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Abby – Dancing the Story

Abby – Dancing the Story

To control your body like that in a way that inspires and entertains people is a gift.
Abby Newell

Abby Newell is the lady behind Dressage Queen Charlotte Dujardin. She’s is the one who created the superstar’s image and her success as a role model.

As long as HorseFolk grew in my mind I wanted to talk with Abby. I admired her sense for people as well as her business instinct. But I didn’t expect these very touching words and carefully thought. Feel with me – lets celebrate the International Women’s Day together with Abby.

About herself:

„I am definitely confident and driven to succeed in all that I do because at the core of everything, I know life is very precious and very short and I am always grateful for what I do and what I have.“

About business:

“Since I was very young, I was always fairly ambitious and in the early days wanted to work in the music business. But not for the glamour of it, I have always been interested in business itself and what we can achieve if we work together. I have never been nervous to approach people – be it for a job, or to have them as a contact. Growing my contact network was a goal of mine since my early twenties. I wanted to know who the decision makers were and how I could get to them. I like people, they fascinate me and I am intrigued by their backgrounds and what leads them to make the choices they do. I am also inspired by people and know the benefits of all working together towards a common goal.“

About her most famous client:

„Charlotte’s career management is a day to day job because she is a superstar and I am there to keep her as one. I work a lot and every day. Yes, I have a private life but I dont really separate the two because my company covers all the things in life that I love. So its a lifestyle over being a job. I will always be grateful to Charlotte that she backed me to manage her career and whilst its a lot of work, its been a journey that has made memories for a lifetime and worth every minute.“

About dreams:

„My parents always called me ‘the dreamer’. I was curious as a child and wanted to have a lot of knowledge on a lot of things. I was curious about countries, cultures and what made successful people successful which isn’t always wealth. I used to buy contact databases and read them back to back and I remember vividly writing to Disney when I was about 13 asking them to consider hiring me one day. We couldn’t believe it when I received a reply from Los Angeles and it drove me to learn about the entertainment business and those within it.“

About people:

„People watching has always been one of my favourite past times. You can learn a lot about people when you stop to observe them in various situations. Initially I wanted to be in law like a lot of my family but working in the music business ended up being what I targeted after University.

My goals today are to continue to grow my company. I want it to be a reputable agency for management ‘talent’ (athletes / artists) and a company that brands / agencies can come too for bespoke consultancy. I also want it to be international and its safe to say, my mind never sleeps. I am a very very energetic person and positive that there is a solution for most things.“

About equestrian sport:

“There are lots of things to say here but particularly that for the equine sports to move into the mainstream more and to receive more financial support from sponsors,  we have to be united in getting it there. We need to keep encouraging people to take up the sport and shed this elitism view that its just for the rich. Horses bring so much to peoples lives, friendship, healing, teamwork and we need to keep encouraging it. Professional sport has a whole host of challenges but Charlotte more than anyone has introduced dressage to a mainstream audience. She is the epitome of what you can achieve if you just work hard enough and has inspired a whole new generation.“

About dance:

„I love ballet and dance in general; they too are athletes and exhibit such grace. To control your body like that in a way that inspires and entertains people is a gift. It inspires me personally and I love beautiful images depicting that.“

About music:

„I mainly work from home and have always listened to music as I work and do so every day. It will always be film scores from composers such as James Horner, Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard who inspire me greatly. I feel very creative listening to their scores and empowered to achieve. I also listen to a lot of piano pieces from people like Ludovico Einaudi, Yiruma and Philip Wesley. I am happy listening to music and with my own thoughts. Its a powerful thing the imagination.“

About chances:

„I just think you have to try and find what inspires you, what you love and let it consume you. Let the precarious nature of life be your bedrock and be brave. We have to grab the chances, walk through the doors and experience all that we can. I have always said to myself, what is the story that I want to tell my grand children and then just start writing the story. I also don’t want be afraid of change, its can be a great thing and lets us know we’re alive. I meet so many people all the time and am inspired by so many and thats a wonderful thing.“

About mainstream:

„Its not so much insisting and yes a lot of people want it (equestrian sports, note) to stay elitist because then they can control it. Charlotte has shifted it more into the mainstream through her own story. She is the epitome of what can be achieved if you just focus and work hard. She hasn’t come from a wealthy background and entitlement and the media love her. She simply had a chance and she took it, working hard every day with a vision in mind of what she wanted to achieve. Thats the message we want to push into the mainstream and that any one can take up riding and give it a go.

The challenge Dressage faces is that the general public don’t know what they are watching on the television; the art of dressage being what you don’t see unlike Showjumping for example; a sport which the man on the street can guess that the horse shouldn’t knock the fences down. As dressage becomes more mainstream and the public learn the art of the sport, the TV networks will broadcast it more and with broadcast comes the bigger sponsors and the more investment into the sport. Dressage to music has helped this hugely and in the end, mainstream coverage can only be a good thing for everyone.“

About women:

„We are all, in some small way, afraid of what comes next especially with the pressures bestowed on a woman to ‘have it all’ but those times when you are afraid or doubting yourself is the greatest time to be brave. All we can ever do is try our best and be kind to those who are kind to us. Sometimes we need to look inward at what really truly matters to us and seek it. We need to not judge one another so harshly, because that is merely a reflection to the outside of what you are battling on the inside. Instead we should strive to find what we love and let it ruin us in the greatest possible way because life is so short and we have to remember that everyday and keep that at our core.

To the female riders who I represent, you all inspire me every day and I am very grateful that you have taken a chance on me to work with you on your careers. Its a journey and we will take the high and the lows and come out stronger from them. We will continue to be scared by our dreams because, only then, will we know they are big enough…

To Charlotte Dujardin who took a chance on me years ago; you have an incredible gift from above with horses and its a privilege to have been a part of the journey and I thank you for that. You deserve all that you have worked so hard for and the memories will last a lifetime. I look forward to all that comes next and all the new memories you are making for us all to enjoy.“


Andrea von Kerssenbrock on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 7th March 2016
Foto: © Karolina Miernik / Impuls Tanz 2016

ImPulsTanz – that’s performances, workshops, research projects and the soçial programme. Contemporary dance establishment meets the trendsetting productions of tomorrow, which have found their place at the festival’s [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series. Every year, ImPulsTanz workshops welcome thousands of participants, beginners and professionals, who use the opportunity to study the entire palette of dance with famous teachers.

ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival 2016
14 July to 14 August 2016