Our scholarships have been awarded to 90 dancers. Meet our scholarship holders who have completed their individual career plans.
Throughout my ballet career, I always paid attention to perceive the art of ballet in all of its aspects. I was eager to face challenges, not only those related to dance, and therefore it was already in Georgia that I began to organize concerts, ballet galas, and shows. I also dabbled in choreography, and became involved in organizing the company’s international tours. The administrative challenges entailed in those ventures drove me towards legal studies, which I completed back in Georgia, and postgraduate studies for managers of culture at the University of Warsaw. I also completed studies in ballet pedagogy at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. My goal was to gain diverse experience in order to groom myself for the role of ballet manager and promoter, which has been, and will always remain, my greatest passion.
Searching for my own path, I continued to gain experience in order to choose a career path that suited me best. Dancers should consider trying themselves at choreographing, directing short pieces, or dealing with lighting design while they still work in theatre. Theatre provides a number of opportunities in different profession, and one should take their chance when at an opportune moment – mine came with Krzysztof Pastor, the Director of the Polish National Ballet, who has created favourable circumstances for dancers in this regard, and for that I remain forever grateful to him.
My last professional ballet class was an unforgettable experience. I can still recall the moment when I walked away from the bar for the last time. It was a difficult time, but several months later I knew I had taken the right decision. I was relieved, knowing that the world was wide open, and so were the new horizons and room to apply the rich experience I had gained outside my dancing career. My long-standing search had paid off – there was plenty to build on.
My decision to leave was made easier by the years of preparations, the trials and errors in different domains, and my attempts to establish myself offstage. Once you decide to conclude your dancing career, do not linger, make sure you follow through. Leaving the stage is inevitable at some point. It is usually signalled by various red flags, which make you feel your career is slowing down. You should not ignore them. Think of what you envision yourself as in theatre or outside of its confines, and consider how it can be beneficial to both you and other people. It is a complicated time in any dancer’s life, not least on the psychological level. I was delighted to learn that the Institute of Music and Dance supports dancers throughout the process, both through the scholarship, which covers the transition expenses, but also by the feedback offered by the councillors who are always there to help you out with your plans and dilemmas.
I would advise other dancers to first realize that the more we engage in our work, the faster the time seems to flow. One must think of their future, even though we all give it our best on stage. We must dive into new things, even if it requires financial investment, because our careers may come to a close at any time. One should not project they will dance until they turn 40, and hence feel safe staying in the moment. Each rehearsal or class is potentially career-ending.
Today I know that one must know what they want and what they strive for. Apart from solid knowledge, studying at the ICAN Institute enabled me to meet many people from different sectors outside of theatre. It was important to me to be able to think and act outside of the cultural and artistic box.
At present, I am developing a network of national ballet theatres in Europe. My goal is to create a platform to develop new pieces and foster exchange between theatres, invite guest teachers from other theatres, organize master classes for ballet students and workshops for the public and ballet enthusiasts. I have many plans, backed up by first-class preparation as an ICAN Institute graduate, and by my conviction that I will build my second career around ballet, to which I have devoted my stage life.
Eduard Bablidze, Warsaw, October 2017