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Posts Tagged ‘Bolshoi’

I would like to start my blog with an apology to all of the people who religiously read up on my progress and also take a keen interest in my studies and the ups and downs of my day-to-day life at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. The huge gap between this blog and my last one has been far too long! I have to be honest and tell you all that I am quite nervous about writing this entry as I have had a few up and down moments over this past couple of months and I feel that if I finally write them down then it will make them more real in my mind, and they won’t just be silly thoughts that I can disregard and push to the back of my mind and forget they ever happened.

To explain… I have not been dancing for a month now due to a nasty fall which occurred between my partner and I in pas de deux class, which left him very distressed and me… well, shocked, stunned, upset and inconsolable. I was unable to put weight on my foot for one week (as I thought) and was subsequently off dance for the rest of the month. At first I feared the worst, but luckily I was diagnosed with no broken bones, which was the doctor’s first initial thought, but I did suffer from a nasty sprain plus ligament and muscle damage. I don’t think at first I quite realised the extent of the injury as I was in such shock with the thought of looming exams and an injury. I was seriously concerned as to what was going to happen. I was under the impression that after one week I’d be back to good old Hayley Stobo and be dancing and jumping around again, but I had a huge panic set in as a further two weeks later (longer than expected for me) I tried to return to class and attempt a little barre work and I was completely unable to point my foot! I was immediately sent back to the doctor and after some reassurance I was given further appointments with the physio within the academy. I have been attending every day since, receiving a treatment called “magnetic therapy ” which is when mini magnetic vibes are passed through my foot as a way to induce muscle repair and to give the natural healing process a little kick in the right direction to speed up the healing process. The good news is that there is no lasting damage and I will eventually be 100% fit again, but it needs time to heal.

This injury could not have come at a more crucial time as I am sure all of you ballet bun-heads out there are aware that “summer months” = “exam period ” and by God Bolshoi have a list of exams at the ready for me to complete before finishing in May! I am so determined to get through these exams and completely give my all (what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger) and I feel that if I sit in a corner crying every time my body has a problem then I may as well not be in this industry! Injuries are something a dancer has to learn to deal with, and I am not going to lie to you – yes it has been a tough time and yes Russia has provided me with more injuries than I have ever had in all my years of dancing, but I am looking forward with a positive attitude and the more I conquer now the stronger my body will become and the less I will suffer as a working dancer in my future career. It is best to endure injuries when you are in your training years, as injuries are there as a large learning curve and help mature you in the sense that you will feel and listen and understand your body more when dancing and have the capability not to make mistakes that will result in injury, and have the knowledge to know what to avoid in the future.

On a lighter note (slightly) I am proud and also saddened to inform you that this year Natalie and I where once again privileged to be chosen to dance a Persian modern dance piece that was choreographed for us by Russian choreographer and artistic Director, Andrei Alexandrovich Melanin. Diego and Alex were also chosen to perform this piece alongside us, and once again it was to be performed at the “Praktica Concert “. This is the second year in a row that Natalie and I have been chosen to perform in the school show and this was such a huge compliment to us both and something we are both very proud of. The down side to this achievement is that we never actually got to perform due to my injury. My ballet teacher did try to find a replacement dancer for the piece so that the others could enjoy the experience but in the end she felt there was no other dancer within the class with similar style of movement to Natalie and I, and so the piece was withdrawn from the show. I felt like the worst friend and performer because although my injury was not my fault, I feel as though I completely let the group down and I would have done anything to get up there with them and give it our all. If I could have gone back in time – but it was not meant to be.

I find as I am getting older (maybe it’s a maturity thing) that it’s really hard not to dwell on bad luck. I feel that when I was younger, things didn’t seem to matter as much, but when you are 18 years old reality kicks in – especially when your career means the world to you and you are living in another country away from family and friends. I tend to hold most worries and thoughts in my head until I can see the people who matter and can speak to them in person. It’s a lot of anxiety to bottle up, especially when you’re not home for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the nature I have tends to allow things to eat away at me and when something is so important to me I get really caught up in the negatives instead of picking myself up straight away and thinking “…you know what, worse things could happen so be positive and get on with it!”

