So sorry to all of you for the lack of writing I have done for over a month now! These past weeks have been some of the busiest, most hectic weeks of year, but the good news is that it gives me a lot to catch you up on!
Like I said in my last blog, April was exam season here in Vaganova! The whole academy was stressed and super busy preparing for the number of examinations we needed to take and be graded on. My first exam, as I wrote before, was Modern. After that, we continued to work and focus on our classical ballet exam. We took this exam on April 24, and the night before, I could hardly sleep from all of the nerves. It wasnt my first exam; I had taken a ballet exam in Kirov in Washington DC last year, and I had already done modern here at VBA, but this was SO different! We were being graded by the world's TOUGHEST and most prestigious panel. Not only was the principal of the academy, Dorofeeva, and the artistic director (and perhaps the most famous, beautiful, and renowned ballerina) Altynai Asylmuratova, judging, but along with these two was every great and respected Vaganova teacher in the school, and directors of companies all over the world (Fateyev, director of Mariinsky Ballet, comes to the academy exams every year!)!!! The grades you get on exams can determine what stream of the school you are in (I am in the A stream, 1st course), whether or not you can return next year, and the number also ranks you against your classmates to show where you stand in you class, as well as to see how you progress throughout the years. Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out, but when it came to the actual time of the exam, I went into it with a confident, optimistic, and loving attitude, ready to do what I love and dance from my heart!
The exam went well for all of my class! All of our hard work paid off, and we were all overjoyed once it was done! I felt really great about how I did, and I am happy to say that my report/grade that I received reflected that! After that, we were ready to celebrate....until the next day when we had to prepare for our duet exam!
|The panel; toughest judges you'll ever meet|
|(R to L; Me, Olya, and Renata in our "испанский" dance)|
|First generation (above)- my teacher, Vasilieva, and her class|
|Second generation- my class, 2012, with our teacher, Vasilieva, after our character exam|
|With Altynai Asylmuratov|
The next day was the performance in the Hermitage! We had never danced on the stage before, so I knew it would need to really get a feel for it in the run through just 3 hours before the performance! After we ran through the whole performance, cuts in the show were once AGAIN made, and luckily we made it through the final cut and were ready to perform!!!
|With my teacher, Tatiana Alexandrovna|
Adding to the excitement of being done with our FINAL exam, I was super excited because on May 14 my momma came to St. Petersburg!!! YAYYY! I was so excited that I got to see her, and that she was going to see where I had been living this year and see the academy! While she was here, she was able to watch ballet class, talk to some of the teachers (with translation, of course), and meet my friends in the academy. We had tons of fun, as we always do, together! The weather cooperated while she was in Petersburg, so we were able to walk a lot and show her around the city! We even went to see "Swan Lake/Лебединое озеро", in Mariinsky theatre, one night! She was pretty impressed with my life here, and proud of everything I was doing (as well as my Russian speaking ;P hehe)! <3 If you havent had the pleasure of meeting my mommy, let me just tell you that she is the sweetest, most caring, CUTEST mother you will ever meet! I am so blessed, and so happy that my best friend in the world was able to come see me!
I was so sad that she had to leave after only 4 days because of work, but I am so grateful she was able to come at all! I wish she could have been here for the Hermitage performance to see me dance, as we had originally planned! I was even planning to come back home with her on May 19, but those plans got changed so last minute that we did not even have the time to change her trip to the end of June when I would be able to leave WITH her!
The day my mom left, it was my 18th birthday (and what better birthday present than a visit from mom!)!!! My 17th year was pretty amazing, and as much I hate getting older, I am looking forward to a great 18th year! On my actual birthday, I celebrated by enjoying a beautiful day outside, and going to a small dinner with a few people. I was touched at how many of my friends here tried to make my day special! I wanted to do something really fun with ALL of them, so the next week we decided to celebrate together! We went out to a nice dinner to celebrate not only my birthday, but also finishing exams and Hermitage concerts! We had so much fun; как обычна! Мы всегда смеется и улыбается <3! After dinner, we went out to get some ice cream, and then walked to Mikhailovsky castle (Михайловский замок) to celebrate further!
|Tsiskaridze at the castle!|
я люблю СПБ!
As you can already tell, my life has been nonstop, CRAZY busy, recently! To add even more to my crazy schedule, last Monday I was asked by Nona Grigorievna, Altynai's assitant, to come to Corsaire rehearsal for the graduation performance! She told me that Altynai, Udalenkova, and the other teachers wanted me to perform in the graduation galas at Mariinsky in June; a HUGE honor! I was thrilled that I was asked; I am the only international student in the galas (besides those who are graduating)! Anyways, I went to rehearsal just last week, and was immediately put into the main cast. The girls had already been rehearsing Corsaire Jardin Anime for awhile, so I was surprised to be put in right away. That first rehearsal I went to was a run-through, so I really just had to watch all the other girls and follow the formations (Спасибо, Гузалка, за помощь!) Within those 45 minutes, I managed to learn the whole garden scene, and was super happy that my teacher and the director of repertoire were pleased and proud of how fast I caught on! So pleased, that now I am dancing in all of the graduation performances at Mariinsky, and I couldnt ask for a better end to my first year!!!
Only a week after that first rehearsal, we already had our first run-through of Corsaire on Mariinsky stage! SO crazy, and I will say again and again; ONLY at Vaganova! After only a very short time, the performance is already so polished and beautiful! Я люблю свою жизнь....))
Im soaking up every last bit of this year, and I still cant believe how fast time goes! Having my birthday, and getting that strong, summery feeling that the year is about to end made me realize how precious our time is and how much we need to LIVE and live up every single day, whether good or bad! This year has definitely had its difficult moments, and adapting to Russian life, especially in such a strict academy, and having to give up everything that I am used to living with was a challenge, for sure. I must say that this lifestyle is DEFINITELY not for everyone, but I KNOW that it is for ME!
I want to have one big ПОЗДРАВЛЯЮ for everything in the past month; it was crazy, but I am so happy to have had these wonderful people by my side, always helping me and each other along, and celebrating all of our accomplishments together!!!
Only three more weeks until the end of the year; BRING IT ON! Wish me luck!
Thank you all, again, for reading and following me! I have the best support! I really appreciate it!!! Xoxo
Until next time,
one year older & one year wiser
|молодых душой - старый ум|
P.s.- Here is a link to a video of one of my rehearsals of Flames of Paris with Veronika Ivanova! If you want to see more pictures, please go to the "Gallery" tab on this site!
Flames Of Paris (Tatum Shoptaugh-Vaganova Ballet)