Beautiful, coloured fall trees. This is the image of my favourite time of the year, that we have now.
But tonight we saw snowflakes falling outside the windows... WHAT HAPPENED?! Go away please!

There are 12 people in my class now, including me, 4 Japanese girls, 3 Mexicans, 2 Koreans, Serra from Turkey and Ashley from the USA. Half of the group consists of people who studied here last year and are repeating the trainee program, the rest are new. Overall there are, like last year, three trainee groups; A, B and C. I'm in group B.
Today we actually watched the group A's ballet class. We all thought they did well, it was inspiring to see!
Then we had repertoire. On the repertoire classes we've been learning a group dance (Giselle's friends) from the ballet "Giselle". This piece doesn't contain too difficult steps, but it's quite fast and has jumps in it. You can easily tell that we have bad stamina, because we are always like dying after dancing through the whole dance... But we will soon work on a new variation or group dance.

Yesterday another ballet teacher (I guess) came and watched our ballet class. Of course it was unexpected and nervous, when a teacher shows up you always want to do your best. They have a lot of influence when it comes to the classes and students at the academy. If a ballet teacher watches a lesson of another class, and there's a student she really likes, she can ask to take that girl to her own class. It's not so usual, but technically they can decide and switch students however they want.
What was much more unexpected though, was that apparently this lady told our teacher that there are many good dancers in our class who might actually have a chance to get in a Russian class for next year. This is what our ballet teacher told us this morning. But she was clear with that we need to work REALLY HARD for it, always on our maximum. Of course we don't know how many and who this lady was thinking of, but I think it motivates everyone to work much harder. I mean who doesn't want to be a Russian class? That's everyone's dream! I would literally cry of happiness if I ever in my life got applied to a Russian class.
But it doesn't matter if I have a chance or not. I AM going to work hard and do my best, because I do want to stay here!
The hip is getting slightly better for each week. Now I'm able to actually hold my legs up in adagio in centre without losing balance all the time, okay it probably doesn't look so good yet, but at least I can keep them over 90 degrees.

I can inform you that our new gymnastics teacher is good, even though I liked the other one. We do useful exercises with this new teacher too. Sometimes we have pilates, other times we do more strengthening or more stretching. But the best thing is that she actually listens to us or sees what we all individually (or as a whole group) need to improve.

Here down below are a few pictures from last weekend when I went to the Red Square with some of my friends!

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I had a lovely weekend with my mom who came on Friday! We have gone for walks, been to the European shopping mall and having lunch at our friends Yuri and Belinda's place. I stayed one night at the hotel with mom and we had a nice breakfast there together. Also she came with me to my piano lesson. Well all I can say is that I'm really happy to have her here! She will until Tuesday, so I will try to spend as much time as I can before she leaves. Tomorrow we are probably going to the Gorky park on my almost 3 hour break, because it's not far away from the academy and we have a beautiful autumn in Moscow right now.

Good night to you all!

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What I remember the most of this week, is the cold. It only gets colder outside now, and it was so cold inside the academy too because they refuse to turn on the heating "too early". But a few days ago they finally turned the heaters on, and we all got so happy about it.

Yesterday we got worse news; we will have another gymnastics teacher. Why?? I love our gymnastics teacher! We don't want another one!! Too sad. But I'll keep her exercises in mind and do them on my own, because they are actually useful.

We had repertoire class yesterday as well. We are working on a group dance of Giselle's friends (from the ballet Giselle). It's quite fast and has some jumps which made it pretty much exhausting to dance, because we still haven't done like any jumps in ballet class and we don't have that good stamina yet. At least we have done more centre work this week. My adagio in centre has been a nightmare because it's hard for me to keep my legs up. It's still not good, but it actually got slightly better during this week. My hip still hurts when I do it, but at least I feel more able to fight through the pain and work a little more on the leg extensions. Ludmila (our ballet teacher) seemed to recognise the difference too.
She has recently been talking about using more of the inner thighs and especially the muscles located on the inside of the knees, to turn out the legs, instead of using only the hamstrings (although you need to use them anyway). It is hard to find that feeling, but I am working on it. She said though that we need to listen to the music better and catch up her corrections faster, so we can actually go further in class and get time to do jumps as well.

After repertoire class I went out and finally bought new pointe shoes, because mine are completely dead now. Last year I discovered a new favourite brand; Siberian swan. This is obviously a Russian pointe shoe brand, and you can probably only buy them in Russia. What I really like with them is that they feel very light and smooth, and you can nicely roll through demi pointe when you do relevés. For some reason I've felt much more secure to do difficult movements (for example turns) on pointe since I started to use these shoes. So now I finally have two new pairs, and today I sew one pair that I can start to use tomorrow!

