'I love Sheffield because there's a really strong community spirt here'

Anna Olejnicki is the artistic director at Hype Dance Company, which she established 15 years ago.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 5th July 2019, 6:09 am
Anna Olejnicki is the Artistic Director at Hype Dance Company and also the pioneer of the Sheffield Fashion Network. Photo by Benjamin George.

She also pioneered the Sheffield Fashion Network, and has a degree in fashion and fashion promotion from the University of Huddersfield. Anna has also previously worked as a model and in retail stores herself.

She said: “Fashion and dance are about the visual – and there are so many parallels. Fashion has always been in my life – along with leotards and legwarmers.”

Anna has lived in Sheffield for 18 years.

Sheffield spirit

There's a really community spirit here, people are very warm and friendly. I used to travel on the tram a lot and you could always strike up a conversation with someone new. You feel like you belong in Sheffield. People aren’t afraid to talk to each other and share their experiences; they want to help each other. If you take the time to chat to people you will find out about them. I'm really interested in people, their stories and worlds that aren't my world.

Good quality of living

Some of the professional dancers who I know came up from London and they couldn’t believe how cheap it was to buy fruit and vegetables from the Moor Market. I also love Sheffield because it has incredible transport links. It’s easy for me to get back home to Doncaster, but also and down to London and to across to Manchester for work.

Proove Italian restaurant, Fulwood Road

This is one of my favourite restaurants, it’s a really good authentic Italian. My partner, Leno, is from Napoli so if we have Italian food he wants it to be authentic. This restaurant, with its wood fire oven, gets his seal of approval. I always have the verdure pizza, which is a vegetarian, and Leno usually has a margherita because that's the traditional street food of Italy.

Open spaces

Sheffield is a great green city and, not only that, in 15 minutes you can be in the Peak District too. I wasn’t born here, but it was always a special place to visit too, even when I was a child. It was different, but not too overwhelming.

Makers and creators

We are a strong city of makers and creators. Everyone quietly gets on with their own thing. They are trying to create something and give back to Sheffield, they have a great entrepreneurial spirit. There’s lots of creative practice here, but it’s unassumed. Everyone is so humble.

Sheffield Theatres

The Crucible is still the largest producing theatre outside of London and that’s amazing. The Lyceum brings incredible touring productions too. Tudor Square itself is amazing too, it feels really special with the Winter Gardens overlooking it too; it;’s a fantastic space.

Kelham Island

Kelham Island reminds me of Brooklyn in America. I remember being over there with a friend doing work on laptops in lots of lovely cafes and coffee shops. You can do that in Kelham Island, you go somewhere beautiful and independent to work or enjoy a nice lunch. The speed of growth in Kelham Island is amazing and it’s really exciting.

The Hype Dance Studios

We get so many people and so many walks of lives who come to the studio; whether that’s pupils from different schools or adults with different jobs. People from all over come together through a love of dance and there’s something special about that. The dance studios offer an environment where everyone is equal, no matter where they have come from or how long they have been dancing.

Art

Art is about creating things and making something, whether it’s a nice or thought provoking piece. I think Sheffield Creative Guild was a great addition to the city because it pulled so many people together, and up until then we didn’t realise how many artistic people were out there. Sheffield proves that you can make it in the north and it's not all about going down south. I’m very proud to have a northern accent.