Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bright lights, Big Cities, Beautiful people, and Back from Break

If the rest of this year continues the way the first two months of 2012 have, then I am in for a treat.

The last time I blogged, I was just about to begin the first performances of Nutcracker at the Mariinsky. Vaganova was full of stressed dancers, teachers, and dorm "babushkas" that were ready for the holiday and winter "kanikuly" (vacation) to begin, but before that could happen, we had two Christmases to get through, a New Year to start, and all of the performances to finish.

My Christmas has never really been "average". Last year, we spent Christmas day looking for my dad's lost glasses in Pueblo, CO- not something that you would think would be enjoyable, but something SO "typical" of my family (and it actually turned out to be a great day of fly fishing, taking photos, and playing with the dog in the snow). No matter what my family does,though, it is always SO much better than "average" Christmas, but we always find a way to enjoy our snow, fireplace, family, and great family traditions like Christmas brunch or our traditional family Christmas Eve gifts.
мои девочки (my girls in my class)
Like I said in my last blog, this year I spent my Christmas Eve and Christmas day in Mariinsky Theatre rehearsing. The company had their own performance that day, so we rehearsed on Mariinsky's rehearsal stage, and it was the first time we had the live orchestra there! After a tiring day, I rushed back to the school and began to cook- for over 20 hungry dancers. Out of that, I have developed an appreciative attitude and admiration for every single mother whose home I have been to for dinner parties or get togethers at as I grew up; it is NOT easy to cook and entertain for that many, yet my mom has always made it look so easy...
The party was great. I was so happy to have all of my Russian friends there to celebrate "Western" Christmas (December 25) with me, and we had such a great night of eating, dancing, and laughing.

 "Snowflakes/ Snejhinki" with Atynai & Udalenkova
New Years was nothing special (for me at least), and I was just more disappointed I was not in Boulder with my family for our traditional start to the New Year. What came the rest of that week was what is REALLY exceptional. Our first Nutcracker performance was on the second day of the New Year, and that was a day I will never forget, yet hardly remember. It was so surreal, being on Mariinsky stage. It is something that you only DREAM about as a ballerina, and especially a student!  It felt so unreal that first performance, and it was not until the second or third performance that I actually began to realize where I was and what I was doing; living the dream! Unfortunately, the 10 days of performances went bye WAY too quickly for me. Before I knew it, it was already over.
Performing on Mariinsky stage is something I will never forget, and hope that I have the opportunity to do again! I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about what it felt like being in the wings. There is no way to describe that feeling, other than saying that it is overwhelming; overwhelming joyful, nerve-racking, and a real adrenaline rush, but once on stage, I know and feel that I really belong there. I would stay on stage forever.

Through Vaganova and Mariinsky, the stars of ballet are born. I am so honored and thrilled to have shared a stage and experience with them, and hope to join them someday. (And to share a dressing room with them... speaking of which, backstage Mariinsky is every dancer's dream! I talked and met so many people; Fateyev, Vishneva, Tereshkina, Kondaurova, Obratsova, Korsuntsev,...) The picture to the sides, I am with two of the world's most beloved, famous ballerinas; Altynai Asylmuratova, to the right, is Vaganova Ballet's artistic director (my "principal"), and to the left, Diana Vishneva, current principal dancer with Mariinsky (and guest with companies worldwide).

So happy to see my baby brother!
After the performances, it was time to go home. I was so excited that I barely slept at all the night before or the 18 hours it took to get there. When I touched down in Colorado, I was the only one clapping, and had the BIGGEST smile on my face the whole time. Even the "cowboy" directing the customs line was confused why someone could be so happy and energetic after that long of a flight.

When I first got home, I finally had my family Christmas celebration I had been waiting so long for, and I think that we now have that reputation of being the crazy family that leaves out their Christmas tree and decorations for WAY too long after it is all over...SO worth it.

Amsterdam- Such a great time with my Momma
I spent about three or four weeks at "home", and they flew bye! Even though I was on vacation, I was traveling like crazy those weeks, flying to New York just days after getting home, returning home, and then to Amsterdam, and a week later , I flew to DC. I enjoyed every part of break, and especially all of the fun memories I made on these short trips to different places with my family.
 While actually in Colorado, I was so lucky to be able to "relive" the old days. I was able to attend EVERY one of my brother's and friend's basketball games, hang out with my friends after school, take dance class at my old studio; be a "normal" high school teenager. I was even invited and able to go to my school's Sadies dance/ Casino night with all of my friends, which was so much fun!

 I have traveled more than a lot of kids my age, and I cannot be more grateful and aware of how rare and wonderful that is. I have met so many people, had so many new and exciting experiences, and seen what there is in this world. I have never taken anything for granted, and especially my loved ones, but now I realize just how wonderful my friends truly are! They are really some of the most genuine, intelligent, funny, kind, TRUEST friends anyone could ever have. It is true that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but I know I have the truest friends when even at this distance, I feel so close to them. There is not one day that goes bye that I do not think about and miss them, but I am so happy to have grown with them and know they are always there for me to support me on this amazing journey!
I cannot say enough how blessed and grateful I am to have such a wonderful, loving, and supportive family and friends.

It was SO sad to have to say goodbye to my loved ones until summer, but I know this last part of the year is going to go SO quickly. I have already been back in Russia at Vaganova for 2 weeks, and it seems like I just got here. I immediately jumped back into classes and rehearsals, and it is all starting to feel like routine again. I am lucky because I was asked to rehearse with the Russians, along with the international rehearsals we have; that means I am rehearsing 5 out of 6 days in our work week (Yes, Saturdays are working days here, including academics).

I was so happy to see all of my Russian friends and my class again, and especially happy to realize how much I was missed, hehe! In arriving, I also got to meet two of my new suite-mates; Izzy, who is from England and lives next door to my room in our suite, and Cleo, my new roommate from Norway. They are both so sweet and kind- I think the rest of the year is going to be pretty great with them around :)
(L to R) Udalenkova, Desnitsky, and Asylmuratova
Here, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such passionate people; people that know how I feel about my art, appreciate the importance, the hard work, and I especially feel blessed to be apart of a class that this appreciation and respect for one another overrides the competitiveness that generally accompanies ballet.

Exams for our classes are approaching very quickly, and the pressure is already building. Right after exams we will be taking part in multiple performances at the Hermitage Theatre here in SPB, which I am SUPER excited about! Hopefully we will find out more about that in the upcoming weeks... and I promise to be more on top of updating everyone on everything! (To the right is a picture of my teachers that was taken at the performance a previous year. My classical ballet teacher is on the left, Desnitsky, a coach, in the center, and the director, Asylmuratova is on the right. I cannot wait for it; I love performing!)

From Russia with Love, xoxo
Tatum <3

1 comment:

  1. please, write more! you're is amazing! i'm jalouse about your life!