Becoming a principal dancer for one of the best ballet companies in the world requires great dedication and commitment. Natascha Mair tells us how this journey has been for her and what she would say to those girls who want to follow her steps.
Natascha was born in Vienna, Austria. At the age of seven, she began her dance studies at the Vienna State Opera. In 2012, she graduated from high school and passed her ballet diploma exam at seventeen years old. Then, Natascha joined the Vienna State Ballet for the 2012/13 season and the same year she was awarded the Jury Prize at the International Ballet School Competition in Beijing and won the first prize in the Premio Roma Danza.
In 2014, she was promoted to demi-soloist and two years later to soloist. In December 2018, the director of the Vienna State Ballet, Manuel Legris, promoted Natascha to first soloist after her performance of Rudolf Nureyev's The Nutcracker at the Vienna State Opera House.
Her most recent achievement was in 2020 when Natascha left the Vienna State Ballet to be named principal dancer of the prestigious English National Ballet.
Photo by Nikisha Fogo
At Mara, we had the opportunity of exclusively interviewing Natascha to get to know her a little closer and listen to her how this journey has been for her in this beautiful art.
How did you start dancing? Has becoming a professional dancer been your dream since you were a child?
"I started at 5 years old. It was the wish of my parents that my brother and I do some sort of movement. After trying ballet, I switched for a bit to inline skating because that's what my older brother did. But I missed ballet so much that very soon I started dancing again. Since then, I’ve never stopped and it slowly turned into my dream."
Who have been or are currently the dancers that have inspired you?
"There are so many, I can't name one. I am very lucky to be surrounded and work with great inspirations and stars of the ballet world!"
Tell us about your new role as a principal dancer in the English National Ballet. Did you imagine becoming a principal dancer at such a young age?
"I never imagined it. I just kept working. I have never felt better than anyone, and still take inspiration and lessons from every dancer, no matter what status they have. I feel very lucky and happy to be a principal but it doesn't change my mindset."
What do you think it takes to become a professional dancer? What have been the most difficult challenges and sacrifices in your career?
"It is important to stay motivated, no matter what. It can be difficult to see friends, enjoy free time, and have longer holidays. Even on holidays, I stress a lot about getting out of shape. It is definitely a sacrifice and a constant struggle of wanting to be better. It takes a lot of commitment but it is definitely worth it!"
What does Natascha enjoy doing during her free time?
"Spending time with friends and family, going on hikes, painting, shopping, and traveling. Enjoying my life and learning more about the world or people, wherever I can."
What would you say to the girls who follow you and are inspired by you and your remarkable career?
"Stay strong. Don't compare yourself with others, just learn from others. Value yourself and find your own ways of happiness. Never give up, and never let anyone push you down!"
Natascha is definitive proof of commitment, hard work, and humility. Talking to her has been a pleasure for us and we hope these words inspire many of the dancers who follow us from all around the world. Thank you Natascha, we wish you the best in your career and the next achievements to come.
Cover photo by Younsik Kim
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