Australian dancer Meg Honey Parry arrived in Montreal last August, along with the other new Grands Ballets’ dancers... and she dreamt of a white winter. Well, winter is served! Is it anything like she expected? (It's probably whiter!) We asked her a few questions.
Mag GB: How is winter in Australia?
MHP: Winter in Australia doesn’t really get below 0 degrees Celcius. I used to think it was cold if it was 5 degrees and I would get all wrapped up in a scarf and beanie! Winter is also a lot shorter, from around May until August or September, and in Australia it only snows in very remote areas. Most people don’t ever see the snow unless they travel to those areas.
Mag GB: What does winter change to your life, as a dancer?
MHP: Winter is challenging for a dancer in many ways. On the one hand, the cold actually helps reduce the swelling in our joints, especially for the women who wear pointe shoes! But on the other hand, it makes your muscles more tense and shorter than usual, which makes warming up and stretching more difficult. And, well, if you slip on the ice and injure yourself, that means you can’t train. Warming up is essential throughout the entire day to make sure you are always ready for rehearsals.
And I’m not sure it would be possible to perform outside in the snow, mainly because our shoes would get wet and soft, and the type of clothing we would have to wear to keep warm doesn’t really make it possible to dance! But it’s still so exciting for me to see snow... I’d definitely try dancing in it!
Mag GB: What advice would you give to a dancer who just arrived in Quebec and experiences winter for the first time?
MHP: DRESS PROPERLY! Gloves, thermal socks, scarves, a beanie and a very good jacket... Your body is your tool and you can never keep it too warm and protected. And watch out for ice patches! I’ve only fallen couple of times, but it’s still a painful experience. And last but not least, go and dance in the snow (carefully) because it really is magical!
Mag GB: What is your favourite thing about canadian winter?
MHP: Definitely the snow! There is so much more of it than I ever could have imagined. I feel like a little kid everytime it snows; I go and stand outside just to feel it. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen.
Mag GB: What’s on you winter bucket list?
MHP: My winter bucket list is huge! Skiing, sledding, ice skating, just to name a few, but I want to try everything! I have already made a snow man and a snow angel and that was the most fun I’ve had in years!
Collected by Jean-Simon Laperle