Sunday, August 19, 2012

До Завтра- Until Tomorrow.

To all of my loyal readers, I apologize repeatedly! I have neglected for over a month to fill you in on the final parts of the year, which happens to be VERY exciting, and for that, I am extremely sorry! After more than 4 weeks, I hope you still hold interest in the final happenings of the Vaganova School Year 2011-12.

The time from my birthday until the end of the year was the fastest part of my already speedy year!
 After the last of the Hermitage performances, the whole school was in a rush to perfect the graduation galas that would be performed in Mariinsky! Like I said in the last post, I was extremely honored to have been asked to perform in all of the спектакли!
We were having rehearsals everyday after classes, and as always, our bodies were tiring. Luckily, there were many things to distract from that and keep us excited for what all was left of the school year.

Every year Mariinsky Theatre presents something called "Stars of the White Nights" to celebrate this beautiful time of year in St. Petersburg. As you may know, the children in Vaganova have the opportunity to be asked to perform in small roles in the theatre, such as in party scenes or as a little cupid. There was a big hype for the premiere of the festival (Putin even had a ticket), so I was lucky that one of my friends was performing as an extra, and was able to reserve a ticket! The performance was huge! It was the premiere of not only the festival, but also of Mariinsky's Midsummer Nights Dream, or Сон в летнюю ночь. Two of the theatre's biggest ballet stars, Teryoshkina and Kondaurova, were to perform the leading roles, and they did so with so much beauty and strength! Combined with the opera, this performance was something Im definitely glad I didn't miss out on!

A photo taken of me backstage
A photo I took in the backstage hallway
On June 12, we had our  Генеральная репетиция (general rehearsal). In case you are just "tuning in" to my blog, this general rehearsal is something Vaganova has before every major performance. It is the first time the public can come watch. It is just as big as any of the other performances we have, and the only difference is that Altynai and the teachers are correcting us dancers during it, which is something really rare and cool to see as an observer! Im not sure if the audience feels the same way , but when you hear her calling to you or correcting you over the loud-speakers, it makes your heart stop! That, plus the teachers on the side telling you every little thing you are doing wrong, can be quite intimidating, but also an awesome rehearsal to experience as both a dancer and ballet lover! Coming from a small studio in Colorado, and then Kirov Ballet in DC, I am so moved every rehearsal we have at the theatre, and not just because of the theatre or the Mariinsky alone, but also because of the fantastic orchestra. Every time they start to play, it moves me to dance. If you are a dancer, maybe you have felt it before also; the music makes you want to close your eyes and get lost in the dance and our art! If you take that feeling and multiply it by about 100x, you can imagine what it's like to perform to Mariinsky's infamous orchestra! The first time we have the live orchestral accompaniment to rehearse to is a "repit." that I look forward to just as much as I do for the actual show (if not more)!

The first "formal" performance of Vaganova's Graduation Gala was on June 17, and butterflies were obviously in all of our stomachs! Everyone was channeling nervous energy the whole week. That day, there were so many people in the audience, as well as backstage photographers, newspapers, etc! Everyone in the city and ballet world was excited to see the rising stars that would be coming from the academy, and would soon be joining the world's leading companies, including Mariinsky.

 This performance went wonderfully! Corsaire was in Act 3, so I go to enjoy watching the first two acts of the show, including Nacho Duato's Madrigal, which I have fallen in love with! The VBA students in the piece nailed it, and the piece itself is extremely enjoyable! When it was time for us to go on, backstage was chaotic, as usual! Everyone kissing each others cheeks, quickly saying "удачи" & "не пуха не пера" to anyone near, and taking our final, deep breathes before putting on one big smile and stepping into the bright Mariinsky stage lights. It's a surreal feeling, being on that stage! Being where all of the stars from Nureyev to Baryshnikov started (and from the school, experiencing the same things. Going through the same, vigorous program I am), will never seem like anything less than a real dream come true! The Russian audience alone makes your stomach flutter; they appreciate the details, the history, the music, the artistry, and the ballet itself. Overall, the performance went great, and everyone felt relieved and excited to have finished the first gala!