Due to all this negativity, my injury and just down right bad luck, I allowed everything to pile on top of me and my system gave up and I became ill. My mum and I decided a week home to Scotland to recharge would be beneficial, so once again I got off the plane in Scotland and it was straight to the hospital to get sorted. This time though it ended on a positive note; after I spoke to the doctor it was found that the tablets I had been provided with in the past for recurring illness were the incorrect type and the doctor said it was no wonder that they were not helping in any way! I was finally prescribed new tablets and after a few days the temperature was down and the infection within my body was slowly leaving. All I can say to you all is that I certainly do not do things by half! But on a serious note it was the best decision to go to a hospital at home and have some quality time with my mum, even if it was just for a week, because I am now feeling 100% better and  really looking forward to getting through my exams.

I hope I haven’t left you feeling that I have gone into a dark place that I am unable to find my way out of. Sometimes life kicks you when you are down, but it’s your decision whether you get back up and fight your corner, and I will do that every time for what I  love to do. I want you all to know that I am back to Hayley Stobo and until my final dance exam in   May my work commitment and mature head will once again be screwed on and no one will be able to stop me in my tracks! Unfortunately my body has stopped me (just for a short while) from doing what I love most but I feel now is my time to shine and I am going to do my utmost to get to the level of dancing that I am proud of by summer!

I cannot explain to you quite how much I have recently wanted to crawl into a little ball and not have any contact with human life, but I knew that was not the way to deal with things and I have always been a fighter! It’s hard having niggles and doubts that put your mind and body into overdrive, but who would we be as people if we weren’t tested every so often?

Life is about growing and learning and my first 2 years in Russia has provided me with life lessons that I would never have  imagined! I am thankful for all the bad things that have happened but also for the good that has often followed. I know one day I will look back on this experience and say “I bounced back every time something negative or scary came along and I coped with the best of my abilities.” If I can say that then I will be one very proud girl! I believe that if everything is handed to you on a plate then you will never really appreciate what it feels like to do things on your own and the feeling of success when you achieve what you set out to do. I’m not saying that people are not entitled to a guiding hand along the way, but if I am able to get through my exams and my final year at Bolshoi Ballet Academy then itt will be my greatest achievement in life. And to know that I have done all this hard work myself – now that will be the greatest feeling beyond belief, one that could not even be described!

So my dear bloggers, my final exams continue over these next 6 weeks and it’s going to be hectic, stressful and above all such a good feeling of achievement when they are done so wish me luck! I am looking forward to writing a more upbeat blog next time and I promise it will not have as much of a gap as previous months.

Until then bloggers 🙂

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Since my last blog life at the academy has been hectic but it has also been amazing! Classes have been very busy and exhausting and at the moment I am struggling to get any feeling back into my legs! I keep asking myself if they still attached to my body as the pain going through them every night is so intense and even if I could have them amputated I am sure it would not release any of the agony that I feel right now within them. This is mainly due to the intense work load that we have between rehearsing for exams and also extra work for other teachers. Anyway, enough complaining!

We have been working very hard every day for the past couple of weeks with a student teacher called Alissa. We were lucky enough to be chosen to take part in her exam class which will determine whether she will receive the teaching degree she had been working towards for the past 4 years. As you can imagine this has put a lot of stress on our shoulders as this exam will determine this student’s future as a teacher, and when you’re dancing on behalf of someone else a little slip or mistake could ruin all the hard work they have put in throughout their time of studying. The actual exam on the day was a jumping one, which Natalie and I were both delighted with as that is our key strength in class, however we had never been asked to do this many jumping exercises in one class before and it was very strenuous on our body. In the complete exercise there were a total of over 25 jumping exercises. I am pleased to inform you that although the exam wasn’t without minor blips we all managed to perform to our highest standard and were able to take a giant breath of relief when the teacher received top marks! We were later told by the commission that our class was one of the best they had seen in the school this year and they were very impressed! This is a huge compliment from such high-esteemed people at our college because due to being an international course and not Russian, being given such positive comments from elite Russian professionals was and felt amazing! While we were all ready for a mini celebration, the moment was then quickly taken from us with Natalia Igorovna (our ballet teacher) quickly calming us down with her comment ” Yes… you all performed well, but I want more. I have seen you can all do it so I expect your summer exam to be ten times better !” This sentence brought us all back to earth with a bump… this fine lady honestly puts shivers down my spine as I know how important exams are to her and the Academy and also to myself, but I am now ready to do my utmost to make Revich proud in May and hopefully we will have the same results the student teacher received! Keep your fingers crossed that I can do as well in May!

