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Posts Tagged ‘ballet’

Christmas is upon us and no doubt by the time you read this blog, it will all be over for another year!  The suspense and excitement of opening all my presents is killing me! I feel like a 5 year old again. All I can think about is being with my family on this joyous occasion and eating far too much food! And of course… the presents, I just can’t wait! I have had a lot of fun Christmas shopping in Russia this yea. Natalie, Heather, Dan and I found this beautiful shop filled with amazing Christmas decorations and I could have spent hours in there just gaping at the sheer works of art that are carved in every individual item they had on display. This sort of shop is what makes Christmas even more beautiful and special … and yes, I may have spent a few pennies more than I should have! This fantastic store also had a hand-carved box with an electrical presentation of the story of the nutcracker.  For those who are as interested in ballet as I am, can rest assured this piece of machinery was not only stunning to look at but was so sweet to listen to also, and very expensive… it certainly kept Daniel Dolan entertained which is always a plus when you take a boy shopping!

From there we had a little nosey in all of the designer shops within the complex and although the clothes were ridiculously priced, it was fun to pretend just for a moment that my mother’s credit card was an endless pot of gold and I could actually spend £200 on a cardigan! ( I can dream)… I managed to choose my mummy a little present for Christmas.  She requests a special little bauble from Russia every year, so I hope I have done her proud and she loves what I have chosen, and it will sit proudly alongside all of the other decorations on our tree. I have been a little naughty this year (more than usual) and told you all porky pies on my last blog!  If you are a regular reader to my blog you will know that I said I was arriving home on the 21st of December and I was absolutely ecstatic. Well, actually, I had really booked my flights for the 16th December and part of my blog was written to you all as I waited in London airport for my connecting flight to Glasgow! However, you are not the only ones I have told a little white lie to, most of my family and friends were under the exact same impression!  I was so looking forward to surprising them and seeing the look on their faces when I arrived at their houses.

I have to admit, though, I am glad Pinocchio is not a true story otherwise my nose would not have fitted on the plane! It was a lot of fun writing on my cousin and best friend’s wall on facebook items like “only 12 days left until I leave Russia for Scotland” when really I had my suitcase out and ready to leave for home. I have so many plans for when I am home and I really think I am mentally and physically needing this rest. I will still be doing ballet classes of course as I need to keep my body in training condition but it will be nice not to hear that alarm at 7 am and also know Natalie Igorovna Revich won’t be standing in my living room with her class of muscle exhaustion at the ready!

My ballet classes on my final week finished on a high note and I have been happy with my slow but none the less steady progress so far.  Revich gave me alot of corrections to think about over Christmas and I am really glad to have that peace of mind that she is paying attention to me in class and above all, that I am beginning to make an impression. She admitted to me  after my long injury-ridden break that she was very worried about me returning to the academy as she thought all of the Russian technique that she had taught me would have been forgotten, not on purpose, but as my body was so tuned into UK technique it was just so easy to fall back into old habits. However, after a lot of tears and hard work for not only me but her also I am getting there and she said she is happy with what she is seeing. She believes I have lost weight through the workload and is happy with how my body is changing and said there is no need to fret over weight issues now as my main priority is class and above all – improvement! I absolutely love Revich. She is one of the most caring and understanding women I have ever met. At our last ballet class, Natalie and I gave her a big bunch of flowers as a small thank you, but if I am honest, no present could really provide the true thanks that we feel towards her. We will be going back after Christmas feeling refreshed and ready to work our British behinds off to give her the exam class she requires and also expects from us. So wish us luck!

In our last week at the academy Natalie and I only had ballet class everyday and no academics!  This is because in order to leave the academy we have to hand in all the books we have taken out of the library, so there was no language class.  Our Narha teacher had to go home for personal reasons so I hope all is well for her and our acting teacher was ill so I hope she has a speedy recovery! I suppose it was nice for us to have the extra time to really get everything sorted and have last minute bits and bobs bought and thrown in the suitcases.  Poor Heather still had all of her dance classes on so she would come in gasping for water as Natalie and I looked on in our jammies (pyjamas) with a Christmas film playing… such good room mates we are eh? Sorry Heather! I am also pleased to report that I have managed to pass all my exams to date,  which is a great weight off my mind, but there is a long way to go and a lot of hard work faces us when we return… no resting on our laurels!

