Ballet, Russia’s national passion
Russian Ballet school is one of the oldest and the best in the world, and Russians have right to be proud at it as much as at the conquest of space. Although ballet dancers retire after 38 years, and less than 5% of graduates are given the chance to dance as a soloist, parents who enroll their children in ballet expect precisely their child to shine on the stage of the Bolshoi or Mariinsky Theatre.
In the Soviet time at the competition for the ballet and choreographic school there were about 100 candidates for one position. Ballet is very popular in modern times as well. Ballet school-studio under the guidance of the famous ballerina Ilze Liepa, enrolls youngest participants already at the age of two and half years, says co-owner of the Ballet Studio Mary Subotovska.
“Nothing affects so well on the physical development as ballet. By exercising with pianist, concert- master, children develop love for classical music. In the ballet, all the motions are harmonious and graceful , and also contribute to the formation of their body, so the girls have a nice figure. “
Are natural predisposition key to success?
Outside Russia classic Russian ballet is associated with the leading Russian theaters, the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, where mainly perform ballet dancers trained at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography or St.Petersburg Academy of Russian Ballet “A.J. Vaganova”. Preparation for admission to this prestigious school is almost impossible because natural predispositions, such as flexibility, grace, coordination of movement and musicality play a crucial role for the strict selection.
“98% of the children attends ballet classes for fun with no greater ambitions. Some of them might want to seriously devote themselves to ballet later, but “little stars” are rare. To nurture such a talent is very demanding job”, says Maria Subotovska. “This school exists for already eight years and during that period only five of our students have enrolled at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. “
However, the world-famous Russian ballet dancers such as Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova and Rudolf Nureev, had a mediocre physical qualities. That is why experienced teachers-choreographers believe that it is not crucial.
“It means a lot if the child’s dream is to become a ballet dancer. If a child attends ballet classes at the insistence of parents, it will not give any results. What meters is character and discipline, and physical qualities can be improved over time. If the child has adequate natural predisposition, we let the parents know, and with their consent, we begin serious work with talented students and we try to direct them that ballet becomes their life choice ” says Subotovska.
Less than 5% of ballet dancers realize the dream of becoming a soloist
38 year old Natalia Mostova is graduate ballerina. The great love towards ballet led a little girl from Ukraine to Moscow. This was followed by several hours daily training sessions on wall bars (pole for warm-up exercises). Many years of education, attempts to become a member of some of the leading ballet troops. Now she is a manager of “Ribambelle” ballet school, teaches kids the basics of ballet and does not regret about anything. She made her own choice.
“Parents often don’t ask a lot of questions about this profession and decide that their child dances ballet despite their desire, or physical qualities of ballet dancers. So later, problems occur. If parents force their child, his life will be ruined. In fact, only 5% of graduates ballet dancers at the end of the Academy become members of some good troops, and even fewer who dance like ballet soloists “.
Competition is particularly high among girls, because boys are in minority. For example, since 2006. when Ilza Liepa’s school-studio opened, only 15 boys attended it. Men choose this profession more rationally.
“If student don’t succeed by the age of 23, then she/he must seriously consider what to do next, ” says Natalia Mostova. “In most cases, ballerinas are engaging in educational work, marry or continue their education in another higher education institution. Working life of ballet dancers is very short, they retire at the age of 38.”
In many cases, after years of educating , invested health, time and money do not pay off. For example, in Moscow ballet classes, 3 times a week cost up to $500 per month.
17% of participants chooses ballet as their profession
Alternative children’s ballet schools are dance studios in Moscow, which has several thousand, and many are free. According to the survey the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VCIOM) in May 2012, 61% of children in Russia attends extracurricular activities, and 17% of them go to the ballet which is just behind the sports activities by popularity. But only few of them chooses ballet as their profession. Alla Kremlin attended ballet for 10 years, at the age of 16 enrolled in college, and now she is head of the department for pre-school and lower school education in the company “New Disc”.
“For me it was a indescribable pleasure, I lived from class to class, even danced at home and studying by using videos. Then I got injured, so I was not allowed to expose myself to any greater physical effort and move on to a higher level, even though I really wanted. Now I plan to enroll daughter to ballet. “
Despite all the difficulties that artistic professions carry with them, a very large number of children in Russia wants to deal with art. Fund “Children of the World” made a questionnaire in may 2013. and it showed that 16,4% of children at the age of 5 to 6, dreams of artistic profession in the future, and ballet is one of the most popular.
Source: Russia Beyond The Headlines
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