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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Bolshoi Ballet Academy--Moscow, Russia

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Without a doubt, it was a life changing year for our daughter. Seeing how the rest of the world views America was very humbling for her. She's passed her language exam and qualified as bilingual. Can other students benefit from this program? Certainly. Can those same students have the same or better experiences staying in the States? Certainly. We don't regret letting her go. She went in eyes wide open, and even then struggled with the harsh realities of life at the academy so far from home. Speaking to parents, I feel it's important for you to have a clear picture of what it's like at the famous academy. They certainly turn out some top notch dancers...and we're seeing how great the cost.

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Hi txmomof6:) I read your dd's blog and forwarded onto my dd. I found her writing to be engaging, a fair representative of life there and a great read. Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for pulling back the curtain in Oz Txmomof6. . . They do create amazing dancers. I like the way that your DD's blog really highlights how culture impacts training and how pervasive it really is.

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This was certainly interesting reading. And you've 100% convinced me that this is NOT a place I would ever consider sending my daughter. My DD will have to live without the "enhanced" resume.

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  • 10 months later...


my 16 DD has been accepted at Bolshoi and most likely she will leave after the summer. She is currently at SFBallet and a twin. So it is a big choice for her. Out of pure luck, I have traveled in 65 countries in the world, but only been to St Petersburg ( at the Gorbaciov times) and *never* to Moscow. My daughter used to do a lot of rhythmic gymnastic and she is sort of used to the 'Russian' style, but still we have many questions.

The director told us that they would like to place her in the Russian program directly, but they have not told us at which level. They told us that the determining factor is her ability to speak Russian. Her Russian is very basic ( can understand basic class instructions, but that is it).

Does anybody know how many levels there are? And where one should be expected to be put as a 16 yo.

Also - I'd like to get in touch with other families who are over there. Does anybody know how to find them? We are half American and half French and Italian. There are some interesting comments about not identifying yourself as american and was wondering if anybody knows if she should enter as a French or Italian student.

If you have any experience I would love to know!

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I hope your DD thinks carefully about her training choices. My DD went to Russia to train ( not Bolshoi) at age 17. After one year of study she was offered a trainee spot at SFB which she happily accepted. There's more to the studying at a famous Russuan school than the prestige of being accepted there. Think about it carefully

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My DD has been with SFB since preballet. she and her sister are the one with the longest tenure at the school. Would love to hear more on what is behind the comment: "Think about carefully". Although I am European, we live in SF and the route to Russia is long. I personally am OK with the harder training, but I would hate if she was to find herself in a sour and rotten environment. At SFB the kids are lovely, very supportive of each other. They dance, go out of icecream, go to the movie...

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  • 1 month later...

sissi, I had meant to reply to your inquiries last month, but life got in the way. I am so sorry. I had some good stuff to say haha. Where is your d now? Did you decide to send her to the Bolshoi academy?

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  • 1 month later...

This was certainly interesting reading. And you've 100% convinced me that this is NOT a place I would ever consider sending my daughter. My DD will have to live without the "enhanced" resume.



Yes. Me too. Each child is different but I don't share the same values as the Russian system and so I know that it would not be a placement for my DD.

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  • 9 months later...

Is it possible to go and "train" in Moscow at Bolshoi during the school year for a month or so based off of an audition tape and/or letter of recommendation? We are not interested in the year round program.  We have friends that live in Moscow and would like to take advantage of their generous offer of hospitality.

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  • 5 months later...

I am not sure if things might have changed, or if people take different prospective on things. Our school first had a dancer at Bolshoi-Moscow program for a year, not as trainee but in a "Russian" program. Couple years later she still talks well about her experience. The other dancer went as a trainee, loved it and RETURNED the next year. If things were truly horrid I doubt anyone would go back at their own will. 

I have to add that my son just left to study there for 6 month after loving the teaching at BBASI. He was comparing it with Houston - both SI and year program, which he visited with a scholarship, loved and planning to go there for a year round. But when the invitation came to go to Moscow he refused to hear any arguments and wanted to try. We saw the difference during BBASI final show between the kids (we were mostly paying attention to boys though) who were either from there or who went there for some training - and the rest. It was enough to convince us we should try.

If there is any interest, I will try to post updates as we go through this journey.  I am trying to keep an open mind and be objective. We'll see. 

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Yes please post updates.

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  • 5 months later...

Apologies if this thread is too old for new comments and questions, and please, moderators, do delete this post if that's the case. 

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with Bolshoi in Moscow for younger international students? We are a long way from sorting out feasibility, but we may have an opportunity rising that would involve a major change for our entire family.

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