As I arrived home into all the chaos of Christmas cheer, it was time to get everything ready for my 18th birthday celebrations and also Christmas Day! My mum and I had to get my dress fitted and also organise the balloons and venue where I was having my party. It was very festive indeed and a great time was had by all! Thanks to everyone who were involved and managed to come along to be part of my 18th birthday bash. It was great to see old faces again! I love you all, but I was also so sorry to see my little Natalie couldn’t make it due to technical difficulties with her car, and since she lives in London it certainly is not a couple of miles away, so Natalie, Dan, Heather and I will just have to have our own little party when we return to Russia!

I do hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Spend time with all the people you love, after all that is what Christmas is all about!! Raise a glass  to a very successful 2012!  All the best from Scotland!

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Another month has come and gone and it’s scary to think that Santa’s big belly and white beard is almost peeking round the corner and that can only mean one thing… Christmas and home!

The Christmas countdown has begun and we are almost into single figures, which is a huge improvement from the “we only have 100 days to go ” that we started with! This routine may seem a tad unusual to many people who do not live away from home, as well as my family and friends, but I can promise you that this countdown most certainly keeps Miss Carter and myself sane. After counting many months of not having our families here with us, it gives us another focus other than constant dance and exams, and after many tedious weeks of hard work, sweat and tears, we can finally tick that last day in the calendar and it’s home!

As I had mentioned in my last blog the “Joffrey Company ” from Chicago came to the Academy and I was very privileged to be able to take part in one of their contemporary workshop days which was open to all of the students within the school. It was very busy indeed and hard to dance in the studio due to having so many students in a limited space, but it was a resounding success! They decided to choreograph a small piece, which was very neoclassical based and they provided all the students who are usually predominantly classically trained, a very modern twist into their dance routine. They are hoping to use this piece sometime in the not so distant future.

Unfortunately on this occasion I was not selected to take part but I took it as a very constructive learning experience and it also gave me a chance to work my body to its full potential. I found it very similar to how I previously used my body in Scotland, which was really nice for a change. However, I am pleased to say that my fellow Brit Daniel Dolan was chosen to perform in the piece and we are all very proud of him. Show them what us Brits are made of Dan!

The contemporary fun day was short-lived for many as it was back to our ballet-filled day a few hours later. For me, ballet has had many up and down days at the moment but no matter where you are in the ballet world, whether it is London, Scotland or Russia this will always be inevitable. I am very hard and critical on myself as a dancer and as a person and I always want to do and be better. I am my very own worst enemy! Every dancer aspires for perfection but for most, this dream will never happen. This is not because the person may not have as much drive as the next dancer or does not work as hard in class, usually is it to do with the make up of your body. Bones are set, unlike muscle which can be sculpted and changed, and it has taken me a very long time to accept this fact. I may not have a 180 degree turn out, or the physique of most Russian ballet dancers, but what I do have is the love and desire and commitment to be a success in my chosen career. Not every dancer will be Svetlana Zaharova or Natalie Osipova because if everyone was the same, the dance world would be very boring indeed! I have come to understand that an audience and teacher would much rather witness a dancer that does not have everything technically perfect, but one who has drive in their eyes and emotion in their body as they dance, and above all takes a small step every day towards their ideal. A step that little bit better… but not perfect!

Natalia Igornova Revich took me aside in class the other day after one of the worst classes I have had since returning to Russia. I could not contain my tears any longer and was so emotional because I knew I was capable of giving so much more! Her wise words and comfort has always meant the world to me and it was today, after pondering over her wise words, that my class was once again filled with laughter and a pirouette or two! My mum always taught me to allow myself time to let all my negative emotion go and the next day brush myself off and come back fighting harder than the previous days and that is what I always intend to do! I want all young aspiring dancers to think about these points, as I feel that if you can come to terms with the “flaws ” you see in your dancing or yourself as a person, you may find that they are what will make others love you and will make you, not break you. Be yourself and work to your own maximum, no one elses.

