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One of Russia’s most celebrated tradition has been going on this week. It is called Масленица [Maslenitsa]. This is a time when people welcome the coming spring (which is strange because it’s still like -4 degrees out). People walk on the decorated streets (where also musicians might be performing) or visit each other’s houses and eat pancakes (Блины [blini]). In older times people said “Without blinis there’s no Maslenitsa” (Без блинов не Масленица). Pancakes became the dish of this tradition for three reasons: 1. A pancake is round and hot, which reminds you of the sun. 2. The ingredients for pancakes were cheap enough for both poor and rich people to buy, so everyone had the possibility to celebrate Maslenitsa all week and be happy. 3. Maslenitsa is a time to prepare people for the coming lent, where you’re not allowed to eat any meat, fish, milk, butter, eggs or white bread. Therefore people take the advantage to eat a lot of pancakes with for example butter, condensed milk, chocolate, caviar, fish, sour cream or meat during this week.
So today we went for a walk in the centre, and some of us had blinis as well. We walked around on Red square and inside the shopping mall Gum. Then we also went to the Bolshoi theatre shop, where I finally got myself a new phone case.


Next weekend I’ll go to Spain to see my parents (and even our dog!), since we will have Friday off (and maybe Saturday too). I’m really exited!

Last night we had dinner at T.G.I Friday’s to celebrate Ashley who turned 18 on the 14th.


Also I’m wishing my mom a happy happy birthday today! Love you forever and always❤️

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

We were all wearing different colored leotards today, but unfortunately Ludmila didn’t get to see that. We’ve been having a substitute teacher this week so far because she’s sick.

The two weeks before have been intense, especially when it comes to our ballet classes. Ludmila is really pushing us; she’s shouting, yelling and literally running towards people to correct them. She’s is correcting more or less everyone in the class which is good. We’ve been working more with jumps. Jumps are hard and not really my favorite thing either, but the only way you can improve jumps is to jump! Sometimes she uses our pointe or repertoire classes do jumps with us. In fact we’ve been doing allegro every repertoire class so far (since this semester started), which basically means every Saturday for one and a half hour. I really don’t like to do jumps for one and a half hour straight, especially after having a 2 hour long break in between, because my legs get heavy and weak and feel like I can’t do any jumps at all. I prefer to just do them in ballet class right after barre and center work as usual.


Many people here have their birthdays this month. Last weekend we celebrated Ecem and Ted, today’s Ashley’s 18th birthday and Louisa turns 18 next week. On Saturday we went to Max Brenner, which is a restaurant with all kinds of chocolate dishes such as pizzas, fondue, milkshakes, cakes and waffles with chocolate. It was literally heaven (I love chocolate)! The next day we went to Conversation cafe and had a nice brunch.

We have a lot of snow here in Moscow, it’s hard to walk outside because it’s so slippery. But it was great to see some sunshine through the windows today!

Anyway there is a lot more to say, but I really need to go to bed now. Good night!

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Today is Sunday, which for many people here is a day for resting, but also preparing for the coming week. People might sleep in, go outside somewhere for a walk, do homework, sew new pointe shoes or flat shoes (soft ballet shoes), stretch, go through combinations or choreography. Some people even practice ballet in the lounge, where there are (apart from sofas and a big carpet) more floor area and a mirror.

Almost every day you see people practice in front that mirror. Younger girls usually work on technique in different ballet movements while older students (who usually are in 1st, 2nd or 3rd course) go through and practice choreography that they are rehearsing for the spring performance or the exams. Becoming a professional dancer takes a lot of work and responsibility on your free time, it’s not all about how you work in class (although it matters a lot).

It’s inspiring to see all those great dancers here, when they are practicing. When I look at them I always wonder how it’s even possible that little me can be in the same school. Of course it’s honoring, but at the same time not understandable for me. Some of the people I look up to are even my friends!

I’m thanking everyone again for the birthday wishes I got last weekend! I had a calm but nice day spent with a few of my friends who had arrived by then, and I got to know a few new friends as well. We might celebrate more later, since quite many of my friends have their birthdays during this semester.

