'It's an extremely difficult industry'... Principal dancer discusses life committed to the arts
If you have ever dreamed of being a ballerina, you are not alone.
There's something so beautiful, so enchanting by the skill of a dancer to effortlessly create difficult and intricate movement and make it look like one is gliding along on a cloud.
From the pastel ribboned pointe shoes to the eye catching tutus and delicate makeup, from the auditorium everything on stage appears like a dream. The story that is not told on stage is the diligent work and long hours that the dancers put themselves though to fully commit their lives to their art form.
And as Dublin Dance Festival rolls around again this May, it's all kicking off with a five day showing of the spellbinding performance of Giselle in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre performed by the world renowned English National Ballet and directed by Akram Khan.
So what exactly does it take to become a principal dancer and remain at the top of your game? Well according to Crystal Costa, one of the principal dancers who is coming to Dublin to star in Giselle, it isn't easy.
"It is an extremely difficult industry to succeed in. There are so many talented young dancers constantly coming onto the scene and it takes complete commitment, perseverance, and will power to be at a top-level standard" she said.
As a prestigious "first soloist" within the English National Ballet Company, Crystal explained that unlike your usual "nine to five", working full-time as a dancer is a 24 hour job that demands perseverance and your understanding that this is life on the road.
"It’s a 24 hour job, being completely in tune with your body, fuelling it with the right energy, recuperating as best I can, fine tuning it with Pilates and sports science to balance out the demands of my working day."
"It is a challenge to maintain strength and fitness consistently throughout the season while battling touring demands and performance schedules at the same time."
"Another challenge, particularly for me having moved overseas to work here, is the sacrifice of connecting with family and not having them around to watch shows and live everyday lives together" Crystal added.
Starting dance at the age of seven, Crystal was previously a principal dancer with the Hong Kong Ballet Company and The National Ballet School in Toronto before moving to the UK, so she is no stranger to the fact that this job requires you to go where it takes you.
Before she takes to the stage in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre this May, she shared some advice exclusively with Her for budding dancers here in Ireland that too dream of joining a company by saying:
"Accept your flaws and acknowledge your strengths. Never stop working and striving to reach your vision of the dancer you want to become, but at the same time, take pride in what you can give that is special and unique and thrive in that."
Giselle takes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre this May 2 - 6 and you can purchase tickets online here. You can also find out all the ongoings of this year's Dublin Dance Festival by reading all about it here.