On a lighter note, I have had a very productive couple of weeks in Narha in preparation for our end of year exams. I know this may seem very early but believe me with the amount of dances we have to learn for this exam I should have started learning when I was 12 years old ha ha . I absolutely love this class because the teacher makes me feel so good and without even speaking, makes me want to work even harder in her class – which is very impressive indeed! Before class one day, an American girl called Precious Adams and I were messing about and I was showing her tap movements which I had been taught in my advanced 2 exam in Scotland. Little did I know my teacher was watching us from the door and after class she informed me that she now wants me to perform a tap solo in my Narha exam! Those who know me from Scotland can imagine how I reacted to this proposition as believe me, tap was not one of my strongest dance points in earlier training. However, I am very flattered by how Tatiana Petrova has seen so much potential in this part of my dance technique and has also had so much faith in my ability to perform my tap as an exam – but if she’s willing to choreograph a piece for me then I am more than willing to add a little “Frank Sinatra ” into the exam!

As I said before, it’s not long until I will be home in Bonnie Scotland and that thought brings such a rush of excitement. I cannot wait to see my family and friends and of course party in Glasgow for my 18th birthday bash! My poor mummy was under the impression that now I will have my own ID (identification, which you need to get when you’re 18 years old so you can access the night clubs ) she wouldn’t be seeing me at all during my time at home, but I am afraid she is stuck with me for as long as she can cope with, as I am dying for our own little movie nights together and a cheeky cuddle or two. I have missed her far too much over these past four months and it has probably been one of the hardest in terms of homesickness that I have had so far, but as soon as I step foot on Scottish soil all that will be forgotten. The Christmas and family period will have begun! Roll on the 21st of December!

Russian language classes have become even more intense and the work load is piling on but it is nothing Miss Carter and I can’t handle. Whilst Natalie learns most of the verbal exams in one night, her more challenged room mate has to start 3 days previous! However, I don’t care how long it takes me as I have been managing to pass all of my exams so far and I am very pleased with myself. Only 4 more exams to sit, then goodbye exams and hello relaxation for just a little over 3 weeks.

I will write another blog for you all just before I leave for home as I’m sure there will be a few funny Christmas shopping pictures for you to enjoy! Have a good week everyone.

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Another few weeks have come and gone at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and the way the months are passing so quickly is rather scary, not enough hours in the day to cram everything in that I need to learn, but on a high note it can only also mean one thing… Christmas holidays are approaching! These whirl wind weeks also include the fact that Natalie and I don’t finish till nearly 6 o’clock every night and half past 4 on a Saturday, so we don’t really have much of a weekend either to relax. These very long days and weeks are really taking their toll on my body and I feel l should invest in some matchsticks to hold my eyes open for me to attend my 8:45 ballet class. You really have to love Natalia Igorovnas’ (Revich) enthusiasm in the morning, she is so full of energy and if she had her way we would be half way through barre by 8am!

This week in acting we are focusing less on dramatic acting and more on how to input emotions into our dance movements and how to tell the story of a ballet without words. Mariana Mikhailovna (my teacher) has set us an exercise in our pairs in which one of us has to be a figure of the imagination trying to force a certain feeling onto the other human characters’ mind. Once again I was paired with my little Carts (Natalie) and we decided not to choreograph certain movements or positions but go for something a little more spontaneous. The final result was us creating a small contemporary rehearsed improvisation dance and our teacher loved it so much that at the end of class asked us if we liked to perform contemporary as we both work so well together. It also gave her an idea for our third course exams and while the rest of our class may be performing more classical acting pieces, it looks like Natalie and I may be throwing the ballets shoes to one side and replacing them with bare-footed contemporary moves. Every dancer needs to be able to change their style of dance in an instant so I am looking forward to the challenge of a contemporary piece – we had better get our heads together and conjure up some good ideas!

The Academy has had two performances of La Fille mal Gardée in the old Bolshoi Theatre in the past week and from what I have heard it was fantastic. Daniel Dolan (mine and Natalie’s partner in crime, also from London) was lucky enough to dance in the performances and although Natalie and myself got to see the rehearsals in the school we never managed to see the final performance as it was sold out! This was really upsetting for us as it would have been great to be there and support our fellow Briton, but from the pictures he posted on facebook, he looked amazing! Well done to everyone involved and of course to my friends Mario and Joy who were the lead roles of the show and are great representatives for both the school and America! Each and everyone who performed were stars!

