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From Plato to pointe shoes

By Penelope Karaolis Dec 9, 2014
Photograph by Maria Kaffa

“Dance has always been my passion but it has always felt like an unrealistic dream that I would never pursue.”

Kingston University student Anya Bojic was one of the thousands of teenage Cypriots who were raised to believe that when it comes to career choice, there are only two pathways.

The first is to become a lawyer, a doctor or a mechanical engineer and  make your family, your family’s neighbours, your neighbour’s friends and your neighbour’s friends’ cousins proud.

The second pathway is to become an artist, an actor, a dancer, a fashion designer or a photographer and make your family, your family’s neighbours, your neighbour’s friends and your neighbour’s friends’ cousins wonder what went so, so wrong and  even question your sexual orientation.

Kingston University Dance student, Anya, 21, left Cyprus in 2012 to study law along with 98 per cent of the rest of the Cypriot teenage population. However, in 2013 Anya decided to choose the second pathway to a successful career.

Dance has always been my passion but it always felt like an unrealistic dream that I would never pursue. After completing a year of my law degree it became clear that I would not be happy if I did not do what I loved while I still had the opportunity,” Anya explained

“Having the option to use your passion as a career choice is extremely lucky.”


Photograph by Maria Kaffa
Photograph by Maria Kaffa

A dancer’s sacrifice

The price that the ballet and contemporary dance devotee has had to pay for ditching her Plato books and giving her pointe shoes a chance, is far from cheap:

“I have had two knee surgeries and I found recovering from them to be challenging. As my right leg had always been my strongest, it was hard to get back to the same level and to build up my confidence in my body.”

“It can be quite discouraging when your body hurts, and in my case there are times when I feel like my own body is giving up on me.”

“But on the other hand, this feeling can also be satisfying in the sense that you can physically feel how hard you’ve worked.”

Like every dancer, Anya has to be cautious with other sports in order to avoid hurting herself, even though she admits she would like to try different sports more freely without the worry of physical injuries bringing her dancing career to an end.

Dance training in no game. The KU student explained to The River that she has technique classes in the mornings, followed by  core modules in the afternoon and the Dance society  a few evenings in the week.

“It is usually quite an early start with practical sessions most mornings. While some days can be really full and I find myself at university most of the day, others are more relaxed.”

Hard work and dedication pays off in dance. You will probably not get it perfectly the first time it takes practice and do not give up, stick through the hard times and the outcome is extremely rewarding.”

Anya, a Swan Lake lover, realises that her choice of career is risky but insists she is not regretting it.

“No doubt it would be easier to have finished my law degree and find a job but it is not how I wish to live my life.

I want to enjoy what I do to make a living even if it means dealing with more uncertainty and competition. Even if things do not turn out exactly as I plan I will be satisfied to have tried and to have experienced what I have experienced through dedicating myself to dance”



Photograph by Maria Kaffa
Photograph by Maria Kaffa


The surprisingly mature young woman admits following her dreams and making everyone she loves and family to understand and support her was not easy.

“I was nervous that they would not agree with my decision as I know they considered it to be quite a big risk to take.

“My parents were worried when I told them that I wanted to change my degree to dance. But when they finally realised how important dance is for me they just told me I needed to be sure, but that I had their full support.
“I’m quite lucky because they just want me to be happy.”
Despite the hardships and completion a dancer may suffer, Anya is hopeful that she will be able to make a living whilst enjoying what she does without regrets.

“I hope to join a company either in London or abroad to gain some experience and eventually I aspire to open my own dance school and teach.”





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