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Olivia's hidden talents

Published on Thursday 12 December, 2013

Not only are our dancers dedicated performers but many of our company have hidden talents and Olivia Holland is one of them. Last week I discovered that not only is she a talented ballet artist but also a talented photographer and painter. So I caught up with Olivia to get the full scoop. 

When did you start doing photography and painting?

I've always loved taking photos and creating artwork since a young age. I studied art at school right through to A Levels until I was 18 and when I started dancing professionally, I missed having that time for art. So I started to create more paintings and photos from my day to day life as a ballet dancer.

What inspires you?

I love looking at other dance photography and finding photos that you don't typically see of ballet dancers, like behind the scenes. I also enjoy painting for other people, whether it for birthdays or a painting of them dancing, I like to give it to them and build up a collection of what I've painted.

Has there been anyone who has influenced your artwork?

When I met the artist, Lesley Fotherby, she inspired me to keep up my paintings and gave me encouragment that developed my own style to paint more of ballet dancers. I also found a book in Paris which showed photos of the dancers in Paris Opera Ballet  in ways you don't often see them, like backstage and different views from the wings. I found this really fascinating and it influenced me to take more photos in a similar style.

How do you fit it around your busy dance schedule and being on tour?

Actually I do more paintings when I'm on tour, because even on long train journeys, I like to make use of the time. I've become very adaptable and just carry around a watercolour pallet and small pencil case, so I can paint anywhere! 

Do you think it is important to have another form of expression or outlet than dance?

Yes definitely, or at least find other things you're interested in, because it keeps you inspired and develops more of your skills.  I like to have something else to work on and it feels good to create another painting or capture a great photo.


Some lovely artwork from Olivia and a big thanks to her for sharing them. You can see more of her artwork at Ballet Dancers Guide  and can see her dance in Cinderella at Leeds Grand Theatre from 17 December 2013 - 4 January 2014.


Communications Officer: PR and digital media

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.