Magazine article Dance Spirit

An American in Russia

Magazine article Dance Spirit

An American in Russia

Article excerpt

STUDYING BALLET IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME FOR THIS YOUNG DANCER. By Rebecca Davis

In May 2004, at 22,1 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study classical ballet and the Russian pedagogical approach to choreography in St. Petersburg, Russia, Fulbright grants are given to individuals pursuing research or practical studies on a particular topic. How that work is carried out is the responsibility of each grantee. Over the course of 10 months, I trained at Mussorgsky Ballet (formerly MaIy Ballet), the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the Choreographic Miniatures Ballet Theater (founded by L. Yakobson) and Kannon Dance. My training ranged from private two-hour classes with ballet mistresses to group classes with soloists and corps de ballet dancers of various troupes. I trained seven days a week, averaging four hours daily; however, when rehearsing my choreography, I would spend eight hours a day in the studio. I spent the most time choreographing and staging Antigone, my first full-length ballet, that I have since set on my own company, The Rebecca Davis Dance Company, in Philadelphia.

TRAINING WITH RUSSIAN BALLERINAS

At Mussorgsky Ballet, technique class began at 10:30 am and lasted 45 minutes. I was used to classes being twice that long, and wondered how I'd be able to increase my strength and stamina in just 45 minutes. These fears, however, were quickly dismissed. Though barre finished in only 20 minutes, the physical impact was just as strong, if not stronger, than in any American class I had taken-the ballet masters spend no time between exercises. Combinations are briskly communicated, and the pianist immediately starts playing, sometimes even before the ballet master says, "And!" (or "ee," in Russian). No personal corrections are given, and group corrections are rare. At the end, I was out of breath along with all the other ballerinas. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.