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A Dancer Needs to Dance

Artist Blog by Ingeborg Everaerd

During a backstage photoshoot at the National Opera Ballet at the beginning of 2020, I met the Belgian dancer Nina Tonoli. She had recently moved to Amsterdam, leaving behind her boyfriend and comfortable apartment in Vienna to pursue her dream of becoming a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.

After the shoot, Nina asked me to collaborate more frequently. Intrigued by the woman behind the ballet dancer, I agreed. I was curious if Nina's career felt more important to her than feeling at home somewhere, considering she had been frequently moving since the age of 14 due to her dance career.

However, the pandemic soon disrupted our plans.

Years and years of training, rehearsing, and performing six days a week suddenly got replaced by nothing. Dancers were forced to train at home to keep in shape via online lessons. Living in a tiny apartment in Amsterdam, missing her boyfriend and not being able to perform for a large audience. What does that do to your body and mind?

Something that would have been impossible with her usual demanding work schedule is that I had the opportunity to see her regularly. Getting to know the woman behind the facade of a ballerina was an honor.

Hearing her speak passionately about her love for dance, despite enduring physical pains and sacrificing her personal life where even love seems to come second, was truly inspiring.

Her unwavering dedication to dance, willing to sacrifice everything for it, was remarkable.

After all, a dancer needs to dance.

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