I first met Anja in Stuttgart when we both became founding members of Gauthier Dance. When she came to the company she was fresh out of the Hamburg Ballett and looking to do more contemporary work. She was beautiful to watch and really easy to work with. Anja is one of the hardest workers I know. It is like she never stopped. She worked her body and technique constantly. and when you see the photos you will see the benefits in her beautiful body and lines. I remember she even taught Pilates to the company on Wednesday mornings. I loved it! She was one of the best examples of a hard working, no drama, artists. I aspire to have her calm and focus in the studio… I am still working on it. When Anja left the company two years later her improvement was huge! She was a star.
Anja Behrend studied dance at the East Berlin School of Classical Dance. After completing her studies, she was hired by John Neumeier at the Hamburg Ballet. Within this company, she performed the repertoire of the Choreographer-Director who gave her several solos and roles in Messiah, Nijinsky, Winterreise, Preludes CV, The Seagull, Death in Venice, Parzival, Little Mermaid. At the Hamburg Ballet, she also performed Jewels by George Balanchine, Forgotten Land by Jiri Kylian, Light Beeings and She Was Black by Mats Ek, La Bayadère by Natalia Makarova, VIII by Christopher Whelldon, Unerreichbare Orte by Jiri Bubenicek, Fragility of Verticality, Voices Intimae by Yarosloav Ivanenko.
In 2007 she joined Gauthier Dance, the resident dance company at the Theaterhaus Stuttgart, under the direction of Eric Gauthier. Here, she danced in Duo, a creation by William Forsythe, Susto by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Pression by Mauro Bigonzetti, What it is by Philip Taylor, Ball Passing by Charles Moulton, My Prelude by Emil Faski. In 2009 she joined the Ballets de Monte-Carlo directed by Jean-Christophe Maillot and appeared in some of the major roles in its repertoire: Romeo and Juliet, La Belle, Men’s Dance for Women, Scheherazade, Le Songe, Cinderella. She danced in the creation Opus 50 and performed the role of the white swan in LAC, a newly created choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot. At the Ballets de Monte-Carlo she has also danced the role of the young bridge in Les Noces by Jiri Kylian, in Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Writing Ground by Alonzo King, 7 to 8 and… by Shen Wei, Jack in the Box by Jeroen Verbruggen and The Rite of Spring by Maurice Béjart.
I start the new year with Anja, in hopes of sending her good energy to all of my readers. Thank you Anja for your inspiration.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to do what you’re doing now?
Yes, it was quiet early clear that I love dancing! I was always dancing at home. When I was 8 I joined a folk dance group in my little town and when I was 10 I left home to join a professional Ballet School in Berlin.
Your Favorite Things
Seaside, nature, skiing, painting, cooking, electronic and house music, traveling and yes dancing of course.
Favorite Things to eat?
I love almost everything.
Well in general am not a pasta, burger or fast food fan.
I love fresh stuff, some people always say I am a rabbit because I always need a salad and vegies… which usually gives a uncool impression but who cares I love it. And what will make my day in any case is a glass of red vine some olives or cheese… yes.
I am not a great reader. When I was small I went usually with my mum and my brother before the summer holidays in the Library to get some books for the summer. I remember asking her desperate “where are the books with pictures”. … but there are some I do read and love …like “The story of a murderer” from Patrick Süskind and the “The Prophet” from Khalil Gibran. Oscar Wild, Fromm, Brecht, Rainer Maria Rilke and….
I love Movies… I am just terrible to remember names… I love any movie with Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeifer “Lady Hawks”, “Scarface” Robert de Niro, “Pina” Wim Wenders, any movies of Quentin Tarantino and so much more…
Favorite Dance Piece or Show/Musical or both?
Its hard to choose there are so many shows I was so exited after watching… I will never forget the first big ballet I saw in Berlin when I was probably 12 years old, “Onegin” from Cranko, I was just so touched… I will never forget John Neumeiers “Kameliendame” and “Nutkracker”. Jiri Kylians “Petite Mort” and “Silent cry”. I love Jean Christophe Maillots “Romeo and Juliette”. When I saw LaLaLa Human Steps the first time. When I saw “In the middle” from Forsythe with Alicia Amatriain and Friedemann Vogel. From Stephan Thoss “Bolero”. From Hofesh Shechter “Political Mother”. Pina Bausch “Fensterputzer”. And just a while ago I was so impressed by the Belgium Compania Ultima Vez “What the body does not remember” and ….. also 42nd Street in New York I liked a lot but I am not so into Musicals. Crazy Horse in Paris is also a great show.
I like dancers who…
…are physical and you can feel that they are living it and are 100% believing in what they are doing.
I am afraid of…
…loosing the people I love.
A dance piece should…
…touch me and drag me into it.
Something you like to do other than your current job?
I love being active and sports in general. That comes probably from the fact that before I started dancing I was an athlete, a long distance runner. So I find always something new to explore beside ballet. Gyrotonic is one of my favorite. So probably training people is what I would do…
One of the happiest moments in your life?
There are a lot. But for sure I need to mention when my brother got his first baby boy … Meeting the man I love… Getting my first engagement with 17 with the Hamburg ballet and… spending time with my family at there home in the countryside… when I danced the first time “La Belle” with the “Les ballets de Monte Carlo” and…
One of your most unusual or coolest experiences?
Taking kickboxing lessons with my boyfriend… trying to surf… going swimming in the pool with High heels… doing topless audition for Crazy Horse…
One of the most embarrassing moments in your professional career?
… in a performance in Dubai dancing Juliette I made it to die 4 counts too early before the big accent … I really wanted to kill myself
Who has been the most influential person/people in your life? or Career? and why?
My Parents, my brother and family… They are my heroes. My partner for every moment we live through. My modern dance teacher Tamar Ben Ami, without her I would have probably not finished the ballet school.
I am more than thankful for all the love I get!
One of the hardest things about your job?
That I face myself every day and fight against my comfort zone alone.
Something you would change in the DANCE world?
More money for dance and art in general.
Something you would change in the REAL world?
Safe the nature, stop corruption, stop killing each other… more love and respect instead.
Do you have any goals you still wish to achieve?
Yes of course… to have family … to open one day a studio for Gyrotonic… to participate to a Spartan Race and run a Marathon in New York… paint a lot… go skiing in Japan… and…
A piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Simple never stop.