The Woman behind Ballet Without Borders, Katia Kullengren.
Published on 12/01/2018
Bloch is proud to support the not-for-profit organisation ‘Ballet Without Borders’ beginning with our Art en Pointe initiative. If you have missed out on hearing about Art en Pointe find out more here. We caught up with President and Founder Katia Kullengren and her inspiration behind Ballet Without Borders, her love of ballet and what she has in store for the future.
Thanks for your time today, Katia, are you able to tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Kiev, Ukraine and migrated to Australia in 1993 where I currently live in Sydney. I started dancing relatively late, at around 26 years old and sat my RAD Intermediate exam when I was 30 under the tutelage of Hilary Kaplan (Alegria Ballet Studios).
What or who inspired you to dance?
My dance teachers have been a source of inspiration. If it wasn’t for them believing in me I would have never sat my exam and pushed through to be the best dancer I could be.
Can you tell us about Ballet Without Borders and how it all came about?
When I was taking my RAD exam, I realized that this was an elite artform that many do not have access to. It occurred to me that perhaps part of the reason I didn’t dance as a child was because we didn’t have the financial means. My mother was retraining as a doctor and aside from not having the funds there was also no time for the support often required to attend dance classes, rehearsals etc.
I really want to give other children in similar situations an opportunity to participate in ballet. Ballet should be readily accessible, and all children should have an opportunity to experience a variety of art forms and not be confined by affordability. New experiences breed curiosity, fearlessness, open mindedness, all things for a happy and successful person.
How can people become part of Ballet Without Borders and become actively involved?
We are aiming to run our first pilot programs in the 2018 school holidays in the Greater Western Sydney Communities. The proceeds from the Art en Pointe initiative will assist in running these programs and sustaining them throughout the year and into the future. It has been so amazing to see the dance community come together through Art en Pointe and the creativity shown through this initiative has been positively outstanding.
We are always seeking new connections, sponsorships, advocates and stories and there are many opportunities to get involved. We would love to have a conversation, so anyone interested can drop us a line or give us a call (0410 668 655). We also have an official Facebook and Instagram so people can get connected and stay in touch with the progress we are making, spread the message and see how they can join the upcoming planned workshops.
What does dance mean to you?
Dancing makes me feel happy and inspired, it’s as simple and as complicated as that!
What Bloch pointe shoes do you wear?
Serenades! I feel like they were made for my foot.
What or who inspires you to push past your limits?
So many people inspire me every day! Mothers juggling careers and children, families migrating to other countries and against all odds becoming successful. People with disabilities living their dreams and pursuing their goals despite the obstacles.
What is your first memory of dance?
It was in Russia during our school dance class and we were learning traditional Ukrainian dancing.
What would surprise people about you?
I am pretty shy and I love the cold. Also like a Hobbit I have 2 breakfasts.
What is your favourite quote?
‘I am always learning’ - Ancora Imparo-Michelangelo.
Make sure to visit Ballet Without Borders for more information.
Bloch would like to thank Katia Kullengren for her time. All photo imagery courtesy of Ekaterina Kullengren.