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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Bolshoi Ballet Academy--Moscow, Russia

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pj - Thank you so much for taking the time to share this important information with all of us. We are learning so much from you about your daughter's experiences in Moscow. I am so sorry that your family had to endure this situation and am relieved to hear that your daughter is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery.

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OMG pj, what a nightmare for your family and your DD. That she survived intack is a testament to your family!! Job well done!!! :thumbsup: This is every parents fear when deciding to send our dancer's off to a different province/state/country for their dancing dreams..(ps...this could turn into a book/movie down the road )

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Thanks everyone for all of the good wishes. While it definitely was a trying time, I am very glad that there are cell phones, low-cost international telephone plans, and I really think the Embassy went above and beyond in their excellent intercession on my daughter's behalf. Our whole family did actually sleep at night, especially once she was in the American Hospital, because the Embassy was keeping close tabs on her, and the doctor was very easy to communicate with.


In addition to this, I've mentioned that we have a very excellent support system of three families available to my daughter for emergencies. All three families pulled out the stops to give her assistance that she needed while she was in the public hospitals, despite the fact that they could not visit her, in accordance with Russian law.


I will mention that this is only the tip of the iceberg, but enough of the iceberg for all of you to recognize the situation if dd ever gets that book written. ...and we'll all look back on this time and laugh.... :thumbsup:

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  • 3 weeks later...

DD is now allowed to dance on a limited basis. She has FINALLY met her teacher, who was gone at the beginning of the school year and did not come back to teach on campus until after dd was hospitalized. Due to a miscommunication with the doctor at school and the administration of the international department, dd had not been allowed to even watch ballet classes, although she had been watching her other classes, and was attending Acting and Russian Language classes.


DD has some interesting observations about the teachers and the program at the Bolshoi Academy that might be helpful for anyone who is considering sending their child there.


DD had heard horror stories about her teacher from the other students in the class. Thankfully, dd has found that for herself, the horror stories were greatly exaggerated, probably due to certain students' ulterior motives. :blink::blink: She loves her teacher, loves the class and the corrections, and says that even though the teacher has very high standards, she is compassionate about allowing students who are hurting in some way to sit and watch rather than participate in class. She does not belittle students who are hurting and does not question their motives for wanting to sit out. Outside of class, dd finds her very kind and interested in her students.


For clarification, in addition to the classes I listed previously, dd also has a Historical Dance class that meets once a week for 2 hours. Just today, she has permission to attend a rep/rehearsal class and she actually got to participate! She is very happy that she is finally moving forward from her illness. She says that Character class will be the last class she adds back into her schedule because it is very challenging and requires a lot of energy to do correctly.


Also, dd has greater insight into the intensity of the program, which she initially had some concerns about (she was thinking it was far less intense than she was used to). Apparently, especially among the lower levels, they have a LOT of academic intensity and these younger kids (ages 10-16, generally) have 10 periods of classes per day, including dancing, and then also rehearsals are on top of that. They are often finishing either academics or dance classes as late as 7:30 p.m., after beginnning at 9:00 a.m. When dd is finally allowed to participate fully and has a rehearsal schedule, she feels she will be very happy to not have any academics beyond Russian Language to keep up with.

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Wow pj! I have not been up to date on your postings and had to read them a couple of times to make sure I got everything! What a roller coaster ride and the quite a testament to perseverance. You must have been frantic and are still holding your collective breaths. I am confused on her hospital stay but I respect your privacy.

I am looking forward to hearing you describe her wonderful and interesting adventures now that she is is on the mend!




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Oh, pj! What an experience! I'm glad your daughter is back to dancing at least on a limited basis and has met her teacher. I have read through your posts to get a picture of your journey and I really admire you and your daughter for your perseverance through this time. Hope things continue in a positive way from here on out!

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  • 5 months later...

This is so interesting - I just read this thread. PJ - is your daughter still there? how is it going? I'm dying to know how this ends! Everyone has a unique path - that is for sure.

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Love Ballet, thank you for posting the article. The young lady is indeed an exceptional dancer and attended the same ballet school as DD. I can't wait until she returns from ballet class so I can show her the article, although she will probably have heard about it during class!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

A friend of mine who attends there says that the school is split into two parts- a russian school and an international school, the international school being the less talented students who pay for training whereas the russian school's students attend for free. I was just wondering if this is this true?

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Actually, the school is not separated quite like the way you are describing, but I can see how someone with the information given to them by the school would think that. The way the school is set up is that there are 3 "courses" for the higher grades, which correspond loosely to high school years in the U.S. The lower grades are also divided into "classes" 1-5.' There are a variety of ages in each "class" and "course," but there is usually not much more than a 2 year spread in the "classes," and a 3 year spread in the "courses." 3rd Course is the graduating class. Now, within those "classes" and "courses" (aka levels), there are several sections of each. Usually 3 sections, or sometimes 4 sections. Within those sections, students are placed in such a way that solely Russian students comprise at least one section, solely Foreign students comprise at least one section, and the other section(s) are comprised of a mix of foreign and Russian students. In addition, those sections are divided into "boys" and "girls." Each section has academic and "other than ballet" classes (i.e., character, acting, modern, historical, partnering) with boys and girls combined. Ballet classes and "variations" classes are with the main ballet teacher, and are divided by gender. In addition, the complexity of the schedule is such that it is difficult to move between levels. There are about 700 students in the school, with about 100 being foreign. Many of the Russian students are commuters, and live at home in Moscow, not in the dorms.

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Ah, I see now. Thank you for clearing that up! :) I'm going to be attending there next year and was worried that I wouldn't get quite as good of an education as the Russian students.

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