Daniela was born and raised in Brazil and started her career in her native country. In 1999 she picked up a contract with the Dutch National Ballet and danced for eleven years with this company. In 2010 she decided to change careers.
Daniela just reached the end of her retraining and graduated from a three years BA Arts Management course at London South Bank University.
What is it that you love about dance so much?
I love ballet because it combines a highly specialised body technique with artistry.
Would you share one of your career highlights?
I did some very nice soloist roles in the main company in Brazil such as Myrtha in Giselle and Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. With Het Nationale Ballet I worked with great choreographers and danced many interesting roles. I think the one I most enjoyed was actually an acting role: Carabosse in the Sleeping Beauty. It was an honour to work with Sir Peter Wright on this role. And I love the fact that I could really add my own interpretation to the choreography. The evil characters are the most fun to do!
What was your transition process like?
I knew it was going to be hard since I really loved dancing, loved the company and loved my friends there. But it was time; my body was complaining and I could see that my technique was starting to decline. I didn’t want to wait to see that happen. Therefore I wanted to start studying immediately to keep myself busy and not have time to miss ballet too much. I chose Arts Management because I still wanted to do something related to art.
What has been your greatest challenge?
During the first two years after stopping, I had periods when I felt quite sad. I wasn’t depressed, but I just missed the stage and to be in a theatre surrounded by artists. Also I felt a bit lonely since it is a major change from working in a company with eighty dancers to studying where you do most of the work in front of your computer by yourself. It is a drastic change. But I was also excited with the new challenge so it wasn’t too bad.
What are you up to now and how did you wind up going this direction?
I have finished my degree and have just started working as a Project Manager with the New English Ballet Theatre. I have also started teaching ballet classes and continue as an independent choreographer. For me it is ideal to combine working on both the management and the artistic side. I will keep trying to combine projects that allow me to do both.
What qualities that you developed as a dancer are useful in your new career?
Discipline. I thought it would be really hard to start studying again after so many years, but the discipline we have as dancers and the commitment of always doing our best proved key to my success at the University. I am so happy I got a First Class Degree, which in England is the best pass mark and that was due to hard work, time management and discipline, all of which I was already familiar with.
What did you learn from the transition process and what information/advice can you pass on to other dancers facing transition?
Think a lot before you choose what you would like the Omscholingsregeling to support you with. It’s unpractical to change your mind after you have started studying. Make sure it is something that can actually bring you some income once you graduate. And save money! You just don’t know how long it takes to find a job after finishing your studies, so be prepared.
Why do you think it’s important that dancers can get support during their transition?
It is absolutely crucial! Especially now, with the financial crisis and the shortage of jobs, it would be almost impossible to change careers and enter the market without acquiring new skills and at an older age. The support from the Omscholingsregeling allows dancers to get back on their feet and find a new direction in their lives without struggling financially. If it weren’t for the Omscholing I would not have been able to afford my course and therefore would not have gotten the new degree and the new job. The talks with Paul Bronkhorst were also very helpful and I am extremely grateful for his advice and support before and throughout my studies.