I recently had an opportunity to ask Iris Koelewijn some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Iris is a phenomenal dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and grace. Her love for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
When I was 6, so 14 years ago
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I dance and teach at Gelderse Balletscholen in Ermelo, The Netherlands associated with the Royal Academy of Dance
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I got on pointe when I was 11, so 9 years ago
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
At the moment I wear Bloch Eurostretch Synthesis
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
My mother also danced when she was younger and I always loved all the Barbie movies where there was ballet involved. My grandma always played classical music in her house which made me love the music. When I was 6, I got the choice to choose a sport or hobby and I wanted to go to ballet classes
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
I love all the Kitri variations and the Pharao’s Daughter variation
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
I don’t want to get into a company as I want to become a certified RAD teacher
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
My favorite memory is when I got the leading role of Kitri in our performance of Don Quichot in 2017
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
I really love Marianela Nunez, she inspires me so much and is one of the best ballerinas in my opinion
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
To always believe in yourself, even when you feel like giving up
Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?
Don’t be so harsh in yourself, you can’t do anything perfectly. I am such a perfectionist, and I was very insecure when I was younger. I would tell myself that everything will work out eventually and to never give up
Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?
The feeling I get when dancing and teaching, you get consumed by it, and don’t have to think about anything else. It feels like flying
Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?
That sometimes you feel like you’re not improving anymore. Sometimes steps or exercises that I could easily do last year, I can’t do know. You change, your body changes and especially after quarantine and not fully dancing for a half year, it is really hard to get back in shape
Q14: It seems like such hard work, did you ever have days growing up where you were like “ugh maybe I’ll just pick an easier career so I can be like a normal teenager”?
Of course! It was hard to struggle school and ballet. When I got home from school, I was too tired to do homework and I just wanted to go to ballet. So I went to ballet class after school and woke up extra early the next morning to learn or do my homework
Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?
Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?
Once I injured my hamstring. I went into the split without warming up. A really bad idea🙂
Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
When I’m not dancing or teaching, I like to meet up with my friends. I can’t see them during the week but only in the weekends because of my schedule. So I love to hang out with them and catch up.