Exams at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and My Future Plans!

Hello everyone!

I am sorry for the delay in blogging. My last few months at the Academy flew by. I was auditioning for work while preparing for final exams.

This past April I took all my exams (acting, classical ballet, duet, and character) and passed them all 🙂 I am now a Bolshoi Ballet Academy graduate!

Bolshoi Ballet Academy Class of 2014

Bolshoi Ballet Academy Class of 2014

I am so glad the exams are over. It was very stressful and even though I encountered many problems along the way to exams I had a great time overall.

If you would like to see my acting exam here is the link:

In the past 6 months I attended several ballet company job auditions. I chose to audition in Europe because the cost to travel from Moscow to NY was double the cost to audition in Europe. This decision gave me the opportunity to visit and spend a day or two in many countries from Germany to Amsterdam to London and more. I made the most of my time in each country. With very little money I did a lot of walking and photo taking, trying to see as much as I can. I really enjoyed my time. My favorite city was London, England. The prettiest city was Prague, CZ. The auditions were nerve wrecking, especially when I was alone and didn’t know anyone. In Dresden I took company class and I was so happy to see a boy I kind of knew from the Bolshoi Ballet NYC summer intensive. I also met another girl who trains in NYC and so we all immediately connected.

In the studio at the Bolshoi Academy

In the studio at the Bolshoi Academy

In London I auditioned for the Hong Kong Ballet. The audition was in the Royal Ballet School studios which are beautiful. I remember in the audition I wasn’t nervous at all. The class went pretty fast and was a lot of fun! After center the boys did some jumps and turns and the girls put on their pointe shoes. We didn’t do much on pointe just fuettes and a small adajeio. After all that they told us they would make a cut and keep about 8 people to see our duet skills. To my surprise I was picked to stay on for the next portion of the audition. I was in total shock. My partner that day was a boy from Holland who, thank god, was really strong because I am not the most skinny of dancers haha. At the end of the audition they interviewed each of us, one by one, and they told us they would contact us in approx. 2-4 weeks to inform us of their decision. I went back to Russia and only a week later I received an email offering me a Corp de Ballet position with the Hong Kong Ballet! I accepted the offer! I still continued to audition, just because you never know what could happen. I have seen friends have visa problems in the past and you just never know. I was and I am soooo excited and grateful for the opportunity to join such an amazing company!!!

Sightseeing when in London for auditions

Sightseeing when in London for auditions

After my exams were over I decided to come home right away so that I could spend some time with my mom and family/friends who I have not seen in about 8 mouths and also to get ready for Hong Kong. I waited to write this blog because I wanted to be 100% sure everything was going to work out with my visa before I told the world officially. I applied for my work visa and I recently found out that my work visa was approved so I am set to start work this July.

While home I have been in the gym everyday, trying to get in shape. I am also trying to live a more healthy lifestyle. I have been using my free time to see new things in my city that I have not seen since being away. There is so much to do in see in NYC for free. It’s amazing really.

Now I just prepare. Prepare for the next chapter of my life. It is time to be an adult and really take on adult responsibilities. I am looking forward to moving to Hong Kong. I was extremely nervous about being alone and thinking nobody will like me. Then I found out the girl that I met in the Dresden audition is also joining the company. My mom says maybe its fate. What are the odds of becoming friends with the girl I would be moving to HK with. Anyway I felt so much better. Just knowing that you know at least know one person makes it seem a little less scary.  She and I have decided to try to get an apartment together. Hong Kong is very expensive and it has been very hard looking for apartments. It is hard to find an apt this early as well as online. Everything is tiny and VERY EXPENSIVE!! Right now my mom and I are trying to save as much as we can for the first months rent and living expenses because I am not sure when I will get my first paycheck. Also my mom cannot come with me to Hong Kong and help me move all my stuff because we cant afford it. It is very upsetting because she is my best friend and I want her to be there with me, not just because I am scared to death and need help, but also because I want her there when I start my new life and this new journey…but right now it seems like its not happening : (

If you have any questions or if you would consider donating but would prefer to send a private donation please contact me at nicolezadra@gmail.com

I am so thankful for the opportunity to live and train at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia. I will always be grateful to my teacher Irina Sirova for seeing something in me and believing in me. I would not have been able to complete the traineeship if it wasn’t for my Angel and everyone else who supported me physically and financially. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so excited to begin working with the Hong Kong Ballet. I hope you will continue to follow my journey and I look forward to sharing the process with you.