A very last minute holiday was thrown upon us starting from Friday 4th until Wednesday 9th November and although I would have loved to have gone home to surprise family and my best friend Megan, this was not possible due to only finding out at the last minute and the cost of flights. So instead Natalie, Heather and I went a little Christmas shopping and had a lot of fun trying on hats and anything else interesting that we could find in the local shops! We even managed some photo opportunities which will more than please my mother as she has been nagging at me to get more pictures for her to look at and keep as memories of my time in Russia… it’s great sometimes when your mammy can only nag via skype as a mute button on the computer is a great thing! Ha ha, only kidding mother.

On our first day off it was great to finally have a long lie in bed which was much appreciated, but no rest for the wicked as we had a phone call from Revich to inform us a ballet class had been added in for Saturday! All my class were under the impression that we had Saturday off as well and some of the girls had bought tickets for a show in the Kremlin, unlike Natalie and me, who decided to be lazy. That plan was laid to rest and we plodded on down to our one and only class of the day along with two other girls. Instead of Revich giving us all a bit of sympathy – she did not utter the words “girls you four can just rest!” – oh no no, not at all! We received 2 and half hours of exhausting but rewarding pointe work! After our torture, the four of us crawled out of class with blisters covering our feet! Oh the life of a ballet dancer. Even though the class itself was very intense it was great having so little pupils in a class situation, as Revich was able to give us all her undivided attention and we were given corrections just for yourself rather than a general “higher legs!”, which is normally given as an instruction to the whole class. You will be pleased to know I managed to fall on my bottom only once on this occasion. This seems to be becoming a weekly occurrence so I was very pleased with myself that it was only the once! I am thinking though that it should be my new party trick for the future… All joking aside though I did not hurt myself in any way and it’s lucky I was blessed with the family gene of a very solid derriere, which bounces you straight back up!

The joy of a holiday was short lived as after class we were told we have a workshop on both Tuesday and Wednesday with America’s premier ballet company ‘Joffrey Ballet’ who originate from Chicago. We haven’t been told much regarding this workshop yet but I do know the whole school will be involved, ten full classes of girls with 15 in each in total – all struggling to get into one studio at the same time – it’s going to be a squeeze! I am really looking forward to it though, and hopefully I will manage to be part of it and even better if they teach in English, now that would be music to my ears! A girl can dream!! Although it wouldn’t be fair on the Russian students if the workshop was only in English, so I’ll need to get my Russian head back on and work my bottom off. I will tell you all about it in my next blog.

Academics are still ongoing and very hard; I try very hard to find the fun element in translating and memorising large texts of Russian history! Not easy when you are not blessed with the gift of learning various languages, but I am getting there slowly but surely and it will all be worth it in the end. I am still doing my very best to get through all the exams, and touch wood I have managed so far.

As I had mentioned above my best friend Megan, who is more like a sister, celebrated her 18th birthday last weekend so ‘Happy Birthday Megan’. From what I hear it was a crazy night and I was very sad to miss it. I was really upset when I couldn’t get home to surprise her as the look on her face when I appeared on her doorstep would have been priceless! But it was not to be and it just means we are going to have to double the birthday trouble when I return to Scotland for my 18th birthday which is the 22nd December – it isn’t long away Megan! I love and miss her so much but it won’t be long until we can show Glasgow how it’s done Mitchell and Stobo style – YESSS!!

Unfortunately I also missed my little cousin Mark’s birthday and when I skyped him during his birthday celebrations the tears streamed down my face and the lump in my throat was unbearable. I hate missing little things like birthdays and silly dinners as I feel as though I am missing out on quality time with my family. I have a very close family and my mum and I have a relationship which is even closer so it upsets me to be so far away from them. All of those tears stopped though when I saw my mum get upset at the side of the video screen. I know how hard it is for my mum having me so many miles away and when I hurt I know it hits her ten times harder. She is honestly the best mum in the world as I don’t know many women who could stand to see their child cry and be able to hold it together so well. I say ‘well’ but I do know she has her moments and is very upset when our skype call ends. I don’t know where I would be without my mum and my family and I love them to the ends of this world, but it’s not long until Christmas and we can have lots of family dinners and get-togethers with me included and no web cam will be needed on that occasion. I personally can’t wait.

Finally, I will finish on a very bright note. As I said before, my 18th birthday isn’t too far away now! I have had so much fun helping my mum organise what I would like to happen on the night, and of course the dress searching was the most important the best part. Finally we found one and the dress has been decided and I love it! To add an extra bit of excitement to the event I am having an “angels” and “demons” Masquerade party (very theatrical) so it will be very interesting to see how my Scottish lovelies turn up and also my lovely friends from the Bolshoi. I am of course starting the evening as an angel but no doubt will eventually turn into a little demon! I can’t wait to see all my friends that I haven’t seen for so long! So roll on December!

