Sorry for the delay in blogging! Here is a little about my classes at the Bolshoi Academy:

Hi Everyone! I am so sorry for not blogging sooner. Life has been hectic not to mention a big adjustment for me. Let me tell you a little about my classes:

I’m in Course Two A, which is a Russian course. My class consists of all Russian students except for me and two other American students. It is really hard to explain the system of the courses so I will connect a link explaining each course which may help:

My primary ballet teacher is Irina Sirova. Ms. Sirova was a soloist of the Perm Opera and Ballet Academic Theatre. She is an amazing teacher and she really works on perfecting our technique. She is also my teacher for rep class. In repertoire class I’m doing the variation from Le Corsaire. The scene is Le jardin animé. I performed this before however I am now working on the Bolshoi version which is a little bit harder than what I have performed last year with Manhattan Youth Ballet.

After having my first rep class I realized how they work here. They just play music and you are expected to know the variation. If not then have you learn the variation by yourself. I showed her the variation from Le jardin amine and she said I was wrong and had to learn the Bolshoi version. So that night I taught myself the variation from watching you tube. Next day in class when I showed her I realized I learned the Marinsky version :/ but she was okay with that and I have been practicing this one variation the whole time I have been here. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little upset with this process and disappointed in myself.

My Character teacher is Tatiana Petrova. I had Ms. Petrova as my rep teacher over the summer so I was so happy when I learned that she was my character teacher. She is really tough and character is actually really hard but fun!!! We learn different dances from Spanish to folk and historical dance.

My Pas teacher is Ilya Ryzhakov. He was also my teacher in the summer so I already knew how he taught and I knew he liked me. We are doing a lot of lifts and things which I have never done in partnering so it is very interesting and a challenge for me. I love the class though. My partner is Michael Mengden, another American student here.

My modern class, which honestly is more like jazz here, is very fun. We actually have an exam in 2 weeks…YIKES! Apparently anybody can come and watch the exams here and so many teachers come and watch. They score us to see if we pass or fail. We have to get a good score to move on to the next level. Cross your fingers for me!

So I have made some really nice friends from all over the world. The international students come from locations including England, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Greece, and Japan, etc… I haven’t really ventured out much except for to go to the coffee shop and Billa which is the local grocery store.

Probably the scariest thing that I have been involved in happened today. So I’m at Starbucks with my friends Shan, Rose, Michael, and Georgi. Shan, Rose and Georgi went outside for a bit. Shan left her iphone on the table and I left my mac and blackberry and I went up to get a drink. Michael was sitting the other way facing away from the phone. I man came up to Michael asking something in Russian while that was happening another man grabbed Shan’s phone and ran out of Starbucks. The guy talking to Michael also ran out after him. Shan came back in and realized her phone was gone and we tried looking for it but then we put two and two together and realized these Russian guys scammed Michael. We learned a big lesson! New rule keep your electronics with you at all times in Russia!!

Well I will try to write more soon! Again I want to thank everyone who is supporting me here. I am trying to work hard and do my best. More to come…


Advertisements Interview

Hi Everyone,

Last week was another exciting week for me. On 9/22 I was interviewed by writer Natelege Whaley for magazine. The interview process is always so scary for me. I always get so nervous when being interviewed. I probably said “um” and “like” a thousand times! I am getting a little better at being interviewed I think, plus this time the writer Miss Whaley was younger and so sweet which made the interview easier for me.

On September 27th featured the interview. It was so awesome. I was on the front page of the website! Literally on the top of the page was PRINCE and then when you scrolled down there I was! It was amazing! used 3 pictures of me also which surprised me. The story was written perfectly. I am so thankful to Miss Whaley for writing the piece. The link to the article is below.

check out Miss Whaley’s blog at


Twitter and my angel Questlove

After the anonymous donations started coming in I had also started receiving twitter notifications. People are following me on twitter? Really? Me?

I went on twitter and not only did I have new followers but I also had someone tweeting my Go Fund Me story. His name was Questo to the Roots aka Questlove. I was like omg this random guy is so sweet! I didn’t know who he was then but I do now. After some online research I learned that he was involved in the music business. He is the drummer for the band The Roots, which is the house band on the Jimmie Fallen Show, amongst other things. I am not going to lie and say I knew this because I really didn’t. I honestly go to bed early most nights so I didn’t recognize his name or the band name. If you are a young dancer you know that most of the time your in dance class when you are not in school and you are not always up to date on who’s hot and what not.  Anyway Mr. Questlove love tweeted my story and from his tweet other s retweeted my story. It was amazing. I was shocked and speechless and so grateful. This man who doesn’t even know me tweeted about me and now my story is out there and others are sharing. It was so sweet! He is like an Angel!