My friends and I are definitely honey package collectors...

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Sorry for not posting anything last week! This will probably happen sometimes and you don't have to worry about it. There's usually just much going on and a lot for me to do.

I was struggling with a history essay last weekend. So why history? Because I do Swedish school studies through the internet. I took a break from the academics last year, so this year I try to catch up. It feels strange to study math and history on your own after not doing it for an entire year. Sometimes it's interesting, but sometimes it's really stressful. Like last weekend. It was not fun.

I've been sick since Friday afternoon and I still am. I want to do ballet class tomorrow, but I'm not sure I'll be able to. I've had really sore throat and blocked nose. Today I feel better but still not great.

I really like our ballet teacher. She really cares about us, and I feel that she really cares about me as well. She gives us good corrections and actually explains HOW you are supposed do things correctly and what it should feel like (in certain muscles) when you do a movement. She even gave me exercises to for improving turnout and foot stability/strength. She told me that I need to strengthen and increase the mobility in my ankles, because that will make it easier for me to close my legs into fifth position from a tendu in a la seconde without rolling the foot forward. She is mostly focusing on turnout in every single movement. On the last ballet class I went to we literally did all the barre exercises with two hands holding the barre, very easy combinations, just to let us focus specifically on lifting our hips and upper bodies over the legs, using all those turnout muscles and our ankles up (plus a thousand more things probably, because It's ballet!). Some people may think that you should go forward faster and work on harder movements or more advanced combinations, and maybe they are right. But if there is a big struggle with these kinds of basic things for almost everyone in the class, I personally think it's better for us to work on it now instead of going too fast forward and not be able to do the harder movements with quality and then end up going backwards or basically starting over again. Many teachers at this academy complain to their students how badly they are dancing all the time, meanwhile our teacher just tells us the actual corrections right away, though she is strict about them. That's another thing I like with her.

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My first week of this school year? Well, nice things but also not as nice things have happened.

I got used to the old academy routines, the Russian culture and language surprisingly fast after the summer break. When I arrived to Moscow it felt like I've already been here for ten years, but I also felt very happy to be back.

I've met old friends as well as new people. My new roommates are Imogen (Australian) and Ecem (Turkish) and I know them both from last year. We get along very well and I think our room is quite nice.

I have a new ballet teacher that I really like, she's from the Bolshoi theatre (new teacher at the academy) and her name is Ludmila Valentinovna Ermakova. She gives us good corrections and I feel like she cares about me too. I like that she always tells the corrections right away instead of just complaining about how badly you dance like many other teachers here do. She is really focusing on using the turnout properly and her combinations are quite simple, which gives you a chance to really think about and work on your technique. She often cheers on me to turn out my legs even more and sometimes she comes to me and tries to help me find the right feeling. This is exactly what I need! Because sometimes I think that I'm doing as much as I'm capable to, but it turns out I'm doing it wrong and apparently I can turn out much more only by just standing a little differently. Small changes can give completely different results.

I really like our new gymnastics teacher as well, because she's also helping me and she gives us many good exercises for turnout that I find actually useful.
In character dance and contemporary I have the same teachers as last year.
My character teacher doesn't seem to be really happy with what I accomplish right now, she's says that she knows I can do better. I understand her but I just can't remember what I did better before. I will just try harder.

My left hip still hurts when I try to lift it over 90 degrees, but my ballet teacher knows about my surgery and it feels a liiiittle better for each day.
The bad news are that I got a really strange stiff feeling in my right hip recently, I've never felt that before. During the latest ballet class it was really painful for me to stand in turned out positions, especially in fifth position. I've been trying to massage and stretch it in different ways, but it's very deep inside the hip so nothing has really helped so far. If this doesn't get any better I will visit the doctor during the week.

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My summer vacation has come to an end, tomorrow I will leave Sweden and arrive back in Moscow! Another year as a trainee at the Bolshoi ballet academy is coming up very soon and I really look forward to this!

To be honest it has been quite depressing for me to not do any ballet classes for so long because of recovering from hip surgery, although my left hip has been healing much faster than my right hip did.

Lately I've actually been taking a few ballet lessons in Stockholm with my teacher Margarita, to get started and at least a little prepared to gradually work harder, get the strength back and do more.
Also I've been training with my physiotherapist Jessica Parnevik, focusing on especially hip movement, strength and stability. It is very helpful to get help, advice and regular training with an expert, I thank her a lot!
I got so happy when I started with some ballet again, I realised how much I missed it.

