SAS Talents: Dancing on air
Bjørn Wettre Holthe
Occupation: Flight attendant
Focus area: Long and short haul, A330/340 and B737
Early career: Professional dancer
Number of years at SAS: 2.5
When Bjørn Wettre Holthe travels around the world as a SAS flight attendant, passengers sometimes stop him to ask if they’ve met before. He smiles and says that they probably have – but in reality, they’ve more likely seen him on television. A trained dancer, Holthe is currently starring in Skal vi danse, the Norwegian version of the British television program Strictly Come Dancing. He also appeared in the show in 2006 and 2013.
“When they asked me if I wanted to do it again, I thought, ‘OK, I’ll try,’ even though I finished dancing professionally when I joined SAS. And now I’m having so much fun!”
While he’s not planning to abandon his work in the cabin, he’s grateful for the opportunity to put on his dancing shoes and leggings whenever possible.
“For me, dancing is a passion. I couldn’t live without it,” he says.
Holthe has danced since he was five years old. Gradually, the hobby he loved grew into a profession and for 14 years he made his living performing in theatres, television shows and large-scale events like the Eurovision Song Contest. He has especially fond memories from the production of West Side Story in Kristiansand in 2012, where he played Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks gang.
“We had a full orchestra with 45 musicians playing every night and we did Jerome Robbins’ original choreography. That was amazing.”
Just over two years ago, Holthe swapped his dance costume for a cabin crew uniform and began working as a flight attendant. As much as he loved dancing, having it as a full-time profession started to take its toll on him.
“As a dancer you’re always auditioning. You’re self-employed. I’ve always had work, but it’s hard work.”
These days, he combines his hours in the air with an active lifestyle on the ground, dancing or training in whichever city he finds himself.
“I like to work out outside, especially in cities like Bergen, Stockholm and Copenhagen. I pack my running shoes and go for a run or a hike, which is so nice when you’ve been in the plane all day.”
In many ways, he says, his two jobs are not that different from each other. Both require being in front of people, constantly watched and observed.
“Even on the plane, I feel like I’m on the stage a bit. And with the other crew members, we walk together, kind of dance together as a team,” he muses. “So I can use my background as a dancer in my work.”
During the series, Skal vi danse will require all of Holthe’s time with daily practices and a live televisionshow on Saturday evenings.
This time, he’s dancing with Trude Drevland, a retired politician and the former mayor of Bergen, who, at 70, is the oldest contestant in the history of the competition.
“She’s a diva, in a good way. Big hair, big sunglasses, big everything,” Holthe says, clearly fond of his new dancing partner.
After that, he’ll be returning to the skies.
“I’m very happy that SAS was able to give me some time off. But I’ll be back, as I love my work at SAS.”
Published: November 7, 2019