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Posts Tagged ‘Russian language’

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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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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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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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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