Life at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy
One of the best things about living in Moscow is being able to celebrate two Easters every year; once to coincide with the one back home in the UK and once for the Orthodox Easter, celebrated here in Russia. This year the two Easters fell over consecutive weekends so I made sure I filled the fortnight with celebrating Easter to the full.
The first weekend I made a trip to the theatre with my friend, Sofia, to see a ballet that I’ve long been waiting to see, The Legend of Love. I can now confirm that it truly is my favourite ballet; it possesses a very particular style, namely one evocative of an ancient Persia, that it embodies from start to finish and explores exhaustively through the choreography, set designs, costumes and, above all, the absolutely brilliant music composed by Arif Melikov.
Maria Allash gave a fantastic performance as Queen Mekhmene Banu – so powerful and tormented. The other Principals performing that day were Timur Askerov (a guest from the Mariinsky) and Marianna Ryzhkina. I was simply mesmerised by the atmosphere that was created and hope to see this ballet many more times.
Before making our way to the theatre, Sofia and I, in preparation for Orthodox Easter the following weekend, treated ourselves to a traditional Russian Easter cake, called a Kulich, from Magnolia Bakery which was definitely the best one I’ve tried here so far! Another traditional part of the Easter celebration here is to decorate boiled eggs and give them as gifts – we are given them for breakfast at the Academy on Easter Sunday morning.
I always love this little touch as it really puts me in a festive mood and this particular Orthodox Easter, I was extremely looking forwards to meeting a British couple that live close by. I spent the day at their flat with my roommate, Carlota, eating a huge Easter meal and chatting with them and their friends until it became dark.
On the dance front, I’m working on lots of new variations including a modern choreography that I’m really excited about. I’ve really missed contemporary work since we completed our modern exam last year so this feels like a breath of fresh air, moving beyond the restrictions of the classical form we practise every day. Of course, the time is drawing closer to our end of year exams and my teachers for classical ballet, duet and character are fully focused on organising our exam work.
The last and biggest event of the month took place this last week; the third course exams were held over three days on the Academy stage. They are always extremely interesting to watch and this year was no different. I feel very privileged to watch and train in such close proximity with the future stars of the ballet world.
I’m both excited and apprehensive for May as the month kicks off with my Russian state exam which I’ve been preparing for in earnest these past few weeks. However, after that we have a little down time due to the May holidays here in Russia. This last week the weather has turned and decided that it is Spring, so I’m hoping May will bring the warm weather in in full force!