I will however have a new (much shorter) blog next week to hopefully tell you all about the ‘Joffrey Ballet’ workshop and the rest of my week. Until then…

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It has been several weeks since my arrival back at the academy and eventually now I can update my blog! Since returning, life has not been without its little hiccups, and I can assure you I have had a few thrown at me – sickness, tiredness and injuries to name a few! Everyone here at the academy has had their fair share of troubles since returning and these sickness spells and little niggles are no more than what everyone expects after returning from a long summer holiday. However, my get-well aid was at hand from my trusted tablets which I had made sure I had requested from my doctor before I left Bonnie Scotland. A little hug now and again from my roomy Natalie also helped ensure good health would be just around the corner! I have now returned full-time to every class and I am working really hard to achieve the results which every individual teacher expects from me , and as you can see in the picture – the results are in the leotard! I am really starting to enjoy my classes more this year and I feel as though I am gaining much more understanding of each individual class in comparison to last year. The majority of this is due to the fact that I have a much clearer understanding of the language and now when instruction is given in a class situation I am able to take on board and use to my advantage what each individual teacher is asking of me and I can now apply it into my class work, which is such a gratifying feeling.

Due to my existing set backs (and goodness there have been a few!) I feel I am still very weak in comparison to some of the other girls in my class, but what can I expect? My body has been through a whirlwind of illnesses and injuries since I first stepped foot in Moscow, but the feeling of actually gaining a little strength back each day is enough to make me push myself through every obstacle that arises! I will show every teacher that for every ounce of belief they show in me I will give 150% determination and commitment back and I will show them and everyone at home just what I am capable of!

I was slightly nervous but also extremely excited when I found out that we had a new Narha (character) teacher this year called Tatiana Petrova. Luckily there was no need to be nervous, as I was overjoyed after I finished our first class – she is honestly the nicest woman I have ever met and I now have such excitement within me before entering her classes! She stirs such emotion and movement within and manages to pull every ounce of dance from me; this is why I love dancing so much! She allows me to gain an understanding of the movements and how to link them in a way that is pleasing to the eye. On top of her being an amazing teacher she also speaks fluent English… result! So when something needs an in-depth explanation she switches to the English language. Miss Petrova is still very young and at present is still an employable dancer performing around the world. I am thoroughly looking forward to working with her for the rest of the year, gaining from her expertise in dance (as I can’t wait to see what else she is going to throw at us!) and being part of the final results of her brilliant teaching.

Ballet for me this year has been a very bumpy roller coaster ride and since returning to Moscow Natalia Igorovna (known lovingly as Revich to her class) has been working her magic and I know have those much needed bottom (bum to people in Scotland) and leg muscles back in working mode. The second course syllabus is very intense and I have to be on top form right from the word “go” in order to make the vast increase of movements count in class. Revich is such an amazing teacher, I cannot praise her enough, and I am over the moon to have her as my mentor. As long as we students are willing to give her 100% commitment then she is more than willing to give the exact amount back to each and everyone of us. The more that I take part in class, the more I feel a very slight change occurring in my dancing and physique and hopefully by Christmas all these small changes will amount to something very noticeable for me to be proud of.

Not only do I have the intense dance schedule to contend with this year which includes Ballet, Character, Acting, Duet and Contemporary dance lessons, this year we also have a very hectic Academic schedule. Between classes we are now having to study not only Russian Language, but Musical Literature, theory of Music , History of Ballet, History of World Culture and standard History and History of Theatre, all of which we are assessed in and have to pass in order to obtain our Diploma. All of the above are of course (the added bonus) also taught in Russian! Also at the end of this year, our whole year group will need to pay to sit a State Russian Language exam and we need to pass this exam to receive our Diploma Certificates for our final year! Recently we have had frequent verbal exams for the above subjects, and I can tell you I have been tearing my hair out trying to study for these, but I am very pleased to say my hair-pulling has paid off and I have managed to pass them so far! And off course smarty pants herself Miss Natalie Carter has been flying through the academic exams also and passed them all too!

