Life as a professional ballet dancer …

I find it hugely satisfying to be able to say that after four years of intensive training at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, I’ve now made a start on my career as a professional ballet dancer.  If you’d like to follow my journey as a professional go over to my Instagram page here.

I’m thoroughly enjoying leading a more independent life; one where I return to my new flat in Moscow every evening and reflect on my full day of rehearsals for upcoming performances whilst soaking up the hustle and bustle offered by the centre of Moscow.


My first venue – International House of Music, Moscow.

My day usually starts at 10am with company class, after which we rehearse all the upcoming shows until 5pm.  My first performance was in Moscow followed by my first tour which took place in Belarus.  We’ll be continuing with an extensive tour of Russia leading up to a December and January tour in Italy, which I’m really looking forwards to.

When we’re on tour we train at the theatre that we will be performing in; starting with the usual ballet class and then moving onto rehearsals.  We travel in a tour bus most of the time!  The journeys are often long and during the night so can be quite tiring but also fun when our artistic director starts an impromptu sing-a-long!  We also get great service at the hotels we are staying in for the Russian tour; everyone in Russia loves ballet dancers!

The company performs a wide ranging repertoire; so far I’ve performed in Snow White, Cinderella, Carmen, Polovtsian Dances, Giselle, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and later we’ll be dancing Swan Lake.  Most enjoyable for me was dancing Giselle which has been a dream of mine since it’s one of the great classics.  I’m also looking forwards to dancing Swan Lake as this has been an aspiration for as long as I can remember.

Tala Lee-Turton, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, professional ballet dancer, Carmen

Getting ready to perform in Carmen.

Above, on stage and in costume for Giselle.

Above, on stage and in costume for Polovtsian Dances.

Tala Lee-Turton Bolshoi Ballet Academy Nutcracker

Chinese, Spanish and Waltz dancers – Nutcracker

I’m also really pleased to have performed in my first Nutcracker as a professional with a soloist part – the Chinese dance!

Tala Lee-Turton Bolshoi Ballet Academy; Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Overall this is an exciting time in my life – full of new possibilities which I am keen to grasp!


  1. jennhulme 20/10/2016 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Well done Tala – I can’t wait for the opportunity to see you perform – Good luck xx

  2. Monica Newell 20/10/2016 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Very interesting for us to read about life as a professional dancer in Russia . Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations – what an amazing achievement to be given a place with a Russian Ballet Company. Lets hope they tour to UK

    • Tala Lee-Turton 21/10/2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Thank you, Monica – we’ll be touring in Ireland and Northern Ireland next year xxx

  3. tutusbymonica 20/10/2016 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Very interesting for us to read about life in a Russian Ballet Company. Must be unbelievably hard work ! Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

  4. renew or redo 27/01/2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Saw my first ballet live this year.. amazing work you dancers do.. I love the ballet and looking forward to seeing all ballets that come in my area… great work hope see you perform

  5. Curtis 08/08/2017 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Which company are you currently with right now?

  6. Linda McLeod 06/09/2017 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    I would like to see you dance when the Russian State Ballet appears in Yeovil in Somerset, in October. Which productions are you dancing in whilst appearing in Yeovil and which parts are you playing? This information will help me decide which performance to book! Best wishes, Linda McLeod

    • Tala Lee-Turton 07/09/2017 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Hi Linda I will be performing in both Romeo and Juliet (17th Oct) and Nutcracker (20th Nov)and will have plenty of stage time. The casting of the soloist roles won’t be agreed until much nearer though but I am likely to have more soloist work in Nutcracker than R&J. Hope that helps! If you do book, let me know which one, and if you are able to wait behind I will hopefully get to say hello at the end of the performance 🙂

      • Linda McLeod 07/09/2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the prompt reply, Tala. I will let you know as soon as I have booked tickets. It would be lovely to say hello after the performance!

  7. jennhulme 07/09/2017 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Hi Tala – I’ve got the message with the link on for your schedule from your Gra I’ve just had one lot of surgery on my left leg and I have a pre-op next Thursday for the left leg so hopefully I will know better then – looking forward to seeing you achieve your dream lol Jenn xx

  8. jennhulme 07/09/2017 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Sorry that should have been right leg first and now the left one !! blonde moment xx

  9. Linda McLeod 14/09/2017 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Hi Tala, My husband and I have booked to see The Nutcracker in November at Yeovil. We are really looking forward to seeing it. We would love to see you after the show just to say Hi and maybe take a photo, if that is allowed. Best wishes, Linda and John McLeod.

    • Tala Lee-Turton 14/09/2017 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Linda, that’s lovely 🙂 I’ll look forward to seeing you both. If you come around to the stage door after the performance and I’ll come and find you as soon as I can xxx

  10. Lisa 15/10/2017 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Hi Tala,
    My daughter is now training at Bolshoi and your blog has really helped me feel connected to her experience. The time difference as well as the wi-fi connectivity make it challenging to connect. I was wondering, how did you make the decision to remain in Russia after you received your diploma? Also, how did you decide on your summer intensives? Did you come to NYC? Right now, I’m trying to figure out the summer. Thanks so much, Lisa

    • Tala Lee-Turton 15/10/2017 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Lisa thank you very much for your comments and questions. I’m so pleased my blog has helped!

      I didn’t attend the NY summer intensive. Simply because, as I already spent most of the year away from home in Moscow, I didn’t also want to spend six weeks of my summer break in NY aswell. So I opted for shorter summer programmes, such as the one in Prague, or the Royal Ballet Sumner School, to benefit from different teachers and different styles that would complement my Bolshoi training. (There are some posts on my blog about my summer training.)

      I also decided to stay in Russia after graduation, as it’s a great training ground to build your performance and professional experience. There are many good, State-funded companies. Coming out of the Bolshoi, you have a very distinctive Russian-style and I wanted to make best use of that in a good Russian company, refining my technique and professional practice, before looking further afield.

      I hope that helps? What year and class is you daughter in currently?

  11. Linda McLeod 21/11/2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Hi Tala, Just to let you know I saw the performance of The Nutcracker yesterday at Yeovil. Congratulations to you and all the cast for a wonderful performance! I am sorry that we did not manage to meet up after the performance but it is good that we can keep in touch via wordpress. I will follow your career with great interest. You are a special link to my dear, deceased mother via Juanita and the Gangou brothers. Best wishes for the rest of the tour. Linda Mcleod

    • Tala Lee-Turton 21/11/2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Linda I’m so pleased you enjoyed the show! I did wait for you by the stage door and came round to the front so sorry if you waited and we missed each other! I also have a website now where you can direct message me at [email protected] I really appreciate your support and am so pleased you made it to one of the shows 😊

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