Thank you all!

Nicole xo

Ballet Exam Tutu

Ballet Exam Tutu

 

 

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Audition, Performance & Exam Update

Hello everyone hope all are well.
For the past three weeks I have been getting ready for company Auditions. Two weeks ago I traveled to Amsterdam where I auditioned for the Het National Ballet (Dutch National Ballet). I am not a very good at traveling alone because I always seem to get lost and I don’t have a phone that works so it was a little difficult but I had help from a new friend who goes to the school thats affiliated with the company. He showed me the area and my hotel. It was a very beautiful at night with the imageriver and the lights. I wouldn’t want to live there though. It also spelled like marajuana aka weed everywhere there ..hahah ;). I was really nervous for this audition. It was my first one and I was trying to be positive but I knew that even if I get nothing its just the beginning and there will be more. When I arrived at the audition I ran into some old friends so I felt a little more relaxed. The audition was two classes mixed girls and boys. It was a nice class but unfortunately I didn’t get anything. It is ok though. They took three boys and two girls form their school and thats all I know. I didn’t get to see Amsterdam during daylight because after the audition I had to run to the airport to get on a plane to Munich for the audition at the Bavarian State Ballet in Germany. I would like to go back to see Amsterdam with friends someday 🙂

Munich was my favorite of all the audition locations. The buildings where beautiful and the theater was amazing! At that audition I had a few friends there with me. There where about 100 girls in one class and they did cuts. I was cut third round before jumps unfortunately. I felt very young. There were many girls who were very experienced and have already been in companies or studio companies. Anyway the city was beautiful. imageAfter the audition I took nice long walk through the city, saw amazing buildings and got a very yummy german pretzel and coffee. I stayed in a hostel which was different. What an experience lol! If I had to take shower I had to go to the 4th floor to take one and if I had to use the bathroom I had to actually leave my room and go down the hall…it was very different showered nooo heat!

After that weekend I had to auditions/rehearsals for Le Fille Mal Gardee for the role in the Gypsy Dance which is performing at the Bolshoi Theater in February. Its character dance part in the show. I went to the ballet auditions and I wasn’t needed probably due to my skin color and the fact I’m not anorexic and Russian. I wasn’t surprised. I am glad I was selected for first cast in the Gypsy Dance and I am excited because I am getting to perform at the Bolshoi Theater which will be such a special experience.

Last weekend I auditioned Staatsballett Berlin. I stayed in Berlin for three days. Berlin was freezing and snowing. On the last day there I got to visit Charlottenburg Palace (See pic) It was stunning. imageBut anyway the audition process was long. There were two girl classes and there where girls I knew who were soloists with companies already so I new I wasn’t getting it. The audition was with Nacho Duato who I very much like and I would love to be in that company. I guess I will try next year if I get the chance.

I have been very tired with rehearsals and exam work and auditions. I still have to make videos so I can send them to more companies especially some US companies which I cannot afford to travel to. I would really like to just have a job and not have to worry about asking my mom for money and having her suffer financially because of auditions expenses and food expenses here at the academy and pointe shoes, etc… I am starting to feel like I don’t even care which company I am in…I just want to dance. I am going to try now for more smaller companies even if they are not well known because you have to start somewhere and unless you are like super amazing its going to be hard unfortunately 😦

The next auditions I have lined up begin right after Le Fille performance. I’m not sure if I will go to them at this point due to finances. I am trying to get ready for them but I am loosing my motivation. I have been seriously considering giving up dancing. I am thinking maybe I should give up and just go college and pick a career that is easier because I am already 19 and I have been training very long and I want to start my life and be set. I feel I am not strong enough. I don’t have the financial means to get the coaching needed or to attend the auditions and let’s face it I’m not white. I smile and put on a happy face but deep down feeling defeated. So I have to decide if by end of year I will continue to pursue this classical ballet dream of mine anymore.