Shortly after that Mr. Questlove tweeted to the Huffington Post who then tweeted to me asking me to contact them because they wanted to run a story. Next thing I know my story, with a excerpt of me dancing was on the Huffington Post site.  I was like is this really happening!?!?!

Questlove’s Latest Project Is Nicole Zadra, A Ballet Dancer With Bolshoi Academy Dream

A link to the article is here:

Again I was so grateful, happy, and thankful! It also becoming very nervous and overwhelmed. If you know me you know I am VERY shy. This was all so exciting but overwhelming for me. How can I ever thank Questlove enough.I really don’t know. The only thing I can do now is tell him how thankful I am and promise to work hard and do my best to make his efforts worth it. I am going to try my best and work hard to make everyone proud. I hope everyone knows that. I feel truly blessed

Time to Raise Money – Go Fund Me

Now that I was invited to the Bolshoi I had to figure out how to raise money to attend. The tuition alone is about $1600. USD a month. That doesn’t include medical insurance, pointe shoes costs, air fare, etc…  My mom is a single mom. My father has not been part of my life physically or financially at all ever which was completely his choice. My mom cannot really afford this expenses associated with the Bolshoi alone. After doing some research we found the Go Fund Me website. After researching it more my mom and I decided to give it a try. At first my mom and I didn’t want to really publicize my Go Fund Me page. I was just uncomfortable but after talking to people I decided I didn’t care. I wanted to go to the Bolshoi Academy so badly I said I’ll share my story.

I made my Go Fund Me page public on Facebook. It was a slow start. I was very grateful for the initial donations. To see one of my favorite high school teachers, Mr. Groven, make a donation to support me meant so much. I thought he would have been annoyed that I was considering deferring college for this especially after how hard I had to work in high school just to do well. His donation was like the “I approve” that I needed because I was a little conflicted about withdrawing from college.  I didn’t want to let anyone down. I always feel guilty like if I make the wrong choice I will be letting someone down.

Ok I’m getting off topic a little so let me get back to the topic. After a few days I decided to inbox my role model Misty Copeland on FB. She is someone I admire being that she is also a minority ballet dancer who knows what it is like to have to fight and hard work to make it in this world. She has never given up and I admire that. I basically told her how I felt and asked her if she would consider sharing my story. The next day I woke up and went on FB and she took my entire email and shared it on FB. I was like omg! This is when really amazing things started happening.

Shortly after I went onto my Go Fund Me page and there were more donations one which was particularly large! I couldn’t believe it!!! I was so grateful. Every dollar helps and this was the best news I could have received! Also to see the the relief in my moms tears. I knew things were looking up for us. For the first time I thought maybe going to Bolshoi will really happen. Up to this point I had tried not to get my hopes up. I just started shaking and I cried when I saw this donation. There are really truly generous people in this world. I was so thankful for all of the donations!!!!!. There is more to this story which I will continue on with in my next post…

The Invitation

I arrived home from Moscow on Saturday August 25th. I was sad to leave Moscow but so happy to be home and even more happier to see my mommy. Yes I call my mother “mommy” ..don’t judge lol. Anyway I had so much to tell and show my mommy. I spent the rest of the weekend with her and sleeping.

Monday morning came around and I couldn’t wait to go back to my ballet school Manhattan Youth Ballet here in NYC. I was so happy to see my dance friends and happy to be back in Mrs. Marina Stavitskaya’s ballet class. She is one of my amazing ballet teachers here in NYC. She is very special to me because she has been so supportive of me since I first started dancing at MYB. While I was at Manhattan Youth Ballet my mom called me and told me to read the email see had just forwarded to me. While she was on the phone I read the email and instantly started crying. It was an invitation to return to Moscow and train full time with the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy. I knew that they might invite some of us back but honestly didn’t think I would get an invite. I was so happy inside. This was like a dream come true for me!!!!!!

That night when I went home my mom said  something like “Nicole don’t get your hopes up about going because it is very expensive.” We had to figure out how to come up with the money to attend the academy and thats when we started to research how to raise money. Even if I couldn’t go I was so honored to be invited.

Bolshoi Summer NYC and Russia – Summer 2012

Hi Everyone!

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! ❤
A short video about Life at the Academy