Where Are They Now?: 'TuTuMUCH' Star Alicja Buchowicz
Updated: Apr 11, 2020
Many young girls dream of being a principal dancer in a major ballet company, but the road to get there is filled with triumphs and tribulations. That’s the premise of a 2010 documentary called TuTuMUCH.
The film focuses on nine young dancers who are attending a four-week summer intensive at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. They are hoping to get an invite into the year-round professional program to begin their dreams of being a professional dancer.
The documentary originally started as a television series called Ballet Girls in Canada in 2006 and was eventually edited into a full-length documentary four years later. Dance Dish was able to catch up with three of the stars and find out what they are doing over a decade later.
More: Where Are They Now?: 'TuTuMUCH' Star Kayla Steinman
This is the second article in a three-part series featuring Alijca Buchowicz.
Alicja Buchowicz, the bright, vivacious 10-year-old in the documentary, compared going through the summer without dancing to “going through the summer without ice cream.” That love for dessert has carried the former dancer through her adult life. She’s now an entrepreneur with a thriving sweets business called Alicja’s Confections.
When Dance Dish caught up with her, she was busy in the kitchen prepping for a big event the following day.
Her journey into dance started early when her mom enrolled her in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.
“She wasn’t a crazy dance mom,” she laughs. “She’s just extremely supportive in anything I’ve wanted to do.”
It was at the audition for the summer program that Buchowicz was tapped for the docu-series.
“Of course, I liked to be in the front row because people always notice you,” she explains. “I think I was also picked [for the documentary] because my parents are immigrants and I come from the blood, sweat and tears of my parents moving to Canada from Poland. It’s a great story.”
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Cameras followed the young dancer throughout the summer, but it was evident that something wasn’t clicking with her teachers. Buchowicz was having a great time, but the school felt she was too much of a social butterfly.
“I always thought my personality made me a good dancer, but it ended up biting me in the butt,” she laughs.
That bubbly kid was sad to learn at the end of the summer that she was not accepted into the professional division.
“That was really hard. I remember getting annoyed with the cameras being around because it didn’t feel natural. At that moment, I tried with all my might not to cry when my mom said, ‘No.’” Buchowicz shares. “It felt like being told, ‘You know that awesome dream that you had? Yeah, it’s not going to work out.’ After they put away the cameras, I bawled for the rest of the day."
Even though she was crushed, Buchowicz didn’t stop dancing after that summer. She went to RWB’s intensive program, which was a step below the professional division. She was inspired by one of the teachers there, which made her seriously consider a career in teaching for a time.
Unfortunately, her body caught up with her and Buchowicz had to stop dancing due to nagging injuries.
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“I had to stop dancing because I had bad problems with my hips,” she says. “I had a large growth spurt and it put a lot of stress on my hips and knees when I was in a turned-out position.”
At the age of 15, she had to make the decision to keep on dancing and risk damaging her body further or quit dancing altogether. It was a hard choice, but she also realized that “school was taking a back seat, my social life was taking a back seat. More things became more important to me as I got older.”
Buchowicz constantly stayed busy though and got a job to keep herself active. After discovering sales jobs didn’t hold her interest, she found more creativity in working for a chocolate company. It inspired her to start her own confectionery business.
Even though she’s left the dance world behind, she is still recognized because of Ballet Girls and TuTuMUCH. And she still reminisces about her time at RWB school.
“As weird as it is, I have dreams about it,” she says. “I still to this day miss it. I love dance.”
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