In school now we are starting to learn our ballet exam. Its a little weird but we will see how my teacher puts it all together. I have not been able to practice my acting exam because when I have acting rehearsals I have been away on auditions and this weekend my partner is dancing in Milan for a gala so no rehearsals and our exam in on March 22 !! I am a little nervous…

If anyone has advice on the job process feel free message me because its hitting me hard and very stressful.

Thank you for reading and the support :**

http://www.gofundme.com/nicolezadra

Love, Nicole xoxo

Fresh Start 2014! Audition Season is here!!!!

Happy New Year everyone!!! I hope everyone had a great holiday. I am back at the Bolshoi Academy after a nice 3 week break. I was originally going to stay in Russia at the Academy for the entire holiday break because it was too expensive to travel back to NY and I have to save money to travel to auditions but then my love Diego decided to take me to Italy to celebrate the holidays with him and his family. So I went to Italy and spent two amazing weeks with my boy and his family. It was so nice to just spend time with him because I Italy 1hadn’t seen him in about 5 months. I had the full Italian Christmas experience. I also brought the New Year in with Diego which was very special. I had so much fun and I ate so much amazing Italian food. I toured a little bit of Italy. Diego and his friends took me to this amazing Ancient Roman City.  It was just beautiful. As a young girl, I would watch movies filmed in Italy and it was always a dream of mine to go there. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of my love and his family I was able to visit and see a little bit of Italy. I hope to return someday and visit Rome, Venice and other parts of this county so rich in history. It is truly a beautiful country and the people are so warm, friendly and welcoming. Italy 7

Italy 6Italy 3Italy 5Italy 8

After the nice break I feel much better and refreshed to start the New Year and finish my traineeship here. Classes started back up at the Academy this past Monday. The first day was rough. I am very sore! Each day will get easier though as I adjust back into a set schedule.

So onto other news….Job audition season is here!!! ahhh I’m so excited but nervous. Some of you might ask how does audition season work? Well typically companies post auditions and you are required to apply. So I have begun applying. Most ballet dancers won’t tell you where they are applying. I don’t know what the big secret is. I don’t mind sharing my audition experience. In most cases auditions in Europe are by invitation only and I have had to send the company my CV, a headshot and some ballet photos. I have applied and I have had much success! So far I am invited to audition (all by invite only) at the Het National Ballet in Amsterdam, Zurich Jr. Company in Switzerland, The Bavarian State Ballet in Munich, Germany, Dresden SemperOper Ballett and Staatsoper Hannover Ballet both also in Germany. Today I was very happy to receive another invite to audition at the StattsBallett Berlin which one of my favorite companies! Its next weekend so I don’t know if I will be able to go for financial reasons 😦

My first two auditions are this weekend! I will travel on Friday to Amsterdam for the Het National Ballet Audition which is on Saturday. Then literally right after that audition I will board a plane for Munich to attend the audition there on Sunday. I am a nervous wreck! I will be traveling all alone. I am not a very good traveler. I always have panic attacks because airports are too crazy for me and I have such bad luck with them. I am always getting lost. To make matters worse this time I have to take the train in Russia to get to the airport, which I have never done before either! I’m so scared but I have to save money where I can and since the train is only one third the cost of a taxi I have to take a chance a try it. Once I arrive in Amsterdam a nice boy who is a student at Het National Ballet School has offered to pick me up from the airport, show me how to travel to my hotel by train and then after I check into my hotel we are going to hang out and he is going to show me around Amsterdam on Friday night. Then Saturday I will attend the audition and jet off right after the audition to Munich. I’m so grateful to him. It’s such a relief. I wish I knew someone in Munich to do the same lol. Like I said I am a little nervous because I do not know where I am really going but at least people speak English in both countries. I hope these auditions go well. I’m going with an open mind and no matter what happens I will look at these auditions as learning experiences if nothing else comes from them. As of now these are the only 2 auditions I can definitely attend due to financial reasons. I had to pass up the audition in Zurich last week because it was just too expensive. With the exception of the Berlin audition, which is next week and I just found out about an hour ago that I was invited, I have a few weeks to save for the other auditions so I’m trying my best. Also once more companies post audition notices I will apply and hopefully they will be later in the season so I have more money saved to attend.

