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My 13-year old DD was awarded an invitation to study at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow through her participation in their SI. DD loved their SI!!! Does anyone know anything about the Bolshoi or how we should approach this invitation????

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I am not a parent, but I am a ballet teacher who studied in Russia for two years as an adult (the program for professionals seeking an education in methodology/pedagogy) at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. While it was a remarkable and life changing experience for me, it can be quite a challenge for teenagers. Vaganova Academy did not have any foreign student under age 15 when I was there. I do not know the age range now.


Moscow is a very large city. If you are seriously considering sending your daughter at her age, you do need to do some very serious thinking and research. Good Vaganova training can develop some very wonderful dancers. Generally, the younger a student begins this program of study, the better it can be for the student however there may be qualified training a bit closer to home. Why Moscow at 13? Just an opinion, but it is a bit too young.


Make your list of pros and cons. Include in your list, the question why Moscow when there is qualified training available in the US.

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nicol, are both mother and daughter sharing this BT4D membership name? The profile for 'nicol' identifies the member as a dancer----and some of the previous posts have been from the perspective of a young dancer attending a SI. However, this post---and a few others---have been from the perspective of a parent of a young dancer.


It is our policy here at BT4D that each member have their own screen name. We do not permit the sharing of a single account. Therefore, we ask that one of you add your own account using a different screen name from 'nicol'. We do this so that we can get to know each of our members and can develop a sense of to whom we are all talking with at any given time.


If you are having trouble setting up a second account using the same computer, please check the "How To's" Stickies for guidance. If that fails, hit the "Contact Us" button along the upper right hand side of the blue banner at the top of the screen and our Administrators will be happy to help you. :thumbsup:

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Will do!! Just being lazy, but will start a new account for me as parent. Sorry about confusion!

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Hello napnap. I have posted a link to a UK web site where you could post the same question about training at the Bolshoi. One of the regular members, saperkins1, has a son currently studying at the Bolshoi and has replied to other parents who are thinking about it. Although he is older, 18 or 19 I think, I am sure she would be willing to answer any questions you have about your 13 year old studying there.

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I logged in to BT4D this morning to start a similar thread and saw this one. First of all, let me congratulate you and your DD on her acceptance to the Bolshoi. You must be a very proud Mom at the moment and I hope she is proud of herself. I also understand that this must feel like a monumental decision because my own 15 -year-old DD received her acceptance letter yesterday so our family is going through the same thing.


First of all, I think you have already made a wise decision in coming to BT4D for advice. I first discovered this amazing site when my DD was 13 and I have learned so much here over the past couple of years. The wisdom from the moderators and parents on this board can be invaluable when it comes to making the right choices for our children.


In regard to attending the Bolshoi Academy, I think vrsfanatic gave you some sound advice. This is not an easy decision and I think gathering the facts and making a pro/con list is a good way to begin the process. Since your DD is 13, I am guessing that she attended the Bolshoi's SI in Connecticut - is this correct? My DD attended the New York SI and also loved the experience. However, a letter that discussed Academy acceptances sent to parents during the NY SI stated: "Life and training at the Academy is extremely different from what your children have been experiencing during the summer." To me that indicates that while the SI might give the student an idea of what the classes and teachers might be like, in no way should it be used as an accurate barometer of training at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. For example, two of my DD's teachers at the NY SI did not speak english so an interpreter was present in the classroom. We know that this would not be the case in Moscow and all classes would be taught in Russian.


Personally, I have found that my DD has matured and changed a lot over the past couple of years since she was 13. It was at that age that she really knew she aspired to become a professional dancer. Since that time, she has worked very hard at her training and become much more aware and focused of who she is as a dancer. Attending various Master Classes and SI's ,and being exposed to different teachers and styles, has helped my DD discover more about her strengths as a dancer and where her interests lie. Also, life and interests for girls can change drastically once they start high school and many dancers no longer enjoy the time-consuming committment that pre-professional ballet training demands.


Some of the questions to ask yourself and your DD are: Does your DD think she wants to be professional dancer? How well can she take care of herself? How does she handle isolation and being away from family and friends - not just for a few weeks but for months? How quickly does she pick up foreign languages? Has she travelled out of the US to a foreign country (Canada doesn't count! Ha!)? Does she adapt well to foreign customs and cultures (Life in Moscow would be very different from life here in the US)? Is she ready to give up some of the "normal" things that are so much a part of teenage life in the US such as homecoming, Prom, and other social experiences? And finally, how well would you be able to handle having your precious DD so far away?


