Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"You're lucky you're wearing a leotard!"

AKA: Russia is HARDCORE.

I was talking with my ballet teacher during class when another student brought up a documentary she saw over the weekend. The documentary is called Ballerina. It's about Russian dancers. It's available on Netflicks so many people can get a hold of a copy if they're interested. What this brought up was my teacher's interesting experience with Russian instructors and dancers.

One day she was practicing and (I don't know... she was doing something wrong or complaining about her leotard) and her Russian instructor reprimanded her by saying, "You should even be grateful you have a leotard on when you dance!" She was surprised at first by this comment, but she learned later that some Russian dancers aren't allowed to wear them! I'm not sure if this was for the older dancers, but younger dancers weren't always so lucky.

Or perhaps they are lucky in a strange way. It is really prestigious for a girl to get into a Russian ballet. As my teacher says, if you make it into one of those, you're basically set for life. The tryouts have their odd/HARDCORE moments.

One thing they look for is the girl's flexibility. They see how far she can bend backwards, etc. They also look for features of their body. Their heads most be smaller than most and their limbs must be long. They test their flexibility and body their underwear. Imagine that flying in America? Yeah, I can't either. The parents would have a nightmare, but in Russia it's much different. This is where my ballet instructor got the "You should be grateful" speech from her Russian instructor. Apparently, some girls didn't even get the luxury of having a simple leotard.

Even their privacy is tapped into. They share dormrooms and if they have food in their rooms, the instructors or someone will come in and take it away so you can't eat it. I understand they are trying to promote the diet they've had, but come on! Who doesn't want a Hershey bar every once in awhile! Hahaha
Russian dancer Natalia Osipova
 The sad thing is they don't look for passion. There's a girl in my class from Russia. She was not accepted as a Russian dancer, yet she has so much potential! She loves to dance and is quite good at it. It's a shame they didn't accept her or even allow her to take lessons. At least here in America she's allowed to do whatever she wants with her dance.

Still, I'm basing all this information off of what's been said to me. I feel as if I can trust these women, but who knows? I've never been to a Russian ballet academy so I can't confirm this. Besides, I'm sure all ballet academies in Russia are different in slight ways. Russian dancers are amazing. They dedicate their lives to their art, so it's no surprise how wonderful they are! Here's to Russia, as hardcore as they may be, for their contribution to the ballet world!

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