My First Day at the Bolshoi Summer Intensive!

September 4, 2017

Last post, you got to learn about my...interesting...journey to NYC! Now, I will tell you about my first day at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive! ( If you missed my last post be sure to check it out!)

                                                                                                                 Photo of Hunter College

 

The Morning

6:30 am...a little early for most teens in the summer. Not me though! When my alarm went off on the first day of Intensive I practically jumped out of bed; I was so excited! Both of my sisters, whom I was sharing a bedroom with, were still asleep, so I attempted to quietly maneuver through the dark as I got ready. Black leotard (check), tights (check),  hair slicked back in a tight bun (probably the reason all dancers have receding hairlines, but check). All that was left after that was to eat breakfast and pack my bag for the day. After double, triple, and quadruple checking that I had all my shoes, it was 7:30-time to go! 

 

                                                                                                                 Photo of Hunter College

In the Studio

After a subway ride and a little bit of walking, I was finally there! My morning classes were held at Marymount Manhattan College,  and my afternoon classes were held at a few blocks away at Hunter College.  As I entered Marymount, I was greeted with a smile by the security guard behind a desk, which was refreshing . Then, I walked down the hallway and into the studio. When I stepped into the studio I was a little surprised to find that there were almost no barre spots left, even though I was almost 40 minutes early.  I looked around the room and decided to stand at the barre closest to the door, behind a girl whose name I would later learn was Lila* and who would become one of my closest friends in my class. 

 

My Classes

At 9:45, class began when our teacher, Mr. Sharkov, entered the room. It was quite intimidating because not only was this our first chance to make an impression on him, but the director of the program was also there observing the class. The reason she was observing us was because the first three days of the program are placement days. We were pre-placed based on our auditions, but seeing as those had occurred six months prior to the intensive, your placement was subject to change. I was in the Pink level, and no one in my class ended up getting moved. 

One of the most surprising things about the first day of class was the communication. All of the teachers were from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and did not speak a word of English, so we had to have translators telling us what the teachers were instructing us to do. It took some getting used to, but felt very natural by the end of the program. 

                                                                                                        Photo of me at Hunter College

The first class of the day was and hour and a half technique class, which followed the normal progression from barre, to center, to jumps and turns. My next class was pointe, which lasted an hour and was mostly center work. After pointe, we had an hour and a half for our lunch break, which may seem long, but really wasn't because we had to use that time to walk from Marymount to Hunter College. After lunch, we had partnering. Now, this is where the day became very interesting. Most of us had very little partnering experience because the ratio of male to female dancers is very disproportionate (we need more guys to dance!). We are used to taking a partnering class where there are maybe 5 guys for 25 girls, so it was quite shock to us when we saw 20 boys in the room....especially when we found out half of them didn't speak our language. Many of the boys had been brought over to America from the Bolshoi Academy in Russia to assist with the partnering classes. This was such a unique experience and it taught me a lot about communicating with people who don't speak your language. My last class of the day was character, and it became one of my favorite classes because it provided me the opportunity to break from the rigidity of ballet and express myself in a new way. 

 

By the time classes were over at 5:00 I was pretty exhausted! My dad picked me up and we took the subway back to our apartment, where I basically iced my feet and went to sleep! 

* Names changed for privacy 

 

Thank you so much for reading about my first day! If you have any questions about it please leave them in the comments, click on the CONTACT tap, or email me at enpointewithemma@gmail.com!  Please check out some of my previous posts, where I interviewed Kate McDonald of the Joffrey Elite, and where I told about my ride to NYC! 

* Names changed for privacy 

 

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