As for my own DD, over the last couple of years she has found herself continually drawn to Russian teachers and she has en enormous amount of respect for the Bolshoi. That is what led her to the Bolshoi SI this summer. Fortunately, I am blessed with a very mature, practical daughter and while she was quite flattered by the acceptance letter we are having many long, honest conversations about the realities of such a life. It is important to note that these were not conversations we could have had when she was 13. I have requested more information from the Bolshoi and we will be thinking things through very carefully before reaching any decision. I agree with vrsfanatic that there is qualified training here in the US so we are in no rush to send our DD abroad.


I wish you and your DD the best of luck with this difficult decision. I see that you are almost halfway to the 30 posts needed to be able to PM. Once you reach the magic number please feel free to PM me.


And to the wonderful moderators and parents on the board: If any of you have other thoughts, comments or information regarding Americans training at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow please share it with us. Obviously no one has a crystal ball in terms of a dancer's future and while it's nice to know that our child has potential, one of the letters we received from the Bolshoi wisely stated: "...acceptance to the Academy is not an ultimate determination on whether your student is talented and has what it takes to make it as a ballet dancer." I am well aware that there are no guarantees in life - I guess I'm just wondering if the Bolshoi's training is still held in the same high regard within the ballet community. Any thoughts? Thank you!

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Doubleturn: Just saw your post when I posted my reply. Thanks for the link! I'll make sure to post again and share any information I learn with everyone here.

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Doubleturn: Just saw your post when I posted my reply. Thanks for the link! I'll make sure to post again and share any information I learn with everyone here.

Thank you so much for your very well thought out reply to my inquiry. I am meeting with her new teachers, who are both Bolshoi trained, to get their perspective on the offer. I definitely know she is too young to leave the nest. On the other hand, this is a life-changing decision and we could be passing up a really really important opportunity. I am researching the facts and will keep you in the loop as to what I learn. Thanks again! I love this forum!!!!!

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Mom of napnap, PLEASE get your own account here ASAP. We cannot have you posting using a young dancer account.

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Mom of napnap, PLEASE get your own account here ASAP. We cannot have you posting using a young dancer account.

I did! I changed my profile from "dancer" to "parent" and my name. What more do I have to do? The account is totally in my name, and my identity is parent. What more do I have to do??? This is not my dancer's account by any means......

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Okay, sorry, napnap. I thought I was changing the name for your daughter.

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Having met with my DD's new teacher who was trained at Bolshoi and has a relative teaching on staff at the Bolshoi, the consensus was that my DD does not have to attend the Bolshoi in Russia to receive excellent training. Her reason was primarily language. Unlike the SI, there is no interpreter. Also, her teacher believes DD would get more attention at her present school. She added that this was quite an honor to be invited and this is something we will always have on our resume. The Bolshoi Academy is one of the best training facilities in the world and acceptance is a testament to my DD's potential and talent. Unless your DD is fluent in Russian, or picks up second langauges really fast, this would not be the best choice for her training. I hope this advice helps other people thinking about this same dilemma!

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And then there is a dancer such as Sasha Radetsky and many others who have gone to both the Bolshoi Academy and also the Vaganova Academy at an older age and have done quite well. The decision is an individual one, but as far as I can tell, there seems to be a concensus, 13 is way too young for many reasons.


Congratulaions to your DD. It is wonderful to be given such an opportunity. She can always try to enter at a later date, if that is where her interests continue to lie. :)

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Dd has finally given me her "permission" to say that she has also received an invitation to study at the Bolshoi Academy. She had anticipated this last year after auditioning for last year's summer program, but sustained a significant injury and then became ill, which made things even more difficult, and she never even got to attend the SI as planned last summer. Actually, she began treatment for her illness just one month before the SI this year after an insanely long diagnosis time. So, after a VERY difficult year and a half, she was very excited to hear that she was indeed invited for the year-round program this year.


I will add that we have not jumped into this decision lightly; we have discussed the possibility for over a year. Dd is 18, graduated spring 2008 from a residency program 3,000 miles away from home, after spending two years at the program. She has had Russian teachers from the age of 10, and has developed a good working knowledge of the language, at least in the ballet classroom. She spent a good deal of time this past year studying the language on her own and can write and read most of the language, but is still a ways to go as far as understanding everything and becomint fluent in speaking, although spending time with the Bolshoi students who came to the New York program really helped in that regard. My husband's employer has an office in Moscow, so her health insurance will be taken care of under the policy available to the Russian employees of the company. In addition, her "at home" teacher is from Moscow, trained at the Bolshoi Academy himself and has secured a number of contacts for her that can help her if she needs help with anything. She knows a number of the other students attending the program as well. In addition, she is aquainted with a family in town that has known her (through ballet of course) for several years. So, for her, the program looks like it will be a good fit.


It will take time to get all of the paperwork taken care of, but we have some good advisors helping with that aspect, and we hope that she will be able to leave in about 5-6 weeks time for Moscow.

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