1. When and where did you start taking ballet lessons?
I started dancing at the Children’s Palace in Ploiesti, where I took modern dance lessons. There, my teacher, Mr. Robert Zahariuc, seeing my potential and qualities, decided after a while to talk to my parents to enrol me at “Floria Capsali” High School of Choreography (Bucharest) where I could have performed at a much higher level and my horizons could become wider.
My parents have agreed with that proposal and one day we decided to go to the High School of Choreography, to attend a dance lesson.
Once there, I suddenly had a shock, because the studios I knew looked nothing like the one in which I found myself. A few seconds later, the ballet teacher described to me how a BALLET studio looked like. When I heard the word BALLET, I looked puzzled at my parents and frowned. Strange enough, there were bars all around, students were supporting their hands on them, someone was continuously playing the piano and a teacher was showing students some exercises I could not understand. What was I doing there?
After a dozen of minutes , watching the ballet class, I heard the teacher announcing the end of the lesson. When she got out of the room, she told me to follow her downstairs in order to introduce me to her other colleagues. On the way to the teacher’s room, in my mind, I knew I would have to give an answer, whether I want to join their school the next year or not, but the first idea that came to my mind was: “When you do something with passion and follow your heart, time is running very quickly.” Then I realized what the word BALLET meant, a word that was foreign to me until a few minutes before. After taking some tests, I took the decision to start the next school year at “Floria Capsali”, the vocational Ballet School in Bucharest
The first year of ballet at “Floria Capsali” High School of Choreography
I started ballet in my fifth grade; given that the High School of Choreography was in Bucharest and I was from Ploiesti, I had to stay alone, without my parents; I stayed in a campus for students.
There was no way to change anything because that campus was my only options to begin studies at that high school and I had no relatives or friends where I could have stayed.
For me, the first 3 weeks were exactly as I imagined at first: the teacher was very nice to us and I loved the exercises, up to a point when she started to ask for more and more, something that was difficult for me to understand at that early age.
Besides the rigor of a ballet life, I was facing the fact of living away from my parents and family at only 10, away from their love, care and tenderness, away from the home cozy sofa, TV, mom’s laundry and home cooking. You got the picture 🙂
Years passed and I started to get used to that, always having in the back of my mind that I wanted to achieve my dream, to become a great dancer. So , when I reached the age of participating in ballet competitions (Olympics called in Romania) I started to win the first prizes at national level.When I was 14, I decided to prepare myself for a very important competition, Tanzolymp in Berlin_Germany, in the pursuit of winning a scholarship, a goal I have wanted to reach ever since starting the ballet school.
In two months, I had to tend to perfection to fulfil my dream; working and rehearsing almost 100% every day, I could not fail.
When I arrived in Berlin, everything was new to me: I was in a competition in another country alone. My two other colleagues both had a family member with them. So there I was, on my own.
I tried to get over and I prayed every night and tried to rest as much as possible to give the best the next day.
After the competition, all participants gathered in a ballet studio to attend an hour of classical studies and the jury was supposed to choose the students for the scholarships
After completing the class, all participants remained at their places and jurors went to the selected participants. I did not think and did not expect anyone would come to me.
Despite my original thought, a few seconds later, a lady came to me and told me about her school. And then another one came, and another one followed. In the end, I won several scholarships:
a) 3 scholarships to study at Basel Balletschool, London National Ballet School and Vienna Ballet School
b) 3 scholarships for summer schools in : New York, Germany and Washington.
I was very happy, and eager to tell my parents, but decided to wait for the verdict and then give them the big news.
After the award ceremony, I called my parents, announced them that I had won the second place, and told them about all scholarships I got.
When I returned home, relaxing after all emotions of that week, I started to send mails to all schools offering the scholarship to find exactly what they could give.
After explaining my parents’ financial situation and sending them all kinds of documents, Switzerland-Basel made me the best offer! Without it I don’t think I could have gone anywhere! They offered me a full 3 years scholarship including: accommodation, food, health insurance and airline tickets to return home for vacations.
I did not waste too much time thinking, because they had made me the ideal offer. Afterwards, I received responses from the other countries, but unfortunately it was too late! I now take this opportunity to thank from the bottom of my heart to those who had faith in me and gave me a chance through their scholarships!
Moreover, I take this opportunity to thank to several people without whom my dream could not have come true:
To my parents, because they were, are and will remain my greatest support, to our good family friend, Mr. Ion Melnic, without whom I would not have participated in the contest in Berlin-Tanzolym, to my former teacher Ms. Diana Mateescu to whom I owe all my achievements and results I have obtained so far, and I thank her for her tough teaching style, because I can say that she had a huge contribution to my professional and personal thinking, because I learnt from her that every time, everything we do, we have to strive for perfection; not last but not least I would like to thank to Mrs. Julie Werlock (DIRECTOR – JUNIOR PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL) and Mrs. Amanda Bennett (DIRECTOR – BALLETSCHULE THEATER BASEL AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR-PRIX DE LAUSANNE), without whom I would have not been able to progress at international level!