The opening of the old but newly refurbished ‘Bolshoi Theatre’ is finally upon us and I believe the first few performances are completely sold out! Unfortunately I don’t have tickets for any of the future shows but my ballet teacher Natalia Igorovna Revich has a close link to many of the upcoming events as she is very influential in the staging of the students’ parts in the company’s shows, so fingers crossed she can work her magic and allow our class to have a chance to see this beautiful world-renowned theatre and of course the world-famous dancers within it.

For now I think that is all the information I have to give you all and I promise to write another blog soon as these next few months have a lot of exciting things happening! Until then readers 🙂 xx

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Well the summer holidays have now come to an end ….and what an eventful few months they have been!  Family reunions, shopping trips, hospital appointments, physio appointments, gyrotonics and catching up with all my friends.  Also a radio interview with Radio one, which will be broadcast this month.  These are just a few things which occupied my time at home and I could not have asked for a better three months!  The holidays flew by so quickly and I am certain that I could not have crammed in any more enjoyable things than I did.

I was lucky enough to be able to go on holiday to Greece for two weeks with my Mum, Dad and best friend Megan.  Beautiful island, sand, sun and most of all … relaxation – just what the doctor ordered! While my parents lapped up the sights and tranquillity of Greece, Megan and I had other things on our minds. We made a joint decision to explore as much of the Greek night life as possible!  Although we sampled a great deal, the holiday was for me to recuperate and I found it was also ideal for me to get back that quality time I had missed with my Mum and Megan.Being in Russia has made me realise just how close I really am to my family and friends and also how much I miss them when I am away. Being with them for the full summer holidays gave me the peace of mind that they are not going anywhere and every time I return home, no matter how long I have been away for, things will never change and they will revert straight back to the way they where – as if I had never gone!  Time passes so quickly and this makes you treasure every moment you have with everyone you love.

On top of all the excitement that Scotland had already provided I was overwhelmed when I received an email from a lovely lady called Elizabeth Ferguson who works for The Royal Ballet in London.  Elizabeth had previously read my blog and noted that I would be travelling to London to see the Mariinsky perform La Bayadère and kindly invited me to tour around the Royal Opera House before the afternoon performance! I honestly believed that I was having a behind the scenes tour of the Royal Opera House, which I was totally delighted to be invited too.  However, I was so excited when I was told by Miss Ferguson that not only was I allowed a viewing of The Royal Ballet’s company class but also the Mariinsky’s company class!  These two ballet companies are truly out of this world to watch and it was amazing to see the differences between Russian and UK technique.  I was also so privileged to be introduced to the Director of The Royal Ballet, Dame Monica Mason, and also Alexander Parish  from the Mariinsky Ballet Company.  All of the dancers that I saw participate in class were such an inspiration and I can’t thank Miss Ferguson enough for allowing me to have this fantastic opportunity! Thank you also for the lovely t-shirts which you gave me as a gift after my visit.

After my visit to the ROH I decided to travel a few stops on the tube station in order to visit a close friend, Emma Findlay, who is also a ballet dancer. Emma trained and performed with The English National Ballet and now lives in London and it was great to have a little catch up.   From there it was straight to the hotel in Covent Garden to get changed and meet with Mrs Maureen Findlay and her two sisters Janette and Evelynn, as I had said in my last blog Maureen had given me a gift of two tickets for the evening performance of La Bayadère performed by the Mariinsky Ballet Company. Maureen absolutely adores the Bolshoi  Ballet Company and travels frequently to see them perform. When she offered me once again to come to London to see the ballet, on this occasion the Mariinsky Ballet (I was lucky to be invited last year to see the Bolshoi Ballet Company also), I was over the moon and I am forever grateful to her and for all her kindness that she and her husband Brian constantly have shown me.

The Mariinsky company were absolutely beautiful and although they are such strong dancers they seem so light on their feet and their heavy pointe shoes certainly didn’t make a noise as they landed their jumps … putting me to shame!   I had such a fantastic trip to London despite it only being for a day and night! The trip  was even more special to me as it made me realise how much confidence I have gained since moving from Scotland to Russia.  I now have no issues what so ever about flying to London or any other country and being alone and also finding my hotel… if you had asked me to do all this a year ago, I am sure  I would have dragged my poor mum alongside me!

