Today it was Ludmila’s birthday! So this morning we tried to surprise her before ballet class. We left some presents on the piano inside the studio, then we closed the door, went to the other side of the corridor and waited for her to enter our studio. Finally we saw someone enter (the corridors in the academy are square shaped and have windows all the way around, so you can see through) and we walked towards the studio. But on the way there we realised that it was just the pianist, so we stayed by the dressing rooms and continued waiting. Suddenly the teacher came from the other way (which we didn’t expect) so we all tried to hide by the stairs next to the dressing rooms, but she found us. Instead we all went together with her to the studio, where we congratulated her and the pianist played Happy birthday. Ludmila got really happy for our surprise though, she thanked for the gifts and congratulations, and gave each of us a hug. And of course we got our wonderful ballet teacher a lovely bouquet of flowers!😁💐It’s a must, especially here in Russia I think. As soon as there are special days, like for example teachers day, women’s day (8th of March), the day of exam or a teacher’s birthday you should give flowers. The Russian students always bring flowers or other gifts for their teachers on their first day of school, which is always (and has always been) on the 1st of September.
She was a little disappointed though, because we didn’t do the gymnastics exercises before class...

My blister almost healed, but during the repertoire class on Saturday it got worse again. I try my best to take care of it and there’s nothing more I can do. The first time I got that blister, I told Ludmila and she understood and did let me do the point work in regular ballet shoes. But of course exactly that day when I did the point exercises in flat shoes, the other teacher came to watch our lesson again. Not the best timing in other words, but she did probably not really care about it anyway...
At least she seems interested in our progress, since she came to watch for a second time.

For the moment I feel dead. I’m tired from all dancing, but to be honest I think it’s mostly because the online school, I study for hours every day (that’s a reason why I don’t write blog posts as often). It’s tiring and usually stressful for me, as soon as I finish an assignment, there is always another one waiting. For next semester I will ask to have a slower schedule (which then would be extended but I don’t mind it), so that I can actually spend more time on other things that are more important to me.
Last week there were moments when I was literally shaking because of stress. The past few days I even got panic and was about to cry during classes without even knowing why. In conclusion, I really need holiday now.

But I only have week left now, then I’ll go to Thailand with my family! I’m super excited!

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This was a weird day.
I woke up with a runny nose itchy eyes, I thought I was about to get sick. But I went to class anyway, and I brought a toilet paper roll to have by the window next to my spot at the barre, just in case. Luckily all the signs of an eventual cold completely disappeared during the ballet class. It still went quite bad for me though because I forgot to go to the bathroom right before lesson as I usually do, which distracted me because I felt bloated.
Our ballet teacher had a funny mood today. I think we got to see a little bit of a different side of her today. First of all she walked in the studio with light blue/turquoise sweatpants on, no offence here at all, but we just got surprised because it’s different from what she usually wears (jeans).
During the pointe class she was happy and even laughed when when people messed up, so we all laughed. It’s funny and sometimes confusing when she’s gives us a new combination. Every time she repeats it she adds something more or changes the ending, to make it more complicated. The first time turns out one way, the second time to another variant and then the combination might end up in a third or fourth variant. During that class today she kept thinking out loud that “no, I need to make it more interesting”, we did much more things than usual and kept going for more than half an hour after the lessons official ending time. I would probably enjoy this class if I didn’t have that PAINFUL blister on my left foot. It hurt every time I was standing on pointe and I could not do anything well, I’m actually surprised Ludmila didn’t kill me (maybe because of her good mood). Therefore I had a bad luck when she made us do so many different exercises with turns and fouettés and all those hard stuff.
When we finally finished the lesson she said: “Tomorrow we will do pointe work in ballet class, right after barre, so bring your pointe shoes!”.
I have seriously no idea how I’m going to get through that.

The gymnastics teacher came to me and said she wasn’t feeling well and planned to go home, so we won’t have gymnastics today.

I just took a foot bath and put patches over the blister, this is new to me because I almost never get any blisters from pointe shoes.

Now I have some essays to continue with for my online school and a letter to write for our Russian homework.



Aren’t these lights pretty? We tried to decorate our room a little to get Christmas feels. But in general I prefer to have smaller lights on in here (or in any other room), especially in the evenings, because the ceiling lights in this building make me feel like I’m in a hospital sometimes. Smaller lights always make it more cozy.

The darkness of November affects my fatigue I think, in the end of this week I could barely keep my eyes open. After classes I just sat on my bed and remained seated, until I laid down and almost fell asleep. Even Ecem (my roommate) asked if I was feeling alright, because I usually don’t do that haha.

Ludmila (ballet teacher) was sick on Monday and Tuesday, so we had a substitute teacher who is actually teaching the 3rd international course. I can’t really say after only 2 lessons if I liked her or not, but I can believe that she’s quite good. We basically did all our combinations we knew, without spending so much time on each exercise, she gave us a few corrections and then moved on. So you can say it was more demanding conditionally.
We were supposed to learn new combinations this week, but since our teacher didn’t show up until Wednesday we kept the same exercises. We usually do the same combinations for one or two weeks, then she gives us new ones to learn and work on. I think that is quite as optimal.
My hip didn’t feel as painful this week, but some days are worse.

