Barbara Peyreyra


Barbara Peyreyra moved to Europe in 2001, when her native country Argentina to an economic and political crisis was subject. She made a detour via Amsterdam and Berlin before she settled in Brussels. She planned on staying only one month in Europe because of financial reasons, but after five years she is still there. Brussels turned out to be a better place for starting dancers than Amsterdam, where it was not easy to find a place to live. Life was also more expensive there and everybody seemed to be more on his own. In Brussels, it was much easier to get in contact with people or to share a house. She met a lot of foreign dancers there who were all just starting their career.

Peyreyra prefers “to make her own school”, as she calls it, choosing the classes and teachers she likes rather than doing a whole program in a school. She came to Europe because she wanted to move, study, meet people and explore the connections between dance and other art forms. She thinks it is important to accept that finding a job takes time. She sees how some arriving dancers are disappointed because they expect to find a job right away or cannot get a job in a big company. She knows many dancers who were very enthusiastic at the beginning but have given up their dream to become a dancer. Many people do not understand the life of a dancer, in which moving and traveling are inherent. A dancer has to go where there is work, which means changing places and friends all the time. That way of living is especially difficult, if not impossible, when there are kids involved.

Peyreyra feels part of a Brussels community because she knows a lot of people there: dancers, theater and circus people as well as Belgians who do not have any connection with the performance field. She is happy to be in Brussels and feels completely integrated and part of the culture. For one year and a half she was illegal in Belgium. Some companies did not want to engage her for a project because it was too much hassle to arrange the paper work. As a foreigner, she had to get a work permit for every single project she did, which was exhausting, given the short employment periods. Since her regularization, she has a work permit that she only needs to renew once a year. She feels that since she has her papers, she is being treated differently (for example in government institutions). She is also more at peace because she can concentrate on her own projects and has more possibilities to work.
She wished there would be more of an underground scene in Brussels: small places where (beginning) dancers can develop work. It is difficult to get a residency in Brussels, maybe because too much work is being created. She notices how it is sometimes easier to get residencies for people who have worked with “big names” than for people who are following an independent career like herself.

countryside – independent studies – big names – circus – small Argentinean community – traditional dance – dream of being a dancer – underground scene – spirit of the artist – frustration – energetic – 1,5 year illegal – completely integrated – ballet – part of the career – visual arts – learn to be neutral – 4 hours of teaching – reading


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