That night was one of my favorites! After coming home from the theatre, my suitemate, Izzy, and I got ready to head back to the theatre to watch one last company performance! It was the perfect way to end my year, because it was once again my FAVORITE ballet, Giselle! Tasman, Izzy, and I watched from the wings backstage (as did Fatayev that night)! As always, the dancers, the story, and the music moved me to the point of tears! Such beauty! Giselle was, for me, the perfect way to leave and finish the year off! I had started the year off (my very first week) with a performance of Giselle at Mariinsky, and finished it off the same way, only now I had become apart of the culture of Mariinsky. I was a true "Vaganova" kid, and had been accepted as a part of the theatre (even if just a small part; insignificant, almost, compared to the stars I was watching on stage or standing next to in the wings...the legends). Regardless of where I stood, Giselle was incredible! Front, side, back...I could watch it forever! Or dance it forever! I hope one day that will be ME! My DREAM role!

The day after that, Monday, was more tiresome than ever! We had all, obviously, been ridiculously tired from all of the preparation for the performances, the general rep., first performance, and watching ballets, and we had not had any days off, nor would we get any before the next performance! Like always, I pushed through, even if my body wasn't completely ready to be worked that hard! My class had shrunk to only 3-4 of us in class each day. To add even more to the work load, we had to prepare for the ballet seminar that Vaganova was having. My class was chosen to represent the "VBA senior women's class", meaning tons of ballet directors, academy directors, teachers, and others would be observing and watching in order to learn from the Vaganova method and my teacher, in this case! It was a lot of fun, but with only a few of us actually doing the full demonstration, preparation really wore us down. Although I was physically and mentally exhausted, I was one of the 4 that did complete the full demonstration. As girls stopped the seminar one by one, we ended up doing many combinations in pairs or alone. My teacher had "eliminated" some of the girls, and brought it down to the one or two that did each combination best, making it necessary for a few of us to do 5-6 exercises non-stop. I had a lot of fun, despite having to repeat our whole ballet exam, and the day was very rewarding. After the seminar, it was so nice to be approached by impressed directors and observers.  To see one director cry, saying that she had never seen such beautifully talented dancers in all of her years and that we were blessed to have such a wonderful teacher, was something I will never forget! One of the best compliments is that you have made someone FEEL something through your dancing!

On the 23rd of June, we performed the last gala of the year! While I had major butterflies (like everytime I went to Mariinsky), it seemed everyone was mostly just excited not only to be on stage once again, but to celebrate the end of the year! It had been a long one, but a great one! As always, the performance was beautiful and well-loved by the audience! The teachers were happy, and the graduates were much more than ecstatic! Their whole lives had been spent in the academy, and now they were finally done! They had dreamed about the day they would leave the school and join a company; many received an offer from Mariinsky! As they each continue on to amazing companies (Mariinsky, Mikhailovsky, Bolshoi, and so many more), there is no doubt in my mind that these kids are the next stars of ballet! VBA is truly something special! I am honored to be a part of the Vaganova family and to have been given the amazing opportunity to study with the best! Coming to this prestigious, world renowned, academy was everything and SO much more than I could have ever dreamed of! I wouldnt trade this past year for anything! The things I have learned living on my own in Russia are priceless. With every experience came invaluable lessons. Being "the American" of a Russian family composed of an entire school, I guess I am not too far from being considered "русская девушка". I have made friends I will never forget, and the training of a lifetime! It has been "live" (as my old roommate, Lisa, would say)! Peace out, Rossi Street and VBA! До Завтра!
From Russia with Love,

Tate <3
Ура! Мы закончили наш Вагановой год!!!)))

1 comment:

  1. great blog! i was wondering what was the age limit to train at vaganova as an international trainee? on the web site it says 16 to 20, do any trainees turn 21 during that time or is it 19 turning 20?

    thanks! best of luck in ur dancing!