Also this past week as well as the teaching exam we have been working very closely with a Russian choreographer who is creating an Oriental Contemporary piece that will involve 2 girls and 2 boys. He has been rehearsing with 5 girls at the point in time, however this upcoming week he will decide who will be dancing the piece and who will be the reserves in case one of the chosen girls unfortunately falls ill or in a worst case scenario injures herself. I am very lucky to be chosen to rehearse with my fellow Brit Miss Natalie Carter and we are dancing our little legs off and I have to admit it feels amazing to be part of another type of dance and to focus less on my turn out and get my teeth really into another style of dance. The weight placement and energy put into contemporary is a lot different to ballet and it works a completely different set of muscles within my body… hence another contributing factor for the constant pain that I have running through my body this week. I am really enjoying rehearsing the piece and it would be lovely if Natalie and I were chosen to audition the piece for the “Practical Concert” which will take place on the 7th of March. All we can do is work to our highest level and be ourselves and if we are lucky enough to be chosen then I will be over the moon, but I will not be down-hearted if we do not get the opportunity to perform at the show as the experience in its self has been so rewarding and I have loved every minute of it!

On a less happy note a giant list of academic exams was put up in the academy this week which need to be completed by May, and my heart sunk a little as the length of the list under my name was so long! I thought I had been progressing rather sufficiently with my exams however it seems I have a long way to go and my head has been stuck in A4 texts of Russian text varying from Musical literature to History of Theatre all week. This is something that I can’t wriggle my way out of so it looks like the everlasting headache will stay until that final exam is crossed off. Nothing I can’t handle I am sure, I can only do my best (so my mum keeps telling me).

I had a little emotional break down at the beginning of this week (and no it wasn’t because my usual 10 Valentine’s cards got lost in the post via Scotland to Russia!) It was my mummy’s birthday on the 15th of February and last year due to being here, I missed it and I thought I would cope better missing it again this year… but unfortunately I found it really hard to be absent from her celebrations again. I managed to send her a little birthday card and a bouquet of flowers but it doesn’t have the same feeling as actually being with one you love on silly events such as birthdays. My internet and phone never seem to work to well here and fortunately Natalie put money on her skype account and it allowed me to call my mum to wish her a Happy Birthday. I have to say hearing her voice probably made the day worse as I could hear the tears building up in her voice as she was talking and eventually we both just burst into tears. In case you haven’t already guessed, my mother and I aren’t afraid of a wee emotional moment and it did help to lighten the moment… eventually… as we both also started laughing at each other. I really miss my mummy lots and I promise when I am home at the end of the exams we will go out and have a proper girly day with dinner and a glass of wine and chilli sensations crisps with dip yum yum (we know how to enjoy ourselves). Love you mummy and once again Happy Birthday and not long till I see you ❤ xxxxx

Thanks for your interest in my time at the Bolshi Ballet Academy. I will keep you all updated on how the final rehearsal for the contemporary piece goes and if Natalie and I get chosen to perform it in March – and of course about all of the other things the Academy likes to throw at me. They like to keep my on my toes (pardon the pun!) ha ha. Until then bloggers!