As an 18 year old, I am trying to open up myself and my mind.
In general I’ve been struggling with my self confidence, and I still do. I often feel that I don’t deserve to be here, that I don’t fit in among the good dancers. That I’m not good enough or not worth paying attention to. That their acceptance for me to study at The Bolshoi ballet academy was some kind of mistake or accident. Teachers and other students judge you more or less all the time, which I guess is natural for human beings to do, even if they don’t tell you anything. I’ve been caring too much about what other people think about me, and scared to embarrass myself. As soon as something is difficult or I feel stressed out, I get like paralyzed. I get stuck in my mind and barely talk to anyone. Sometimes I feel like crying in class because I get so disappointed with myself.
But I’m starting to realize that this mindset is preventing me to improve and get where I want. If I never express myself and always fear to fail or get judged, I won’t get anywhere. There is no point to wait until I feel “good enough” to “show off” my better sides and my passion. Even if I can’t do perfectly now, I have to face those fears to let good things can come to me later on. I need to strive for positive thoughts to reach happiness.
I might be a shy and quiet person, but I don’t want to hide anymore.
I want my ballet teacher to recognize me more and see how much I want this, and hopefully I can get more corrections and help from her in return. I want to feel that I deserve to take my space and some of her attention.
I find that she actually noticed me a little bit more this week, I’m glad to say that I’ve been filled motivation in ballet class the latest days, which I haven’t felt for a very long time.
I’m also trying to socialize more, to actually talk to other people. It may seem ridiculously easy to others, but for me it’s harder done than said. Even if I need breaks from being with other people sometimes, I don’t want my friends to misunderstand, that they have to leave me alone or stay away.

Once again it’s easier said than done, but I am working on it and hoping do develop throughout the semester.


Time for preparing new pointe shoes now, and piano lesson soon!

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2018 is here, I’m back in Moscow and have done my second day of classes at the academy. I had a wonderful and well appreciated holiday in Thailand (plus 2 days in Singapore and 3 days in Stockholm)! I am now ready for hard work and new challenges.

I arrived on Tuesday, everything went fine. My roommates are still not here, but hopefully they’re coming soon. Sure I am a loner, but I'm getting bored of living alone now.

Yesterday’s classes (ballet, pointe and modern) were not the best for me. Today was better though, probably because I knew the combinations better and did not get confused. Although I did ballet training during the break, my muscles are terribly sore now. I’ve been stretching and massaging all evening, but it doesn’t feel any better yet.
Our character teacher was in a quite bad mood today, but I got some useful corrections so it was fine.

We have a different Russian teacher for this week and next week. She is very picky with our pronunciation, which is different from how the other Russian teachers are (at least the ones I’ve had). We work more on speaking and conducting conversations. I learn new things from her lessons, and also how to use the knowledge I already have.

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I’ve been sitting by the Christmas tree, unable to understand how far away from the cold winter I’ll be in just a day or two. The happiness and excitement is bubbling inside of me, I don’t even know if I’ll manage to fall asleep tonight. Tomorrow morning I’ll leave the academy, head to the airport and meet mom and dad. Then we’re going all the way to Singapore, to then take another flight from there to Thailand. We’ve been to Phuket enough times through the years that I now can say it’s a part of my childhood with memories that belong to my heart. I’ve been missing it a lot and I feel so lucky about going back again.

This semester has been hard and stressful in many ways, but also instructive, rewarding and fun in other ways.
I’m thankful for having Ludmila as our ballet teacher. She has her different moods, but I feel that she really cares about us. Her attention on technique and especially turnout, plus the advice and additional exercises for improvement, has affected me. It might not be showing that much, but things FEEL different now (in a better way) when I do ballet class. I think specially the last few classes turned out a whole lot better than
before. I find it much easier to do jumps, I feel like I have much more strength and energy for it, that I can actually jump properly and not just “get trough it and try to not die”. After my last class Ludmila wished me a happy holiday, the way she held my hands and looked into my eyes when she said that really made me sure that she cares.
She also told me that I have a good shape and should not gain weight over the break. That’s the hardest thing, every time...


I also feel like I can speak Russian more freely and spontaneously now. I talk more to my piano teacher, other teachers and the dorm ladies, and I can catch up as well as respond faster to things strangers ask me when I’m outside. The librarian praised me today when I handed in my Russian books, she kept asking how it is even possible that an international student can speak Russian that well after only one and a half year. I was pleased to hear that from her, because I always thought she seemed to be annoyed.


It has been a nice ending of this term.
Most things are packed and prepared now (the caviar my parents told me to buy is also packed), the room is pretty much organised and I’m ready to go!

Happy holidays everyone!🌟

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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.

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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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