FIVE QUESTIONS FOR SEBASTIAN ABARBANELL

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Image: César Brodermann

Sebastian graduated from Trinity Laban with a BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance in 2015. After graduating, he spent a year apprenticing with the New York City based company Gallim Dance. He recently signed a two year contract with Sidra Bell Dance New York, who are currently working on the creation of a large production titled ‘Mönster Outside’.  Following its premiere in November 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the company will tour the piece internationally.

What are you finding the most challenging and the most enjoyable when working with Sidra Bell Dance New York?

Sidra Bell has worked with highly accomplished dancers in the international dance community who have originated roles in her pieces. It is a big challenge for me to take on the roles of these dancers when learning the company’s repertory as you want to honour the iconic nature of the pieces while still delivering an authentic performance.

The work with Sidra Bell is extremely collaborative. In a creative process she depends highly on our creative input and interpretation of the physical or verbal information she is giving us. It is a wonderful experience to feel so trusted and valued as an individual artist in a rehearsal and being surrounded by incredibly talented, skilled and intriguing dancers.

What were the most valuable things you learnt during your time at Trinity Laban?

Studying at Trinity Laban, you get the opportunity to develop an individual artistic voice. You are able to take responsibility for your personal needs that are appropriate to your goals as a dancer in the professional world. Those qualities are incredibly important and valuable when aspiring to become a dancer in a company like SBDNY, where your individuality and creative input are essential to the work. It also teaches you early on to not depend too much on what others think is best for you but to take what you need and leave what you don’t.

How does the dance scene differ in New York to London?

The dance scenes in New York and London are very different. London has much more accessible and cheaper professional classes for dancers. Classes in New York are very expensive. In New York, however, a lot of companies open up their company classes to the public – for which you also have to pay though. In general, it is harder for freelancers to survive in NYC, even if there are a lot of opportunities. Firstly, there are A LOT of dancers in NYC, and secondly, there is no government funding for arts – which makes me value the Arts Council in England so much more. Even established companies are constantly struggling financially since they survive on private donations and grants.

What’s next for you?

I signed a two year contract with Sidra Bell Dance New York so I will definitely stay with them for that time and maybe longer. After that I am not sure what’s going to happen but I definitely like the work as a company dancer and working with Sidra Bell and in New York certainly provides you with a very good network of contacts. I can imagine that I will come back to Europe eventually but it depends on the opportunities that open up for me here or in Europe.

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring dancers?

Put yourself out there, show yourself, talk to people, and attend workshops and classes. One institution can’t possibly give you everything you need and want. At the same time, make use of your training as much as you can, take what you can and be responsible for your own development.

But most importantly, love what you do and VALUE YOUR ART! Dance is a profession that you are entitled to be compensated for. Don’t let people take you for granted because they ‘provide you with an opportunity’. They need you just as much as you need them, and you should be paid for your work.

Don’t let that take away your passion and love for it though!

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Image: César Brodermann

To find out more about Sidra Bell Dance New York, visit their website.

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR