Born to an architect/theatre producer father and fashion designer mother, it's no surprise that Alexander Kolpin began dancing as a hobby at age 11 and was awarded the internationally acclaimed Prix Benois de la Danse for best male dancer (it's one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world) at the peak of his career as a ballet dancer. The Copenhagen-based dancer turned hotelier is also a father of three, and is effortlessly blending his love of design with his duties as a dad - lunch box planning, design meetings and office work simultaneously filling up his days...
His newest venture, Hotel Sanders, his stylish yet approachable passion project located in the heart of Copenhagen’s artistic district (The Royal Ballet’s stage door is just across the street), blends comfort with design seamlessly. “To make a hotel is the same as creating a performance. It’s just a longer duration and you are closer to your audience. I approach it my way and hope that we can offer a stay and time that has a different tonality than the conventional luxury hotels.” We caught up with Alexander to hear how he approaches fatherhood (“It made me aware that I am not the centre of the universe and to be connected to the essential aspect of being alive”), what makes his Hotel Sanders so special and how his own childhood has influenced both his work and family life. Photography: Helene Sandberg | Editor: Marisa Remond | Go to www.hotelsanders.com
How would you describe fatherhood in three words?
Love, responsibility, sharing.
What has fatherhood taught you so far?
To love unconditionally, to be frustrated and giving my life meaning. That I can have an impact and guide my children. And also to accept that I for some reason have to live with a constant bad conscience/fear of not doing things well enough, but finally accept and trust I do ‘me’ best after all. I treasure and enjoy being a part of them maturing and getting them ready to be independent and soulful individuals with a generous and positive approach to life.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
You are ok, chill out and please do not try to make everybody love you. And also find the balance of believing yourself without getting ahead of yourself.
Tell us about your career as a ballet dancer – when did you begin dancing and what are some of your most vivid memories of your days as a ballet dancer?
I first saw my sister dance ballet when I was 11. Immediately I fell in love with dance as it connected me to music, movement, aesthetics, power and theatre in one vocabulary. My teacher introduced me to The Royal Danish Ballet when I was 13, which was two years over the accepted admittance limit. They accepted me and then a journey started that has given me a tremendous education, career and moments that are hard to describe. A time working with unfolding stories, turning my body and sharing these stories and movements with great friends, colleagues, artist and audience that has allowed me to work all over the world for 20 years. It’s a privilege and has been a big part of defining who I am as an artist and as a man. I feel lucky to have been able to live off an element of life I can enjoy since it somehow comes down to sharing moments in time. And then I feel proud to be honoured with Benois De La Danse as “Best Dancer in The world”. Simply a primitive but reassuring sensation of recognition.