So as this is my first blog post I guess I will begin with telling you about my summer. I had the most amazing summer. This past winter I auditioned for the Bolshoi Ballet Academy NYC Summer Intensive and was accepted with a merit scholarship which was I was so happy about because according to them merit scholarships are rarely given. I decided to attend their summer intensive because of this and also because of the great reputation of the program. Shortly after I was accepted I learned about an exchange program with the Russian American Foundation, Bolshoi Ballet Academy and National Security Language Initiative for Youth. There was a long application process. I sent in all my paperwork and RAF contacted me for an interview. I was so nervous and thought I blew it. A few weeks later I found out I was a confirmed finalist. I received a 6 week, all expense paid trip to Moscow to learn all about the language and culture and also to train at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy! I couldn’t believe it!
Summer finally arrived and the first 3 weeks at the Bolshoi summer Intensive started. I was very nervous but the first day went very well. I was pleased with my placement and I made friends instantly. I had technique and pointe with Svetlana Ivanova for all three weeks. I loved her classes. They were intense but fun. Every other day I would have character with Professor Ivanova, and Repertoire with Tatiana Petrova. At the end of each day we had Partnering with Ilya Ryzhakov. All my teachers were amazing and I feel I truly improved in the 3 weeks in NYC. I also made some amazing friends in the NYC summer intensive.
The 3 weeks in NYC flew by so quickly and I was so sad it was over, but I was so excited to be leaving for Russia with the other finalists! We left on a Saturday morning and arrived in Moscow noonish on Sunday. I couldn’t believe I was actually in Russia. When we arrived the Bolshoi Ballet Academy it all felt like a dream “Am I actually here?” I kept saying to myself. Once we entered the Academy, we had to pick who we would like to room with. I roomed with Isabella and Jade. Once we unpacked the 15 of us and our chaperone Masha went to a small market and bought food and water for the week. We also had the chance to transfer our money from US dollars to Rubles. A few of us decided to rome around the academy. We checked out some of the studios and the theater (not sure if we were allowed to though).The rest of the night we settled in and went to bed early, excited for our first day in the studios!
The first week was a success. Phew! During the six weeks we had technique class everyday and either gymnastics, repertoire, or character every other day. From time to time different Academy teachers would come in and observe our classes. Dancing on the floors at the academy was difficult at first becasue the floors were raked and I had never danced on raked floors before. We took many pictures in the studios and then we would have lunch. It took me awhile to get used to the cafeteria food and I mean awhile! From 1:30-6:00 we would have Russian class. It became very hard to focus in Russian the last few weeks because after about 3 hrs my brain would go off into lala land. It’s no secret that I have a very hard time focusing. It has been an issue for me my entire life, but thats another story. Anyway our teacher would occasionally let us leave early. Overall it was a great class. Throughout the 6 weeks we had different excursions. We went to go see the ballets Swan Lake and Don Q at the Stanislavsky Theater. It was my first time seeing both ballets. We went to many restaurants such as the Puskin Cafe, MyMy Cafe, some Italian and Japanese restaurants and many more. We also went to few museums throughout the 6 weeks.
Every weekend the 15 of us would go either by ourselves or with one other person to a host family. My friend Mariah and I were assinged a host family together and we couldn’t have been placed with a nicer family. They were two sisters who lived in the city of Moscow. I learned a lot from them. On top of having russian classes they would speak russian to us and teach us new words. We got to hang out with a lot of there friends and learned what young 20 years olds do on the weekend. They took us to many attractions such as the Little Kremlin where Mariah and I nought most of our souvenirs. Some items we purchased were hand made russian scarfs and hats as well as Matrushka dolls and eggs and many more. (picture) I early loved my host family. They did everything we wanted to do and really took care of us. I hope I get to see them again. ❤
The six weeks went by so quickly. I could write so much more but you get the idea. I was sad to leave. I became very close with all of my fellow classmates over the 6 weeks. On our last day in class we received a certificate from the academy and shed a few tears. Not only did a learn so much but I know that I have made lasting friendships. It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget! I am so thankful to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive Program, The Russian American Foundation, and the US Department of State for making this experience possibly for me. I will be forever grateful! Thank you! ❤