The start of my fourth and final year here at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy was made extra special in that I was part of the formal Opening Ceremony which takes place every 1st September to celebrate the year’s graduates and the arrival of the new students in the first class. It really initiated the year with a special energy and made me feel really excited to embark on my final, graduation year.
The Opening Ceremony involves all the graduates standing on one side of the Academy stage facing the new students on the other side of the stage. On the command of our Rector, Marina Konstantina Leonova, we walk over and hand them a pair of old pointe shoes, as a symbol of the journey that will one day lead them to handing over their pointe shoes to a new set of younger students.
With the Opening Ceremony over, we were straight back to work. All of our teachers are already prep-ing us for our final year exams which will take place in April. Our acting and character teachers are rehearsing separately with us for pieces that will make up our graduating exams. For acting, I will dance Phrygia’s Adagio from Spartacus and a scene from Neumeier’s the Little Mermaid, while for character, I am working on a tarantella. Once a week we practice on the stage for duet which is great because it feels like we are preparing for work!
In addition, to this I’m taking part in a competition in Brussels in October so I’ve been rehearsing the Aurora third act variation from Sleeping Beauty and the Spanish variation from Paquita as my two classical entries, plus a neo-classical piece choreographed for me by Alisher Hasanov, that is also coincidentally called the Little Mermaid.
Amongst all the hard work, we’ve also managed to have some fun; our teacher obtained tickets for us to go see the Stars of the 21st Century Gala at the Kremlin, which included such fantastic dancers as Maria Vinogradova, Ivan Vasiliev, Roberto Bolle and Semyon Chudin. We made this into a real occasion by visiting Fresh beforehand, all in all making for an extremely inspiring and wonderful evening.