Life at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy
Admittedly, this news is a little dated as I actually managed, with three friends, to carry out this previously seemingly impossible venture two weeks ago. Consequently, with various events taking place over that time (such as a close friend leaving and checking out how best to buy tickets for the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral so we can plan for a future trip), I’ve only just managed to type up the incredible experience!
We had to queue up in the snow and I couldn’t feel my feet but it was definitely worth it! It seems as though three really is the lucky number as, not only did we manage to acquire seats for the Main Stage at the Bolshoi Theatre, but Svetlana Zakharova herself was dancing the part of Odette/Odile in that performance of Swan Lake – we couldn’t believe our luck!
It seems odd to say, but watching the performance made me appreciate pure, classical ballet so much more; I have previously viewed the classical ballets as slightly dated that, creatively, aren’t taken too seriously. However, after watching the Bolshoi, I realised that I had finally seen ballet as it is supposed to be seen- exquisite, flawless and spell-binding. The lines were so clean that every position was like a tableau; so clear and precise that I was able to appreciate the choreography and understand the genius of such classical choreography.
We were so excited when Svetlana made her appearance – my friend hit me quite aggressively as the swans were revealed from behind misty veils. She was so graceful and elegant; her dancing matching the movement of a swan’s uncannily. However, the standard of every dancer was so high that it was hard to know who to watch! The corps were mesmerising- something that I find impressive as it is usually the showy pas de deux or solo that captures your attention. Every single princess from the beginning of the second act performed a solo you couldn’t find fault with.
I was also struck by how ‘professional’ the whole performance was, which seems a silly comment to make seeing as all ballet companies are professional, yet I felt that everything was just so well thought through. The costumes weren’t the usual mismatch of too many ideas cluttering up the stage, rather every detail was part of a whole vision that included the set design and props as well.
As for the Bolshoi Theatre itself, it was the most majestic and regal looking theatre I’ve ever been in; the colour scheme being red and gold with real chairs not seats attached to the floor like most places.
The whole experience was amazing and I’ll certainly never forget it! I don’t know if any other company will ever live up to that performance for me…