Do the names Polina Semionova, Alexei Ratmansky, Natalia Osipova and Joy Womack sound familiar? How about Maya Plisetskaya and Vladimir Vasiliev? These stars are among a list of some of the greatest dancers and artistic directors, and they all have something in common: they graduated from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow.
For hundreds of years, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy has been training and producing leading figures in the dance world, including dancers, teachers and choreographers. One of the oldest schools for classical ballet training, the Academy was established in 1773, originally to instruct Russian talent of the highest caliber. But recently, Bolshoi Ballet Academy has opened its doors to international students, and that means you, too, can pursue your dance dreams at the same school as some of your favorite dancers.
Davis Robertson, international program director of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, says that the school is now recognizing the “outstanding talent that exists throughout the world. We are interested to share the several centuries of our ballet knowledge with all students.”
There are many options for international students wishing to gain this top-notch training. For one, the Academy offers a summer program, for dancers ages 14 and over, that runs from July to August in Moscow.
“Each day, the students take three classes in an array of techniques, including Russian ballet technique, pointe class, partnering, character dance, historical dance, classical repertory and stretching,” Robertson explains. “Our current, year-round faculty teaches all of the classes for our summer exchange students.”
While the summer program runs for four weeks, students may attend for any length of time, from one week to the full intensive. This allows dancers the flexibility to enjoy other aspects of their summer or attend other workshops and intensives, while still experiencing this valuable opportunity. At the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive, participants are immersed in the training and rich history of the school and city of Moscow. It also gives dancers the chance to see if a full-time program at the Academy suits them, as the summer is an opportune time for Academy faculty to identify students with such potential.
Does the idea of going abroad to another country with a foreign language intimidate you? Don’t worry! Robertson says that a Russian language course is available twice a week for students to become familiar with the language and to immerse themselves in the culture.
“We take students on day trips to iconic Russian sites such as the Kremlin, Red Square, Bolshoi Theater and others,” he adds. “We have found that in addition to the great dance education they will receive, these extracurricular activities greatly enhance the students’ experience.”
Students are provided with a comfortable dormitory to stay in and three meals per day. Combined with invaluable Bolshoi ballet training, being in a new country can be quite the learning experience for American dancers.
In addition to the summer program in Moscow, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy will also host programs in Urbino and Florence, Italy.
Interested American students can submit an audition video. Robertson says the Academy is looking for “strong technique, good work ethic and solid facility” in prospective students.
Don’t miss a chance for such reputable, rich classical training at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. For more information and details on how to register for the Summer Intensive, visit russianballetinternational.com/registration.html.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Class on stage at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Photo courtesy of the Academy.