But of course there were still many nice moments from my summer break, spent in Stockholm, Estonia and Gotland (a Swedish island located in the Baltic Sea).

Here's a bunch of pictures for you guys, enjoy!

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I had my hip surgery two days ago, and it turned out surprisingly well! I am amazed by how much different I feel after this surgery than last time in January. Right now I barely feel much pain and can already walk normally. Can you believe it? Last time it took me like 2 weeks to manage to walk well, and I had pain all the time (especially at night). I remember that my thigh felt like a tense lump that prevented me to stand straight without having pain. Now there's no real problem at all! I can even lift my leg a little, but of course it hurts when I do certain things.
Only one thing that made it hard to walk during the hours after the surgery, was that the leg was really weak. If I put my wight on it and bent the knee (even just slightly), my whole leg would fold under and I would fall right to the ground immediately. I fell 5 or 6 times that day, did never get hurt but it kind of scared me every time. So I used crutches for a while.

This is very strange because I expected it to be much worse, but I like it! :D Hopefully this healing process can go even faster than last time, but I should not stress through it either. It's not even necessary since I actually have more time now.

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Last night I finally got home from Moscow and today was my first day of the summer break!

First of all I want to thank you all for reading my blog and supporting me throughout my first year at the Bolshoi ballet academy in Moscow! I will for sure continue writing blog posts here, since it has been beneficial for me in many ways. Also, I guess many of you are curious about how my journey will continue next year, and I will let you know! I might even blog during this summer, when I feel like it.

I started my first day of summer break with a nice morning walk outside in the sun. I think one of the strongest feelings you get when coming home after being away for a long time is appreciation. You appreciate things at home more than usual I find. You see everything from a new perspective in some how.
Well it's always nice to sleep in your own bed and have a nice shower I must say.
I really enjoyed being in the nature around the area. For the ones who don't know already, I live in a small town located in north of Stockholm called Märsta. You can say that it is a bit more on the country side, our house is basically surrounded by fields and forests. Good for us, because we love nature and calmness!

My mom made Russian сырники [syrniki] for breakfast this morning. Syrnikis are basically pancakes made out of cottage cheese (Творог). In Russia it's common to eat them with condensed milk, but this time we used agave syrup and frozen blueberries.
She mixed 200 grams of fat free cottage cheese (quark, or as we say in Swedish; kvarg), 1 egg, rice flour and coconut flour (1 tablespoon of each) and 1 teaspoon sugar. Then she just fried them in a pan on low heat, the same way as you fry regular pancakes. There are many options for ingredients that you can add in the syrnikis. You can use whatever flour you like, add vanilla sugar, another kind of sweetener baking powder or a pinch of salt if you want.
They are super delicious, filling and high in protein!

Tomorrow we have to leave very early to the surgery clinic. I don't have any problems to wake up early in morning though, woke up at like 6 am this morning. Don't look that much forward to get the hip surgery and go through the whole process of having pain and being unable to even walk properly, but I know it will be good in the end.

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Tomorrow is the day! I'm going home to Stockholm for summer break, finally! I look so much forward to see my family and friends again.
My packing is pretty much done, but I will not bring everything back home. I have a whole suitcase and three boxes filled with stuff that I'm going to keep here in the storage room, plus one more box for my keyboard. So I'm basically only bringing one suitcase and hand luggage with for now.

I got a recommendation to stay as a trainee again for next year, but also they really want that my hips aren't injured by then.

I've decided to give ballet one more try. I will do the trainee program one more year, and actually work my fullest the whole year. I will get surgery for my left hip as soon as I get home, heal it, get rehabilitation from a physiotherapist and work up my strength during the summer. So when I get back to Moscow in September I'll be able to start doing classes full out, work for quality in my technique (especially turnout and flexibility/extensions/lines, but also a lot of jumps since I haven't done jumps since January) and slowly improve. I did improve some things already during this year, but I bet there is much more I can do. I know that I don't have the best physical abilities for becoming a ballet dancer. But I want to work and do my best for one more year, try to get the best out of it and see how far I actually can get. I can't give up yet! I still don't have enough proof that there is no possibility for me to succeed. The benefit for me will be that I already know how everything works here because I have the experience, which will make me much more comfortable from the start.
If I would ever change my mind, I always have a choice get away from it. If next year would end up the same as this time, I would might think of changing my focus.
For now I'm not giving up yet.