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I have just completed my first full week back into full classes at the academy after my wonderful Christmas break, and by God I am feeling the stress – not to mention the burn in all my muscles!  Not only do I feel my legs are ready to fall off, I also feel as though I have slept on a concrete floor  for about two months as  my back is really tight – and don’t even get me started on how my face now looks without all of my of my usual  makeup on. I have bags under my eyes and I look as though I have not had any rest whatsoever… but I have got to admit it is my own fault! When you burn the candle at both ends (as my mother often tells me) you will undoubtedly suffer, and becoming the ripe old age of 18 really got me into that party spirit back home in Scotland!

The Christmas break was great on so many levels and I had a wonderful time with everyone in Scotland! Christmas is always a joyous occasion with the family around the table – and of course Santa Claus putting presents under the tree.  Santa was very good to me (as always) this year, but I did notice that nearly all of my presents were fancy clothes for going out… Not that I am going to complain as I wore every outfit to every occasion that I had planned. I will admit to you all that I probably never rested as much as I had planned to, but my excuse for that is that there were too many people to see and visit and too many places to go to.  And Christmas is such a busy time anyway, you never really do relax. I am also not one for sitting on the couch and relaxing for too long to be honest, I’d much rather be out having fun and catching up with friends; things that in Russia I am not able to do due to all the commitment to dance and studying for exams, so it is nice to totally chill and relax the body and brain for a while. I spent a lot of time with my cousin Shaunie and best friend Megan when I was home and it was honestly the best feeling ever just being able to talk to them without the interferences and delays in Skype calls or half-facebook conversations due to the internet crashing mid sentence! I do miss them when I am away but that’s what makes my time at home even more special because it shows me that I really have to make the effort to see everyone when I am home and then I feel I have not missed out on anything important.  Everything is that bit more enjoyable because you know you only have a small amount of time to cram everything in, and my family and friends make so much effort to make it special as they know I have so little time at home.

Saying goodbye is, and always will, be hard for me. You would think that almost 2 years away from home I would have got used to seeing that departure gate in Glasgow airport and it would be like water off a duck’s back, but believe me  it doesn’t get any easier!  I hate that final kiss and cuddle and the words “see you soon baby, not long until your back home again!” Even though I may now be 18 years old and officially an adult, I still blubber like a baby. It gets me every time and I can’t help but break down. I have mentioned in previous blogs how close I am to my mum and that I’m able to tell her everything, which I know is a very a special relationship to have, and I do treasure this and know not many mothers and daughters have this special gift. Of course we have our little niggles now and again but who doesn’t? I know I am very blessed to have such a good relationship with my mum and for that I am thankful. I think Glasgow airport is the worst part of my journey because I always have that thought in my head, “I could just run back downstairs and call and she will be back in 5 minutes” – and I know she has the exact same thought too! But where would anyone be in this life if they always gave up in times that are hard, and never pushed the boundaries that little bit more to see what the final outcome in their journey would be?  So once again I boarded my plane heavy-hearted, and as my plane departed I waved goodbye to my Bonnie Scotland and landed in London for my short wait and quick catch up with Heather, which always helps to lift my spirits before getting to the final part of my travels and arriving in Moscow at 8pm.

I was meant to have 3 days of classes before beginning my first full week back in the academy but in true Hayley style I had felt a little ill before leaving Scotland and with the long hours of travel and every other bug flying around the aircraft, I landed in Moscow very ill and never left my room for 4 days, barely eating and keeping nothing in my stomach. Luckily I had felt this coming on and already had tablets from home. As you have probably noticed I have learnt very quickly to know when my body is ailing and since living in Moscow that is a great skill as it hopefully means no more hospital trips for me this year! Sunday night I was almost back to normal, much to Natalie’s relief. She is honestly such a great friend and roommate as I don’t know many people that would be up at 4am sitting on a cold toilet floor bringing me water and the following night sitting up till all hours to make sure that I was feeling okay. It is a regular occurrence with us both – when one is sick the other plays nursemaid! She is an absolutely amazing girl and one that I know I will still be in contact with in many years as we have such a great wee bond here in Moscow that distance between dance companies in a year’s time can’t possibly break!

