Organisatie - 28 juni 2018

‘Once you turn 30 you are a dinosaur’

Tessa Louwerens

Gut bacteria and ballroom dancing. These two themes have dominated the life of Klaudyna Borewicz in recent years. While doing her PhD research in Microbiology she took part in her last competition as a professional dancer. She would rather not give her age.

Klaudyna Aneta Borewicz graduated with a PhD on 13 June for her study on human gastrointestinal microbiota modulations with dietary prebiotics.

Proposition: 'There is a constant feeling of urgency in life of aging dancers'

‘I used to be a semi-professional ballet dancer and later on I became a dance teacher and danced ballroom professionally, while I was studying and working in the USA. I started dancing when I was about 14, which is very late as most dancers start at five and become professional at around 16. Because dancing is so physically demanding, most dancers retire t around 35. Hence the feeling of urgency to reach the top as soon as you can, because that gives you more career years. You want to do as much as possible before it’s too late.

Last year I danced my final ballroom competition and my dancing partner and I came 4th in the Blackpool Dance Festival, the most prestigious ballroom dance competition in the world. I had to travel a lot because my dancing partner lived in the UK. It meant all I did was work and dance. In the weeks before the competition we trained for six to seven hours per day. It was hard work combining that with my PhD thesis. On the other hand it’s easier than with another job, because it was up to me when I worked.

It is always a dilemma when to stop dancing competitively, because once you turn 30 you really are considered a dinosaur on the dance scene. There is a huge influx of younger people eager to step into your place. I decided to retire because think I have achieved the best I can and I wanted to leave the competitive scene on a good note.
Now I’m training to become a dance teacher and judge. This is something I can still combine with a day job. And it actually pays quite well. In the US, for example, dance teachers get paid a similar hourly rate as surgeons. My first teaching exams are just three weeks after my PhD defence, so I have to start preparing as soon as the defence is done.’