Saturday, November 15, 2014

More With Eugenie Skilnand

In the November 2014 issue of Viking, we feature ballet dancer Eugenie Skilnand. She has been a member of the Norwegian National Ballet since 2000. Here’s more from the interview.

Q: How did you get involved with ballet? 
A: My father’s work moved my family to a very isolated place in Finland when I was around 3 years old, and my mother put me in a ballet class to get me to meet other kids my age. I was so shy, I would refuse to come out from underneath the piano the whole class, but at home I would show my mother everything the other kids did.  Since then I just always had to dance!

Q: What has been your greatest achievement as a dancer? 
A: The call from my first director offering me a contract as an apprentice with the Norwegian National Ballet was a big moment. It was the start of my life as a professional dancer. Other highlights include the first time I saw my name on the cast list in a solo part as Clara in “The Nutcracker,” my first title role as Cinderella and my return to stage after giving birth to my daughter.

Q: What are your future career goals? 
A: I have about six more years dancing with the company before I retire. The shame about being a dancer is that the older I get, the better my self-esteem gets, which makes me a better dancer. However, the extreme physicality a dancer needs, decreases with age. But I continue to work hard, and so far I still feel that my body is strong enough to handle it. I hope for some more soulful moments on stage!

Q: What are some of your hobbies? 
A: I love to relax at home with my husband and baby. Of course now with my 15- month-old daughter, there is less relaxing that I would like at times, but she also gives me a lot of extra energy! The weekends when I am not performing is sacred family time.

Photo: Erik Berg

Anya Britzius is editor of Viking magazine. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and enjoys baking, reading and keeping up on modern Norwegian trends.

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