The life of a ballet dancer is a struggle. Every day I work so hard, and never feel good enough. Living in Russia makes it even harder. Since being here I struggle with my weight, I’m still trying to get to my goal weight but it seems impossible here. The food the academy serves a not healthy and there’s no fitness equipment. It’s too cold to go out running. My self-esteem is shot from the constant rejection here at the Academy. I also miss my family terribly. I am 19 and at the point in my life where I just want to get to the next level and have a job, support myself and know where I am going to be. Please cross your fingers for me as I begin the audition process. I need luck now more than ever.

Check back next week for a picture blog from my adventures in Amsterdam and Munich!

I just want to thank the lovely Buttiglione Family for having me in their home for the holidays. I also want to thank everyone who has supported me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support from everyone. I hope you all have a very happy, healthy, wealthy, peaceful, blessed successful new year!

Italy

Buttiglione Family and Friends

Love, Nicole xoxo

My Accident and Advice to Summer Intensive Students

So I want to apologize first to those of you who are followers of my GoFundMe page. I wanted to blog more frequently as I stated in my last post on GoFundMe but right after my last post I had a bad accident.

Early last week it was just another day here in Moscow at the Academy. My friend woke me up in the morning to go to breakfast. It took me awhile to get up but I finally did. We went to the cafeteria and I started to feel dizzy on the line for our food. I said I think I’m going to go back and so I started walking. The next thing I know is that I am on the floor. There is blood on my hands, I felt little parts of my teeth and I see tons of people screaming my name! The nurse picked me up and took to the isolator (it’s our school doctor’s office). I remember just crying because I kept spitting out my teeth and I didn’t know where the blood was coming from. I was so scared. Then the nurse told me that the blood was coming from the bottom of my chin which was sliced open and that I needed stitches, I also had broken teeth and my face swelled up. From the isolator I called my mom on Facetime. It was like 1am in NY. I just cried to her. I was so scared and I could tell she was too. She worked out the medical insurance stuff and two of my friends here took me to the American Medical Center in Moscow were I received stitches under my chin.

So even though we don’t know for sure and won’t know until I go back to NY and have a full exam done apparently we think I fainted because I haven’t been drinking enough water. I guess my body just shut down and I passed out. I went straight forward down and smashed my chin on the hard floor, splitting open my skin. I clenched down on my teeth at same time when I fell I ended up having to get stitches. I also damaged my teeth pretty badly. I will have to get dental work done when I am home in NY also. Thankfully the broken teeth are on the side of my mouth and not my front teeth. I couldn’t really eat until the swelling in my face went down and the pain from my teeth and jaw healed.
After my initial visit to the medical center I returned a few days later and the cleaned the wound and changed the dressing. Then this past Tuesday April 30th I returned to the medical center again and they removed my stitches. I also had a nice conversation with my doctor about where we are both from. He was from Peru. He did an excellent job as you can see below. The before and after pictures below show my chin with the stitches and then when the stitches were removed. The other pic is a pic I took today. Only 4 days later and it looks almost fully healed. The scaring is minimal to none! I am so relieved! It really healed well! Someone up there is definitely looking out for me 😉

Today 5/3/13

I want to give some advice to all the young dancers who are will be heading off to their chosen summer intensives this summer. You will be working very hard in the studios this summer and dancing in the heat. Please make sure you drink plenty of water and eat fruit to maintain your blood sugar levels. You always hear people saying drink water to stay healthy and it is true. I would have never thought that this would happen to me. It can happen to anyone. I hope you will think about what happened to me, learn from it and always remember get a good night’s sleep, eat and drink plenty of water every day so you don’t end up getting hurt the way I did. We can only be our best if we feel our best and take care of our health.