Monday’s 7 am wake up call felt as though I had just hit a brick wall, but I was so looking forward to dancing again and getting those legs moving and muscles working. Natalie Igorovna really stuck to the saying “no rest for the wicked ” as despite having a 3 week break, she was as hard as ever with barely a moment to breathe never mind shake your aching muscles out. I was gasping for air at the end of every exercise and unlike the UK, we are not allowed water in class which didn’t help the situation. The thought behind not allowing us water is that when we perform we have to dance long sequences without a break, so we have to let our body get used to being without – hence no water!  That night I had to sit for a good 2 hours stretching and massaging out my muscles thinking it was a one night thing, but oh no no, this has been my routine every night this week! Unfortunately ballet ended on a less positive note this week as my body was at such a stage of tiredness I felt I couldn’t do anything positive in class and really started to doubt myself and my abilities. My emotions then took over and I became quite negative with myself and got very down. I have been dancing since the age of two, pointing my little toes, hair in a ballet bun, smiles covering my whole face with the sheer delight of being able to dance around for hours, but none of this really prepares you for what real training to be a Classical Ballet Dancer is like. Arriving into my teenage years I always pictured the perfect ballerina that makes everything looks so flawless but no one ever tells you about all the tears and hard work she has to put in just to give you that image. Don’t get me wrong, I have never ever been under the illusion that it would be easy, but you think you are prepared for every eventuality that comes your way! Emotional isn’t the word for how my week ended, but I can only blame myself as I am the one that controls my head and body and sometimes I forget that. Self doubt is luckily something that I never came across when growing up, as I have always been surrounded by people who gave positive feedback,  but being in a school where you are surrounded with students that may someday be Bolshoi’s next star, it’s hard not to look, compare yourself and wish that you had something of theirs. And I know when doubt rears its ugly head it is not only a very scary thing but also very ugly thing too.  I know that tears will not make anything easier especially when I am so far away from home and I also know it can pull your immune system down too which also leads to illness, but for me it does help as it gets it out of my system, and I am one of those people who has a cry and then somehow manages to come back the next day with a new perspective and a much brighter outlook on the situation. 

My mum always has to deal with those A4 facebook messages that are just filled with stress and I would like to apologise to her for that. Although she may be my mum and always said that no matter what she is there to listen, I have realised that there is nothing she can physically do when sitting behind a computer in Scotland and only I can fix this kind of situation. Monday is a new day and although everything I have spoken about won’t just disappear overnight I will put it to the back of my mind and march on with all the fight I have inside me.  No one is going to hold my hand and tell me everything is going to be okay while I am in Moscow, so I need to create a new state of mind filled with positives objectives that I can work towards, and when achieved will give me a sense of improvement and satisfaction and also a kick in the teeth to those bad thoughts. I was given this chance for a reason, so for these next few months I am going to do everything I can and will take the bull by the horns and make a noticeable change in myself as a dancer, one that I can look back on one day and say “I had doubts, but look where I am now!”

On top of all of this, Russian language has hit a new level of difficult.  We have been told that our large Russian exam which could be detrimental towards our diploma if not passed is coming up in the month of May so preparation is in full swing. We were given a mock of what one part of this exam will be like and I am not going to lie I think I guessed almost every answer. I feel that because I am almost a year behind everyone else that my understanding of the grammar is not as good, but no excuses as it’s as hard for everyone as it is for me! I have not got my mark back yet but even if I have not done as well as I hoped, at least it will give me some sort of direction as to where I am going wrong and then my teacher will focus on how we can fix it. I have a new Russian teacher since returning so I will keep you posted on how my new classes are going and also the exam prep. However, I’m not going to get myself too worried about all of this because we have been told that if we’re not ready to sit this major exam in May then we are able to take the exam in the October of our third year, which is very positive as it will give me more time to get things right. I am a firm believer in what will be will be so I will plod on and hopefully all will turn out in my favour.

