness. In addition, Marie Taglioni wore a tutu for the first time in the eponymous ballet — a “romantic” tutu, as it is called in technical jargon. Yet another sensation was that, up until those days, ballerinas were dancing in frock coats. The bone of contention was the length — or rather the shortness — of the tutus. It reached down to roughly the middle of the calf to provide a clear view of the ballerina’s footwork. The dancer’s foot thus assumed a new role: it became part of the dancer’s artistic expression.

Pointe shoes must become part of the body. Photograph: © taZ

Countless tricks for foot care

From a medical point of view, a ballerina’s foot assumes a new function in pointe dance. She stands on her “stretched-out” foot — in what resembles a small evolutionary step. Her body weight is balanced in the toe cap, which is glued with several layers of fabric, on a very small surface. To dance professionally and safely in pointe shoes, the feet must be strengthened under expert guidance over several years through very specific training.

Feet subject to such wear and tear require intensive care. taZ students massage them with rubber balls, cushion their pointe shoes and bind their toes in special tape. Extensive application of cream, to keep the skin as soft and elastic as possible, is as much a daily ritual as strengthening the feet through special exercises using resistance bands. In short, the list of tricks in ballerina foot care is as lengthy and personal as the infinite range of different feet.

Mobility is prerequisite

“And roll up! Stand stable above the tip! Arms up! Keep your balance,” Tina Goldin instructs her undergraduate students. “We start with the simplest bar exercises. At this stage they primarily serve to build up strength,” she explains. The individual elements are still clearly distinct. “The feet should also preserve a certain elasticity,” adds Steffi Scherzer. Natural foot and body mobility and flexibility are essential prerequisites for professional ballet. “We can promote mobility, but we can’t create it. It’s a prerequisite for classical academic dance.”

What begins simply ends highly demandingly. Advanced classes focus on speed and on mastering the different dynamics. Students also devote much time to skillfully combining individual elements — the soft and expressive in the adagio, the swift and lively in the allegro — into a virtuoso whole. At this stage, the pointe shoes should no longer be a foreign object, but must have become an integral part of the foot, the leg, the entire body.

Guest Author

Judith Hunger (judith.hunger@zhdk.ch), responsible for communications at ZHdK’s Department of Performing Arts and Film, quotes Kafka in this context: “Art needs craftsmanship more than craftsmanship needs art.”

Photo on Top: Getting ready for a training session at Zurich Dance Academy (taZ). Photograph: © taZ

This entry appeared on 7th May 2018 in Zett, a magazine by Zurich University of the Arts www.zhdk.ch/zett.