Love, Nicole

Something different for you! Photo Blog: Spring, Adventures, Exams, Performance, etc..

Third Course Acting Exam Bolshoi Ballet Academy 2013

Third Course Acting Exam Bolshoi Ballet Academy 2013

Third Course Acting Exam Bolshoi Ballet Academy 2013

Third Course Acting Exam Bolshoi Ballet Academy 2013

My first performance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy 3/1/13

My first performance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy 3/1/13

 

After first performance with girls from Italy

After first performance with girls from Italy

Tickets to see Bolshoi Ballet perform w/Andrea from Sweden

Tickets to see Bolshoi Ballet perform w/Andrea from Sweden

Svetlana Zakharova!

Svetlana Zakharova!

Art sculpture in Moscow

Art sculpture in Moscow

Moscow River in Spring

Moscow River in Spring

In front of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy on 4/14/2013

In front of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy on 4/14/2013

With Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation Michael A. McFaul and his wife

With Ambassador of the United States of America to the Russian Federation Michael A. McFaul and his wife

April, Easter and Exams

Well it’s April already and I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. It is still very cold here even though Spring began March 1st. The sun is shining more which is nice.

The 3rd course graduating class had their acting exams recently. As I mentioned before my class assisted with Ksusha’s final acting exam. She acted out the Mad Scene from Giselle. She did an excellent job. To be a part of her exam, to be on stage with my class during her scene and for the finale was a great experience. I now have a good idea as to what will be expected of me next year should I be fortunate enough to return to the Academy to complete my studies.

Here is a video created by Ilya Kuznetsov which is of the 3rd course acting exam. I encourage you to watch it not only because you can see a glimpse of me but also so that you can the talent that the Bolshoi Ballet Academy produces. It is truly a privilege to study here and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

To see more videos created by Ilya Kuznetsov please visit http://vimeo.com/ilyaballet

EASTER SUNDAY

Cathedral in Moscow

Easter in Moscow was an adventure. A couple of friends and I woke up early, went to the store and bought eggs to color for Easter. We went to church at noon thinking it was an English speaking Mass but it ended up being in Albanian Mass. It was really different from what I see in church back home. It was still a beautiful mass. We left half way through the mass because we felt out of place since it wasn’t our language or religion which we practice. After that we were went to Burger King for lunch (yea I know very fatty) but we didn’t have enough money so we needed to go someplace cheap. Then we walked to the Moscow Zoo and took some pictures. Unfortunately our day came to a stop when my friend Shans phone was stolen (for the 2nd time). She was pick pocketed by some sketchy guy! I felt so bad because it was the second time her iPhone was stolen. Well after that we went to the American Embassy. At first we couldn’t find it. I knew where it was but no one wanted to listen to me because usually I’m wrong with directions. This time I was 100% sure I was right. We asked around and a nice couple walked us all the way to the embassy. It was exactly where I said it was so of course I could not let that go lol. Anyway, it ended up being closed, so we just went back to the academy and colored eggs. Overall it was an interesting and nice Easter.