In my last week in Scotland I tried to cram in as many meetings and dinners with family and friends as I possibly could before I departed for Moscow.   The end of this summer was a complete contrast to last year, I managed to only shed a tear on my last night compared to my scheduled daily breakdowns last year – ha ha! This year I feel a lot more confident and settled, as I know what I am returning to and am now familiar with my surroundings.  Last year I was the new girl with so many dreams but no idea what I was about to embark on.

Saying goodbye to my mum and dad in Glasgow airport was as hard as ever… but what did I expect? I don’t think that part will ever get any easier! However, my mood was lifted instantly when I saw Natalie Carter in London and she was so surprised when I greeted her by running up behind her and throwing her up in the air!  This act proves  to me that sometimes I think I am better than some of the boys in my pas de deux class, as I seem to have such strength for lifting the females… ha ha – I am only  kidding.

We sat talking for 5 hours from London to Russia about all the shenanigans that occurred during both our summer holidays and before we knew it time had flown and we had landed in Russia. As we entered into the academy it felt as though I had never been away. The sound of the Russian language came as quite a shock to me, but I know I will soon get used to it again.  Three of the boys from the school kindly offered to carry our 5 overweight suitcases up the three flights of stairs in the academy as the lift had been closed an hour previous to our arrival. The dorms had been dramatically modernised over the summer and although they are not yet finished they are a vast improvement to how they looked in my first year. I am sure once completed the academy is going to look lovely and it is quite exciting to see how it is transforming.

This year I would like to welcome our new girl Heather from England!  Heather has joined us from Tring in London and the British Bolshoi crew are all doing as much as we can to make her feel welcome.  It was lovely to meet her mum, dad and brother, as Paula (her mum) had been in contact with my mum over the summer and it was great to finally meet them all. It felt absolutely amazing to be able to translate for Heather and her family, as obviously I was in her position this time last year and I know how scary it can be, so if ever she needs anything I am more than willing to help! I’m also sure there will be occasions when I will call upon her to help me!

I am in high spirits about the upcoming year at the academy and I am definitely looking forward to everything that will be thrown at me.  Today was my first taste of the second year course and we had to get our high heels and sophisticated dresses on to attend the welcoming/ graduating ceremony. It was scary to think that in less than two years Natalie, Daniel and I will be standing up there! I also briefly got to speak to my ballet teacher Revich and she is excited about getting her teeth stuck into our class this year and that task will begin from tomorrow!

I look forward to keeping you all informed about my second year at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and I have my fingers crossed that I will have lots of positive things to tell you about through the year. Until then … wish me luck!!

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These past few weeks have been extremely hectic. Summer holidays are usually filled with relaxation and quality time with family and friends, and I had also planned some sneaky television viewing time with my mum … but unfortunately due to the amount of time spent attending hospital and physiotherapy appointments we simply haven’t had the time to fully relax… but I am hoping things will calm down once we have also completed my medicals etc for my return to Russia and we can eventually enjoy our last few weeks together.

The past couple of months I have been religiously attending physiotherapy and gyrotonic appointments, and I am extremely overjoyed to report to you all that I feel this have been a great benefit to my recovery. My physiotherapist provides ultrasound treatment which is placed directly on my hip for about ten minutes and releases tiny electric vibes into my deep over worked muscles in order to ease the tightness within the hip.

In addition to this I have also been attending The Penny Withers Gyrotonic Studio in Glasgow. With Penny I have been receiving one to one classes twice a week. Gyrotonic Expansion system is designed to stretch and strengthen muscles simultaneously while stimulating the connective tissues in and around the joints, the movements produced using the different machines are multidimensional providing the capacity to explore and increase an individuals’ maximum range of motion. It will also give me the strength in other areas of my body which will allow me to use more freely all muscles instead of putting all muscular stress in ballet through my hip and will hopefully prevent this injury from reoccurring once again. These two systems combined have been a great way for my hip to rehabilitate itself and so far I am so pleased with the results.

I also have some fantastic news!  The results for my MRI scan came back this week and everything within my hip joint is healthy and clear and the scan has shown my injury has been caused by an overly developed muscle imbalance. This can be fixed easily and can be done by re training my body and finding the muscles that have been a little lazy. These results provided me with piece of mind that this injury will not be detrimental to my future career … for a dancer … what better news could I receive! Ballet is such an important part in my life and to receive such goods news has lifted such a weight from my shoulders and now I can go back to what enjoy most … dancing!