I actually feel a little more flexible now than before, my warmup routine that I do before ballet in the mornings is different. Instead of doing tons of exercises, I mostly just stretch. I always start off with exercises for foot strength with my theraband (wide elastic band), then I stand up and massage the arches of my feet with a tennis ball, meanwhile I do arm/shoulder and neck stretches. Then I go right into the frog stretch, splits, over splits, stretches for hips, hamstrings, turnout and back, and I usually roll out the hips and other sore muscles with my foam roller. Then I might do a few strengthening exercises to activate turnout and core muscles.
We always do some “gimnastika” (гимнастика) with our teacher (or without, depending on when she shows up) inside the studio before starting ballet class.

There was a gymnastics class when the teacher after half of the lesson made me do a turnout stretch (almost like frog pose) between two benches. So what I mean is that I had to lie with my stomach on a chair with the knees on each bench (technically like an over middle split, but with the legs bent in 90 degrees), with the hips in the empty gap between the benches. That was a complicated explanation. Anyway, I had to lay there for the last 20 minutes of the lesson, meanwhile the rest of the class did Pilates. “This is all you need, just relax there, have a rest” she said to me. It was okay in the beginning, but after like 3 minuets it wasn’t relaxing anymore.

It seems like I’m doing better in character now, the teacher pays a lot of attention on me and there are more moments where she’s says I do things well or better. Our teacher in character is Tatyana Pashkova, I had her last year as well so she knows me. She is strict about our performance of the steps and so on and most of the time says what we do badly, but she always tells you when you did something better than before. Also she can be hilarious. She tries to use different things or examples to make sure you understand what she wants to tell you. If you for example don’t work with your legs sharp or strong enough in a step where your supposed to, she will literally throw around with a piece of fabric and say “this is how your legs are like”. If I only think for a while I can probably remember many priceless examples she has used. So funny.

I also got very happy to hear that my parents bought the house in Spain like they planned to! If you want to know more about that you can read my mother’s new blog about the building process of this house! Check it out at: casalinda.blog

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Tonight I went with Ivelina (from Bulgaria) to the Bolshoi theatre and watched Giselle. Olga Smirnova and Semion Chudin was dancing, amazing as usual! It always looks graceful and effortless when they dance together. I also thought Alena Kovaleva danced the role as Myrtha very well.
I really enjoyed watching this performance and of course spending time with Ivelina, who unfortunately will leave Moscow on Tuesday. I haven't known you for that long Ivelina, but I will for sure miss you because you're awesome!

I was supposed to go home last weekend. But with my current visa I can only enter the country once, so if had gone home I wouldn't be able to get back inside Russia. My extended visa is still not complete.

But I had a great time with my friends instead, we celebrated Gabriella (from Canada) who turned 18 years old!

As you can see my weekends have been joyful, but during the weekdays I've actually been very stressed. Especially because of the online academics I need to study on my free time and essays I need write and submit on time (or not way too late at least). Some days I can spend hours and hours in front of the computer, but still not get tasks done in time, or even get anything done. The stress can make me feel tired, nauseous or get headaches, which make it all worse. I try to tell myself to not take the academics too seriously or worry so much about it, but I just can't help it. Also my hip has been hurting more in classes lately, and sometimes even after class.
My friends make me happy, even when I have bad days or when I'm stressed out. I definitely appreciate them.

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So... this is what it looked like outside the academy yesterday; winter wonderland. Today it's all gone, but cold it is.

The ballet classes this week have not been the best. My left hip hurts more than before. You could say that I have pushed through the pain even though I shouldn't. I take painkillers before class and I put on tiger balm before going to bed, but sad enough an operated hip can't heal that easily. I'm just worried that I made it more injured or something similar. Tomorrow is Sunday, so I can at least rest for a day and find out. But I should probably take it a little easy in the upcoming classes too.
But I can tell you that my right hip, which has already healed completely, feels totally fine. I have no problems with it anymore, no pain or soreness. Must be a good sign.

I will go home to Stockholm on the 2nd of November and stay there for a few days, since we have a longer weekend next week with Saturday and Monday off. I will get my hip checked and see my physiotherapist. And of course I get to be home with my family and hopefully see a few of my friends, which I really look forward to, since I'm not going home for the Christmas holiday this year (because we're going to Thailand!!).

The last character lesson went much better, the teacher seems to be more happy with me now. She has been complaining about my hands and fingers for soo long, but this time she told me after class that she could see difference, that they were more relaxed. Also I enjoy the character classes more now than in the beginning of this semester.

Tonight I had trout (fish) with grilled vegetables for dinner, it was delicious! Most of the students who live here in the dorm, more or less by their own food. Sometimes you just need something different from the canteen food, which is always either pasta, rice or Grechka (гречка=buckwheat) with a piece of meat loaf and a tiny salad (usually cabbage salad, I like it though).

Here's a picture of me with two of my friends; Ecem from Turkey (one of my roommates) and Louisa from the US. Last Sunday morning we went out to Starbucks and had coffee, and tomorrow we'll go again!

Have a nice weekend!

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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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