Hopefully I will also start doing my Swedish secondary school education, by studying through the internet. Can't wait too long with that.

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I know you all have been curious to know how my ballet exam went. Today I will be completely honest with you guys and tell you everything what's going on, what I have gone through the last few days and what's currently on my mind.

I did my exam the best that I could that moment, so I did not really get dissatisfied with my performance. But since I've had my hip problems and a hip surgery, I lost quite much time for working full out in ballet and preparing to do all different exercises/movements well. There for I did not show any jumps or pointe work in the exam. The jury (with the teacher I bet) gave me a 3-, because of my hip injury, my ballet teacher said. As you now can understand, I am not invited to the three year diploma program.
There might be a little chance that I could get to stay here as a trainee another year, in other words to do the same trainee program that I'm doing now one more time. Next week I will get to know more about what options there are or if they can offer something for me. So there for I don't know anything for sure yet.

Right after we got our marks and almost the whole day after that, I was feeling horrible. I cried in rivers, thought I was such a failure and that this was the end of the world for me.
Even though I didn't get a good mark (because of course they can't give you a super mark when you don't show as much material), it was not the actual mark itself that made me terrified. It was just the fact that I would might not be invited back for next year like I wanted to.

I have many thoughts going on in my mind. For the longer the time goes by, the more I'm asking myself how I actually want to do about next year and my future in general. Because there are endlessly many things to do and ways to go in life. Life is like a long corridor with doors leading to different rooms, my mom told me. You can open a door and look inside, but if you don't like that room, you can just leave it and go to another room. If a door would just close right in front of your face, you would just move on and try another door. I think you already see my point in this explanation.

If I would get invited to the trainee program again for next year, I could continue working on my ballet technique and try again to get applied to the diploma program for the year after that. But I also need to start my Swedish gymnasium education (I can't wait too long for that and let year after year pass by), so if I'm here next year I need for sure to study from distance.

To be honest I'm actually not sure if this is what I really want anymore. I have a feeling that this might not be the best for me and that there are other options that would me happier in the end. I will always love and have passion for ballet, but getting a career as a ballet dancer is extremely difficult. Even great students who graduate from the Bolshoi ballet academy do not get jobs in companies. It's really hard to live a life as a ballet dancer as well. Not only because of how much hard work and effort it takes, but also many other common things in a ballet life. Stress, tiredness, sacrificing other things in your life, lack of free time, constant self-criticism (most of the time focusing on your weaknesses), being compared, judged and ranked among others all the time, impaired self-esteem, eating disorders and so on. In the ballet world it takes much more to succeed now than for some years ago. Everything is more extreme today. You should be able to do crazier jumps, turns, have extremely good extensions, turnout, feet, be even skinnier, lighter and more flexible. Passion is not enough anymore.
I feel that with my physical abilities it will be too hard to get where I want, and that it's not worth putting myself down so much for it. I might as well not feel that well or happy for living this kind of life.
I'm not saying that I'm going to quit ballet, but I'm thinking of changing my focus/priorities a little. A new plan for next year could be to do more of other dance styles like I used to before I did ballet, try new things, go to regular gymnasium for my studies and live a bit more of a "normal" life. Not because I'm just giving up on ballet, but to find something that can really make me happy and confident, somewhere where I feel that I can shine my brightest and actually enjoy what I'm doing to the fullest. The more I think about and imagine this, the more I feel like I'm already moving on and even getting a little excited for it. I unfortunately lost a little of my joy for dancing during this semester, and I really want it back, because I am BORN TO DANCE! I can't live without dancing and I love it from all of my heart.

I will go to the international office to hear what they say first of all. I'm still thinking about it.

A few hours after our ballet exam, we had exam in historical dance. Even though I was feeling destroyed, I got my shit together and actually did the historical exam well. I got a mark of 5- in historical, and I'm very happy with it! I want to thank my historical teacher Olga for being such a great and inspiring teacher, I know that she reads this blog once in a while. It has been wonderful to work with you this year! I think you introduced this dance style (probably new for all of us) very well.

No matter what will be next, I will always keep this life experience. I will never ever regret coming here! I am so so grateful for this journey, my opportunity to study at this academy, improve my ballet technique, learn much new things, meet new people, get inspired and learn from others, discover the beauty of Moscow, get experiences from living without my family, learn a such difficult language as Russian, improve my English, get piano lessons from a great piano teacher, see some of the biggest stars in Russian ballet dancing in the Bolshoi theatre and much much more!

On Thursday we have our last exam which is in character dance, got to stay sharp for that. I want to end this school year as good as possible!

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