Sunday, January 4, 2015

Farewell 2014

Dear Friends,

Happy 2015! I flew home from Moscow just in time for Christmas, and have been reveling in the joys of family and my beautiful hometown during the holiday season. Being at home has given me some time to reflect back on 2014 and its many ups and downs, and although it was a year of growth and good experiences, it was also a year filled with incredible sadness and stress... To put it simply, I am ready for a fresh start! 

However, before I leap into the new year, there are a few highlights from my second year at МГАХ (the Bolshoi Ballet Academy) that I would like to share. Although my life in Russia is in no way easy, I am very grateful to be training in a place that is such a constant inspiration, and to be working with such phenomenal people!    

During the months of September and October I was able to attend rehearsals for Rhapsodia, an incredible Hungarian character piece. All of the places were already filled by dancers who had either performed or rehearsed it the year before, but I still went to every rehearsal, ready to step in at a moments notice. Svetlana Ivanova, a teacher who I have known and respected since my first summer with Bolshoi in New York in 2012, ran the rehearsals. 
Rhapsodia is such a large piece that we generally rehearsed it in our academy's theatre. One evening I was standing in the wings with other understudies while the dancers took their places onstage, and one girl was missing. Svetlana Ivanova turned towards us and told me to take the empty spot, which was the very front of the stage right line. I was thrilled and very nervous, and with less than a week until the performance, I was determined to prove that I could hold my own and dance well. That evening I rehearsed in the dorm with my partner, Jotaro, and the next day we danced in the dress rehearsal. I didn't know if I would have the chance to perform in the concert, and when the girl whose place I had taken returned to the academy, I thought that I would be removed from Rhapsodia. But Svetlana Ivanova placed the girl in a different spot and left me where I was, and on October 29th, I danced with joy in the concert. Rhapsodia was a piece I had dreamed of dancing ever since the first time I saw it, and it was an honor being onstage with my fellow dancers and friends. 
The concert was held at our academy as part of a character dance festival that included students from different dance schools across Russia including the Vaganova Ballet Academy and Igor Moiseyev Ballet. 

Rhapsodia - Jotaro and I are the first couple on the viewer's farthest left

                  After the concert with Svetlana Ivanova
With friends from USA and UK, Carleigh and Tala 
Bolshoi students with dancers from school of Igor Moiseyev 
With friend Francesca, from Romania
With friend Madison, from New Zealand
With partner and friend Jotaro, from Japan
Waiting in the wings
One of the most wonderful things about studying at the academy is the affordable student tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre. The September-December 2014 season was amazing, with such ballets as Lady of the Camellias, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, Taming of the Shrew, Legend of Love, Onegin, and Nutcracker gracing the expansive Bolshoi stage. 

The beautiful Bolshoi Theatre
Side view of the enormous columns 
The beginning of Taming of the Shrew on the New Stage- Spot Sergei Filin! (Hint: He's wearing red)
Ekaterina Krysanova, Vladislav Lantratov, Anastasia Stashkevich, Semyon Chudin, and artists of the Bolshoi in Jean Christophe Malliot's The Taming of the Shrew
Bows from Onegin
Ekaterina Krysanova and Semyon Chudin in La Sylphide 
After Legend of Love with prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova

Thank you to everyone for believing in me and for helping me pursue my dream! 
With gratitude and warm wishes for the new year, 
P.S. Please consider visiting my GoFundMe page and making a donation! Every amount, no matter how small or large, helps more than you can imagine.