Also while I have been home I have participated in Scottish Ballet open classes with my friends from The Dance School of Scotland. These classes are helping me to re gain my full strength and participate in full ballet classes. Just recently I was delighted to be asked to perform as a special guest for the Elma Whyte school of Dance. This dance school has a special place in my heart as it is where I took my first steps into the world of classical ballet at the tender age of 2 years. The performance was held in the Armadillo Theatre Glasgow.   I performed the pas de deux from the famous ballet ‘Don Quixote’ with a friend, Jonathan Milton who has just recently graduated from The Dance School of Scotland.

I miss everyone from home so much when I am away living in Russia so I am trying my best to meet with as many friends as possible as I know I am going to miss them so much once I return to Moscow. I am also thoroughly looking forward to travelling to London to see the Mariinsky Ballet performing ‘La Bayadere’ in The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. There is no doubt in my mind about how utterly amazing this company will be and I can’t wait to see some of the world’s top dancers. These tickets where kindly given to me as a gift by my very close friend Maureen … so a big thank you as this was very much appreciated!  I am so lucky to have been given two tickets, and I have invited Natalie to join me at the ballet. This will also give us a little time to catch up on our gossip, as the next time I’ll see her will be in London Heathrow Airport for our return to Russia!

I am looking forward to my return to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy and also my second year course. Thank you all for reading my blog this past year and the support that has been given, and I hope my blog this year will be full of interesting and exciting news for you all to enjoy!

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Life at the academy is never dull as classes take up your every moment but at present everything feels very real and I feel slightly lost! This because my room mate/surrogate mum Miss Natalie Carter has had to return back to London for a well-needed operation and I have to say the tears were flowing very heavily when I came back into our room after finishing my ballet class and all of her things were gone! I am going to miss her more than words can say (but it is only until September) and I can’t wait to give her a big cuddle when we eventually get to have our own little reunion in the summer holidays. I do wish her a very speedy recovery and I’ll be thinking of her every day. However, although she isn’t in Russia she won’t be getting away from me that easily, I will be constantly in touch via facebook and skype… and my Russian homework will be sent via email hahaha… only kidding Natalie!

On a brighter note I have just completed my Russian language exam and I am very pleased to announce to you all that I managed to achieve 81%! This came as a great shock to me as I honestly thought that my Russian skills were not that good and I am still struggling with certain aspects of the language, but it just proves that ‘eenie meenie minie mo’ does work sometimes when choosing answers… just kidding! It was really stressful trying to prepare myself for this exam as I had to study so much grammar and new vocabulary and apply it to various aspects of the language, which was not easy at all, and on top of this – try to keep it all in my head! In the long-run though this will prove beneficial to me as it will help me gain more confidence to speak to the Russian children and my peers and not panic anymore beforehand about what tense and grammar to use and what style of sentence it should be in. The level of Russian I am currently studying has become more intense as I have just received my new second year book from my teacher. I am determined to learn as much as I can before I finish for the holidays in June and also during my summer so that in my second year I will be a lot more comfortable and confident to be able to join in on more complex conversations.

Ballet this week has been quite positive and I am very happy with how I have been performing. Following my hip injury I have just returned to full class timetable; I really feel the physio and medical gels which I received here at the academy did me the world of good and I am now fighting fit and working as hard as I can for my teachers. This week Revich finalised the combinations for our ballet exam and I am under no illusion that the combinations she has given us will not be easy and she will probably tweak or completely changed styles before the exam but the fact that we now have a set class syllabus can only mean one thing… EXAM TIME IS LOOMING!

All of my other teachers have also begun to finalise their exam classes. Narha and Historical are completely dance and performance based; the only distinctive difference is that Narha style varies from different countries national dances, whereas Historical is based on different time periods that dance has come through. Acting on the other hand (when I am in second and third course) requires you to act out different scenes from chosen ballets, however, since I am still in my first year it’s much more focused in finding yourself and what you’re capable of performing. For the exam this year I am required to act as an animal and also act different day to day scenarios i.e. a call for help in a fire scenario. However, after seeing my interpretation of a “gay hairdresser” my teacher has now realised that comedy is what I do best and also love to do, so she is thinking about putting this forward for my exam… it should be interesting!

I look forward to telling you all how the next few weeks work out and anything else exciting that happens in Russia! Bye for now and I will keep you all posted!

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