Lights Out. Curtain Calls.

Ballet has been the focal point in my life for the past 24 years.  I always said that I would dance as long as it still makes me happy but I never anticipated being confronted with such discordant emotions at this stage of my career. 

After 10 incredible years at Wiener Staatsballett, I have taken the difficult decision to resign and explore other interests and passions in my life. As much as there is a life on stage, there is also a life off stage; and I am ready and excited in anticipation of a new chapter.

A chronic hamstring injury was a further catalyst for my decision; perhaps my body’s attempt to communicate with me and help me move forward. This physical art form comes with a lot of physical pain, psychological suffering, and draining anxiety.  However, I will only remember the happiness it brought, immeasurable opportunities, unforgettable experiences, and the indescribable feeling of being on stage.  I have also been blessed to share the stage and studio with some of the most inspiring people and have made friendships for life.  

As I am quite the Formula 1 racing fan, I want to reference  Sebastian Vettel‘s retirement statement: 

“Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity. I very much believe in identity: by who we are and how we treat others, rather than what we do.”

Sebastian Vettel

He goes on by listing his personality, qualities, likes and dislikes; everything he and who he is off the racing track. 

Who am I? I am Suzan. (not Susan) South African at heart and adopted in Vienna. I am curious and inquisitive and impatient. I have a great, sometimes dark, sense of humour and I enjoy a modest dose of sarcasm.  My Spotify playlists range from meditation music to hard Techno and I am a very talented shower singer. I have a tiny Yorkshire terrier who is too cute to handle and I am terrible at keeping plants alive.  I drink my coffee black, my wine red and my whiskey on the rocks.  I enjoy training at the ballet barre, the weightlifting barre and on my yoga mat. 

I quote F.R.I.E.N.D.S too much and I laugh at my own jokes. I am a ‘look at the moon and the stars- kinda -of person. I always have a book on the go, and naïvely hope that self-help books will give me all the answers, (alternatively I dye my hair pink.) I can be annoying and stubborn, but I am empathetic and I am always optimistic. 

I have danced for as long as I can remember. But that’s not who I am. Dancing will always remain a passion very dear to my heart and soul. My career has not evolved exactly as my 4year old self envisioned it and I did not have the opportunity to dance my ‘dream roles’ but my dreams have naturally shifted and adjusted with the ebb and flow of life.  I also realized that perhaps they are not my ‘roles’ to dance and perhaps my ‘role’ does not have to be expressed onstage.  Nevertheless, I am so proud of what I have achieved and the work and performances that I have delivered. At the end of the day, the moments I had on stage (the good, the bad and the falling down) were for me to remember and they are the moments that I will cherish forever. 

I want to say Thank You, to every teacher and every person who helped and supported me throughout my career, the people who believed in me when I didn’t, and who cheered for me when I needed a voice louder than my own. 

Thank you for having me, it has been a dream. Xx 

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