Ten years ago, Alina Fejzo came from Italy to Rotterdam to study choreography at Codarts Rotterdam: ‘Actually, I was a student of architecture, but I had been dancing all my life too. I gave the dancing one last chance; I allowed myself an audition at Codarts, and if it didn’t work out, I would stick with my study, but if it did, it would change my life, and that is what happened. I entered the city for the first time by crossing the Van Brienenoordbrug in the dead of night. I took one look at the skyline and fell head over heels in love with the city.

I come from a small village, so Rotterdam seemed huge to me. That impression has changed now of course; every city quarter is a village in itself, and that is why it is so good to come home here. When I first arrived here, Rotterdam really was just one big building site; I saw the city change gradually. The upshot is that I stayed on here after my study because I fell in love with a Dutchman, to whom I am now married. But I think that even if I hadn’t met him I would still stick to the city as my home base. This really is my stomping ground, and I feel I can always come back here’.

Fejzo has the feeling that in Rotterdam she can be the person she wants to be 100%: ‘That is the best feeling in the world. I come from a village where everybody knows one another, and knows what you are doing. In Rotterdam they don’t mind if you go to the supermarket in your pyjamas. Rotterdam embraces diversity, which inspires me in my daily life but also in my work. The character of the city is eccentric. Now that my dancing activities are restricted due to the coronavirus, I go for a walk every day and I take my camera with me. There are interesting gems everywhere, and there is graffiti and architecture – such a multitude of lovely surprises’.

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