I hope this blog wasn’t too negative for you all as I didn’t mean it to be. On a positive note I want you to know that I really am determined to get through this year and learn everything I possibly can, take everything that is thrown at me and make myself happy in everything I face,  but also to show all that believe in me that I can do it and will do all I can to make everyone, especially me, proud. Until my next blog guys 🙂

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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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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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After the last few very exciting, stressful couple of weeks at the Bolshoi ballet Academy, it was nice to de-stress a little! But not for long… lessons began as soon as I arrived back at the academy after my short holiday back home in Scotland. As usual Revich (my ballet teacher) began to work us hard to prepare for our exams which will be in the next couple of months. However due to a hip injury which occurred in gymnastics last week, Revich has decided to limit the amount that I am allowed to participate in within class at the moment … she is only allowing me to do barre or light centre. Although it upsets me not to do full class I understand the importance of being fully fit for the up and coming events which are all too important for me. This has not dented my enthusiasm as it is nothing a few physio treatments, exercises and muscular gel won’t fix. I am taking a few more days to rest my hip and fingers crossed by the end of the end of the week I will be fighting fit and back doing what I love to do and giving it 100% once again! Revich has been amazing, not only is she a a fantastic teacher but she can also sense when I am feeling a little homesick. At the beginning of last week she took me to one side and gave me a gentle talk which I am so thankful for! Her words of wisdom and moral boost truly do mean a lot, and I feel at times she is almost like a second mother to me… only a more ballet-minded and less obsessed about a clean bedroom!

On a less cheery note I have been told that my Russian Language exam is on the 6th of April! I am really nervous as there is so much grammar involved in this very difficult language, so I am having to study 24/7 to try to get everything into my head so that I am prepared on the day. The saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ pops into my head now and gain which keeps me on my toes. I have also arranged to sit down with two of the girls in my class from America for some intense studying sessions so hopefully everything will work out and I will be confident in 2 weeks time! Wish me luck!

The date for our ballet exam has also recently been announced. It looks as though we will be putting on our new black leotards and we will be spraying our hair to our heads for the occasion on either the 2nd or 3rd of June. I am slightly excited and also nervous for this exam as it will give me a chance to show how I have progressed in my first year at the academy, and will also show me what I need to improve on and strengthen for my second year. Approximately 2 weeks after this date I should be on my way home to bonnie Scotland to begin my summer holidays and I can’t wait wait to see all my family and friends for what will be a much needed rest after all my exams and I will also have a much longer spell to spend with everyone as it won’t be just a few days but a couple of months, so I will be able to recuperate and recharge fully. I hope it doesn’t sound bad that I am counting the days already as I do enjoy my time here (very much) but I also miss everyone back home and I think that it is something which will never change no matter where I am in the world.

This weekend we all had the chance to dress in our best clothes to celebrate two birthdays, Daniel Dolan’s 18th and Niklas Blomqvist’s 20th. I had a very enjoyable evening in a restaurant called Sky Lounge and I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it felt great to be all dressed up and out having dinner with the group. The food was absolutely beautiful and the view from the windows is simply divine as the restaurant is situated 22 floors high and you are able to gaze into Moscow and all its glory!


Today Natalie, Daniel, Alex and myself have all came to McDonald’s cafe to take advantage of the free Internet, as at the moment the Internet connection in the academy is very unreliable and I haven’t had a proper conversation with my mummy in what feels like forever! So fingers crossed she will get her tired little self online (she works a night shift on a Saturday) before I go back to the academy for dinner. I would also like to say a big congratulations to all of my friends in the Dance School of Scotland as they have all secured places in various top London schools and I am very proud of them all! They have all worked so hard and I can’t believe it is now their time to finally graduate and go their separate ways in their individual career paths. They are all about to embark on the biggest and most enjoyable and rewarding journey of their live and I wish them all the luck in the world for their future, but I hasten to add; don’t forget little Stobo in Russia okay! Love you all!

I will write another blog very soon to update you all in the coming weeks about my preparation for my exams and also let you know how I get on with my language exam! Wish me luck guys!!

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