Finally my class is now preparing for our ballet exams. The duet exam will take place on May 27th and our character exam is on May 17th. We still did not get a date for our classical ballet exam but it should be around the same time as the other exams. Speaking of exams today most classes were cancelled because graduating 3rd course A and B girls and course 3A boys had their exams on stage. The girls all did a very nice job. They danced beautifully. The 3A boys were amazing. There were a few errors but they danced with artistry and looked look manly and strong. I am so happy that I was able to watch the exams today. Next year I will be in 3A and performing on stage like them so it was good to see what I will be a part of and to know what to expect! It was also very inspiring. I have a renewed motivation to continue to work hard and focus solely on my future. I am very excited and thankful to be part of this school and its legacy of training the best dancers. I only pray now that I will be able to raise the money needed in time to return to the academy in the fall 2013 and complete my traineeship.

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Easter with my Bolshoi family ❤

Well until next time…
Love from Russia,
Nicole

March at the Academy

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe it is already March. Time is flying by here at the Academy! For the past few months I have really been focusing on myself and trying to perfect my technique and pointe work. My goal is to become stronger on pointe. This semester is more intense. I am really enjoying my new class, Historical dance. We learn dances that date back to the 16th and 17th century such as Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance dance.  We get to wear long gown skirts and chopenaa (practice) skirts and the boys wear black long capes and top hats. I love my teacher. She seems to really like me and my partner. We recently had a show were my class and I performed a piece called Siganski which is a type of character dance. We were gypsies. It was really fun! You really have to get into character to look good. The only way you get to perform though is by auditioning. See at the Bolshoi if you want to perform in a show they hold auditions on stage where you do variation, pas, character, etc… and you have to audition in front of Ms. Leonova the director of Bolshoi Academy as well as many other teachers and fellow students. It is very nerve racking and intimidating! Here is a link to our audition:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPT5rNZJhF0

Since the show we started working on exam work. At the end of the year we have an exam class where we have set dances in each class and we get graded on our overall year.  From what I understand we are judged on our technique, artistry, progress, etc…This year I will have an exam in my ballet, duet and character classes. We won’t have our acting exam or historical exam until next year. So I hope to stay next year so I can be part of that and complete my studies here. The exams are all in 2 months. I’m a little nervous for my ballet exam because we haven’t started our exam work yet and we only have 2 months to practice it.

In my variations class I am thinking about changing the variation I have been working on. I am thinking about trying the following variation. It is from Paquita. I posted a link to a video for you to see here (watch from 0:00 to 3:30):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw8P8kjBgXA

So the graduating class a.k.a the Third Course classes have their exam in a few days and my class gets to perform in there acting exam this Thursday with them. We are performing in the Mad scene from Giselle. We are the peasants for Ksusha who is a graduating ballet dancer, very talented and has a very bright future in the ballet world. I guarantee you will read about her someday either Bolshoi Company related or elsewhere in the ballet world. I’m excited to be on the stage again as her support.

In other news…A few weeks my friend and fellow student Remy invited me to go see the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet perform here in Moscow. Remy is from Colorado, where Aspen Santa Fe’s home is. They invited Remy to be their guest of honor. Performing in Russia was an honor for them. They were amazing! I was able to meet some of the dancers and the Company directors thanks to Remy. Not only was the performance excellent but the night was an adventure. Funny story: We were supposed to have a taxi pick us up from the academy to take us to the Theater but the taxi never showed up so we had to run to the metro so we wouldn’t be late. When we arrived at the theater it was like 6:15pm and then we realized the show didn’t actually start till 7ish (we thought 6pm) and our car was picking us up at 615pm from the academy not 515pm. Such a fail lol. Then at the end of the night we had to try to find a taxi and some random guy said he would bring us back. It was really sketchy but thank god Remy got a call from the taxi guy and he showed up to drive us back to academy. In the end we arrived back at the academy very late but it was a great performance!

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Finally I am still desperately seeking a sponsor so that I can return to the academy in September 2013 and complete my final year here. Would you please consider donating or sharing my story? Every dollar helps. I would be truly grateful and I will pay it forward someday.

http://www.gofundme.com/nicolezadra

Well back to rehearsals and exam prep. Wish me luck!

Love, Nicole

My class, 2nd Year Russian Course, with my teacher Irina Sirova

Class