Life at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy
I think it’s fair to say that summer is definitely over now; both in terms of the weather and the way that things have picked up with my ballet training here in Moscow. I was extremely glad to return at the end of August and ready to hit second course running; arguably the hardest year of the three courses in the diploma programme. It’s my third year here at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy!
It was really lovely to see my friends again and to see my teachers from last year (all are the same except I have a new character teacher). We weren’t given long to settle into our new routines as my ballet teacher, Revich, has been giving us pretty tough classes immediately we started back, inundating us with new material from the second course syllabus. Not only has training been hard technically, Revich has also been keen to rehearse variations with us. So far we’ve worked on Bluebird from Sleeping Beauty, Dulcinea from the dream sequence in Don Quixote, the first Paquita pas de trois and the Giselle first act solo.
In addition, by the second week, rehearsals had already started for the Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s performance of La Fille Mal Guardée. I’ve been lucky enough to rehearse the friends part with the famously strict Tatiana Alexandrova Galtseva which I’m really enjoying. There are two soloist parts and four other girls that make up the friends and I’ve been dancing the part of one of those four girls. The friends dance most of the first act; there’s a main entrance and a secondary entrance followed by a polka from which the friends stay on until the end of the act. It’s during the polka that the hardest moment occurs; 16 entrechat-quatre followed by four echappé battus which flow into a port de bras and then a balance on pointe where we all hold hands with each other and developpé our legs several times backwards and forwards. After jumping so much it takes real effort to control and balance so acutely for so long!
Alongside classes and rehearsals, we were also fortunate to participate in a master class with the Canadian choreographer, Aszure Barton, who has created works for many famous companies and dancers all over the world. The piece that she and her colleague taught us was a very different kind of contemporary that I’ve not learned before so it was quite refreshing. At the end, all the English speakers stayed behind to chat to them which was obviously a great learning experience.
Despite all the hard work we’ve been doing, the first week we did get chance to celebrate Moscow Day which fell on the first Saturday in September – and, therefore, was a day off for us. My room-mates and I spent the day in the centre where there were huge amounts of people and various celebrations going on, one of which was an opportunity to receive free Lindt chocolates! The catch? You had to sing for them. I will admit that we sang the same song to three different chocolate-givers in order to capitalise on the free chocolate!
We finish very late on a Saturday now but still try and make sure that there’s time to go for our usual meal at Jaggernath and I’ve tried to see as much of the city as I can in my free time – few and far between though it is. So that’s it for now – I’ll post again soon with the portfolio photos I had taken during the summer.