The girl from Brazil to the ballet dancer in Vienna.
The girl from Brazil to the ballet dancer in Vienna
“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
― Tom Stoppard,
Only last week I came across this beautiful quote and I think we can all relate with this at some stage in our lives. Reading this made me think of a girl from Brazil, who had to deal with so much adversity in a short space of time and with so much positive energy and a wonderful spirit made her entrance in a new beginning and a whole new career. This is most inspiring to not just dancers but anyone who took the exit and entered the somewhere else.
Rafaella’s story begins when she was the shy little 4 year old girl, whose mum decided to take her to her first ballet class. This is where the young Rafaella discovered a world of music and movement. Not too eager at first, Rafaella remember how she used to sit, fully dressed in her ballet uniform, on the floor, watching the others dance. It was only after months that she picked up the courage and joined the class.
The shyness disappeared and a young Rafaella discovered that this was what she loved to do and there was nothing going to stop her now. She took part in competitions, attended summer schools and worked hard to achieve her goals. She was not alone as her family supported her all the way.
It was due to all the sacrifice and hard work that Rafaella, at the age of 14 years old, was offered a scholarship to the Vienna State Opera Ballet School for 6 months. It was not the easiest time for her and her mum as they had to adjust to a new country, different language, different culture and of course the weather. Rafaella missed home. But this girl was not going to give up. Her goal was to work hard and improve.
She did not only stay 6 months but ended up staying 4 years and graduated from the Ballet School and in 2004 she received a contract with the Wiener Staatsballett. For the 13 years that Rafaella worked as a professional dancer at the Wiener Staatsballett, she had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Renato Zanella as well as Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort, András Lukács' Duo, Stephan Thoss‘ Blaubart (in the role of the mother of Blaubart), Patrick de Bana and William Forsythe's The Second Detail. Also works by Helen Pickett, Roland Petit, Andrey Kaydanovskiy, Jorma Elo, Natalia Horecna and Balanchine. During this time she also worked under directorship of Renato Zanella, Gyula Harangozó and Manuel Legris being part of great ballet productions.
It was in 2015, during a performance on stage, that the most unfortunate incident happened that every dancer dread. Rafaella had an injury that required surgery. She was devastated. It was a long road to recovery with a lot of physiotherapy and hard work to try and get back to full physical strength. But unfortunately the injury was worse that she expected and this meant that she came before a very big decision to make: Was this door to be closed? The end of her career as a professional ballet dancer. Any ballet dancer will understand what a difficult time this was for Rafaella. This was her life, her dream. It was what she has worked for since a very young age.
There was no way Rafaella would give up. As this door closed, she entered a whole new world. With all her knowledge and passion for ballet and dance, she could now teach and inspire and motivate young dancers. Girls and boys who, just like her have the passion to dance, to be on stage and who love the art of Ballet.
It is with the same positive energy and great spirit of the girl from Brazil, that Rafaella now approaches a new beginning and a new career that she is creating for herself.
Rafaella, I wish you all the very best with everything you are hoping to achieve. It has been such a great pleasure working with you and I admire how you approach everything you do with so much enthusiasm and professionalism. I am sure that not only with your knowledge and experience, but with your drive and strength in character, you will be an inspiration to many dancers. May all your dreams come true.
“Life is an affair of mystery; shared with companions of music, dance and poetry.”
― Shah Asad Rizvi
For the styling of Rafaella's photoshoot, I wanted to show her as the passionate ballet dancer and also make the link to her new career and new venture. It was also important to capture her not only as the dancer, but also the performer and to show the lovely personality and the vibrant character.
“Now, as we close one chapter, the pen is gradually inking up, preparing itself to write the next.”
― Mie Hansson
Photshoot Styling: Petra Style and Design
Many thanks to:
Photographer: Dimo Dimov
Hair and Make-up: Birgit Zehetner