I spent 4 years studying ballet in Romania and another one in Budapest and then I went to Kiev State Choreographic College, the school where ENB’s Romanian prima ballerina Alina Cojocaru learned how to dance, impress and act on stage. Following a DVD audition, on 17th of July (which is exactly after my birthday) I got the good news: I was going to study in Kiev and follow on the steps of one of my favorite ballerina. I was really excited and I couldn’t wait to meet the teachers and the students, I was going to start a new life with new people, in a new country and a new language much more difficult than Hungarian.
Describe a day in your life – from waking up to going to sleep
On 22nd of October I started my experience among Ukrainians and Russians. I lived in a campus together with Russian students. There was also a kindergarden there, where little girls were taught first ballet steps. I got along well with their traditional food, which is very similar to ours. There was a big distance from campus to school, but they had a school bus for all the students living in the campus.
The school is situated in the center of Kiev, next to the Opera House and to a lot of museums and institutions, but you can see the troubled history of the country on their buildings. The conflicts in Kiev left visible marks on the walls.
School proved to be a warm and welcome place.I arrived on a Thursday and I started my ballet lessons and folk dance the next day. For the first week my program started at 12:30 with Russian language till 1:30 and at 14:15 ballet classes.Tuesday and Thursday we had duet lessons, Pilates on Monday and folk on Friday. Compared to Hungary, where Saturday our ballet class started at 8 and finished at 9:25, in Kiev the schedule started at 10 with modern dance till 11:30, had a very long break till 14:30 when we started again ballet lessons till 16:00. On my first modern class in Kiev, I was surprised to find out that my teacher knew Romanian. That was easier for me and that was the only class I really enjoyed, obviously after ballet and Pas De Deux. But this happened only the first 2 weeks. After that, my schedule became exhausting, from 9 o’clock till 18 o’clock I was in school learning Russian and working on my classes.
How did you get along in the new school? How was it different from the previous school?
I can’t say that I got along in my new school very smoothly, as most of the students and teachers didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Russian. I was always asked why didn’t I speak Russian and I was like, ,,sorry I don’t know how to say it in Russian”.
I think the differences between the Russian school and the Hungarian school were the technique and the classes. Although they teach Vaganova in Budapest, there were a lot of differences to the method used in Kiev. Plus in Budapest we had Pilates, stretching and repertoire, here we didn’t have any of these, but the ballet classes extended from 2 hours per day to 4 hours per day. A very big difference from the other ballet schools is graduation diploma as a Junior Specialist state standard for three qualifications: Ballet dancer; Dance teacher primary specialized art schools and Director for amateur choreographic collective. Beginning with the second year, there are more disciplines to study: history of theater, history of music, drama, history of costume and others. If I want to continue my studies, I can go to the Institute to get a Bachelor’s Degree. The College includes: the kindergarten , the school and Young Ballet of Kiev.
Which was your biggest challenge so far?
I think my biggest challenge was the language barrier. I must admit that reading in Russian was one thing but trying to speak was another one. It was so difficult, that I continued to talk in English.
Another challenge was to leave my family, friends and country and to go to study among foreigners with no relatives there and no one to help me.
Yet another one: the director decided that I should learn Swan Lake choreography in 1 week and dance in a small tour in Ukraine but I said no to this. After two weeks he told me that I still have to learn the choreography and dance at Ukrainian Conservatory in front of very important people. It was really hard for me because I was the youngest girl, all the other girls were 17 to 19, but I did it and I felt wonderful. Dancing in Swan Lake is not easy. I think it has never been and never will be. Preparation includes is a lot of work and steps, you have to keep the synchronize with the assemble, music and the rest of the cast. And there is the expression, you have to tell the story and create the wonderful feeling of the story. I also danced in the Christmas show at National Opera of Ukraine, I danced in a short part of Nutcracker, Flower Waltz, pas de deux from 3rd act, I danced as first snowflake, also modern dance ,,Cleopatra” and ,,Prologue” choreography by Alla Rubina, Alina Cojocaru’s teacher from Kiev. It was a great honor to meet Mrs. Rubina and also to dance on the same stage where other worldwide famous ballerinas such as Iana Salenko and Svetlana Zackharova did.
A big “thank you” to all the teachers from Vienna – specially to Mrs.Evelyn Teri who made me realize that the ballet is not just about the technique, is joy, a dream that I have to go all the way – and to all the teachers in Budapest, Kiev and Romania, who trusted and encouraged me to continue ballet even in the hardest moments. I appreciate everyone a lot and I hope that one day you will be very proud of me!
I now invite you to watch an excerpt from “Cleopatra”