Every year since 2010, the Academy has been hosting summer intensive master classes in choreography disciplines for students from the USA. The master classes are a part of a collaboration project jointly pursued by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and Russian American Foundation.  This year, the master classes took place from August 16 until 26.

Fourteen students attended them. Training in dance-related disciplines is supplemented with training in Russian conducted with due account of the features of educational process at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.   

2017 Bolshoi Ballet Academy Survey – Questions for NSLIY Masterclass Participants

 

1. DID YOU GAIN ANY NEW EXPERIENCE OR LEARN ANYTHING NEW FROM WORKING WITH ACADEMY TEACHERS?

Kiva, Wisconsin, Age 17

Walking away from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy summer program six weeks later, I feel almost like a completely new dancer. Though we only had a short amount of time with our primary teachers, Ekaterina and Mikhail, they worked tirelessly to make every class a new learning experience. Even though I train in the Vaganova style of Russian ballet in America, working with Russian teachers allowed me to learn the true essence of Russian classical ballet, untouched by American influences. The detail-oriented manner in which our teachers focused on our technique taught me to holistically consider every aspect of a movement, especially how that particular movement coincides with the movements of other dancers in one’s class or performance. As a result, I feel as though I am much more conscientious of the people around me, and much more aware when dancing in a group of how to make it look like a perfectly coordinated whole.

Emilie, Washington, Age 15

I feel that I have gained a lot of experience from working with the academy teachers.  They have made my ballet experience at Bolshoi very enjoyable.  Екатерина is simply an amazing teacher.  She worked with our class very well.  Giving useful corrections and encouraging us in class.  She also gave individual corrections to us and made us all feel important to the class. She had a very positive and happy attitude.  I always looked forward to classes with her.  And Mikhail was a lovely teacher as well.  He also gave very useful corrections to us all individually as well as to the group as a whole.  I really enjoyed his style of teaching and choreography.   Overall I feel I am coming out of this program as a better dancer.  Thanks to these amazing teachers I have grown and learned so much.

Catherine, Virginia, Age 17

The Academy teachers taught me a lot in ballet class.  One of my new experiences from dancing there is having class on raked floors.  In the United States I have never had to dance on raked floors so I had to adjust and grew as a dancer in doing so.  Also, I learned variations I had never danced before, for example Esmerelda and Bridesmaid from Don Quijote.

Lindsay, California, Age 15

Despite the language barrier, working with Academy teachers was an amazing experience.  Not only were they motivating and passionate, but also incredibly specific when teaching.  They were much different from my teachers at home, and this new style of teaching helped me improve my technique and precision over the six weeks I spent in Moscow.

Gillian, Pennsylvania, Age 17

Yes, I believe that all of my fundamental ballet knowledge has been improved substantially, and that I also learned more Russian from being in their classes.


2. WHAT KIND OF GOALS DID YOU SET FOR YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PROGRAM AND WERE YOU ABLE TO REACH THEM?

Kiva, Wisconsin, Age 17

Going into this program, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, so I didn’t have specific goals in mind. My overall goal was to learn as much as I possibly could, and to give all that I could in every class, because I will most likely never have this opportunity again. Although some days were more difficult than others, I feel like I walked away from the program having accomplished this goal. I definitely improved both my technique and my artistry, and I leave the Academy with no regrets; I know that because of the support of my amazing teachers I was able to do my absolute best and to improve more and more with every class.

Emilie, Washington, Age 15

At the beginning of the program my goal was to become a stronger dancer.  As well as grow in my Russian language skills.  I feel that classes here are at a level of teaching skill that I could never get back in America.  I feel I have met both these goals and beyond with the help of the academy and the wonderful teachers and staff.

Catherine, Virginia, Age 17

One of my goals was to understand what my ballet teacher spoke in Russian during class. I was able to do so after weeks of learning Russian in language class.  After a while I didn’t have any trouble understanding my ballet instructors.  Another goal was to be able to dance on raked floors.  I reached that goal after a week of dancing on the angled floors versus flat.

Lindsay, California, Age 15

My goal at the beginning of the program was to really refine my technique and improve as much as possible.  Because of the Academy teachers and their support, I feel that I have become more confident and stronger as a dancer.

Gillian, Pennsylvania, Age 17

I wanted to be able to understand the people speaking around me, as well as have a basic conversation and I believe that I have met these goals.


3. HOW DID YOU LIKE RUSSIA? MOSCOW? THE ACADEMY?

Kiva, Wisconsin, Age 17

I absolutely loved the time that I spent in Moscow, Russia this summer. Russia is such a unique country that not many people are able to experience in their lifetime. Moscow specifically is a beautiful hybrid of rich Russian history juxtaposed with modern culture. It was cosmopolitan in a way that felt familiar, but down every street there was something new to explore, from places as simple as a hole-in-the-wall Russian comic book store, to the grandeur of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Having the privilege of living and training at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy only heightened the quality of my experience in Russia. There were definitely challenges associated with living in an entirely different country, but the Bolshoi Ballet Academy teachers and staff did everything they could to make our time there as rewarding as possible, and I feel so lucky to have been able to experience daily life in a true Russian ballet academy.

Emilie, Washington, Age 15

So far I can say that I have absolutely loved staying in Russia.  I never dreamed of an experience like this and I still feel so lucky every day.  Moscow is such a beautiful city with so many things to do and beautiful sights to see.  The people as well have been wonderful to meet and get to know.  I also enjoyed staying in the Academy.  The staff has been friendly, welcoming, and helpful.  Overall I have had a very positive and enjoyable experience.

Catherine, Virginia, Age 17

I liked Russia a lot the Academy made the experience in Moscow very memorable.  Being able to go out and see the famous landmarks of Moscow was an incredible experience.  I loved dancing at the Academy with amazing ballet teachers in class.  Along with the ballet Moscow has a vibrant array of people who are incredibly kind.  

Lindsay, California, Age 15

My experience in Russia will truly be unforgettable.  Moscow is an amazing city that seemed so foreign at the beginning of the six weeks, but has now become comfortable.  Living at the academy was also comfortable, brought me closer to all of my friends, and allowed me to interact with other international dancers.

Gillian, Pennsylvania, Age 17

I loved being in Russia, experiencing the culture and language was a priceless experience. The Academy was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience, it was a place to cement everything that I was learning, and I feel incredibly honored to have even set foot inside of it.

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