IngoDance visited the intramural audition for Young Artists Ballet Program of the Bolshoi Theater, whose partner is the Ingosstrakh insurance company. Let us tell you how it went!
They entered the ballet classroom very quietly and took their place at the barre.
Their place. In the Bolshoi.
Out of 40 applicants - this was the number of video applications that Makhar Vaziev, the head of the ballet company viewed from December to February, only seven people received invitations to audition for the Young Artists Program of the country's major theater. But two of them didn’t make it to the intramural stage: one was prevented by an injury, the other - by the pandemic. As a result, artists from St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Perm and Moscow entered this competition for the right to become even better under the guidance of the Bolshoi mentors.
The youngest participant of the audition, Yana Cherepanova, is 16 years old. She lives in St. Petersburg and is absolutely sure that ballet is her vocation. Today, Yana is a student at the Washington School of Ballet. In her past are classes in a choreographic studio, studies at the Vaganova Academy, and even a painful expulsion from this legendary choreographic school. In the present - external fragility and unfaltering gaze. There is no other way.
Next to Yana, Anastasia Berdnikova, a graduate of the Voronezh School of Choreography, is warming up at the barre. Anastasia is the most experienced of the intramural audition participants. She received her diploma of a professional ballet dancer in 2017. This year, she is graduating from GITIS (the Russian Institute of Theater Arts). When she entered the ballet master department, she believed that ballet production is able to compensate for her passion for dancing, but she was wrong. And here she is now - among the participants of the Bolshoi Theater Youth Ballet Program.
In the center of the room, Maria Morozova, wearing a sweatshirt with the word "Win", is doing turnout exercises one after another. Masha made her first serious steps in classical dance at the Moscow Choreographic School of the Gzhel Dance Theater. When Masha was choosing a ballet school, Gzhel’s general atmosphere, bright classrooms and attentive mentors won over her. It was their support that allowed Masha to believe in her own strength and send a recording of her regular lesson to the head of the Bolshoi ballet company, Makhar Vaziev.
Lev Ponomarev is the only guy among the candidates for participation in this creative education marathon. He is 19 years old, and in order to declare his desire to enter the stage of the country's main theater, Lev came here from Perm. He was getting ready for the audition methodically, confidently, coolly. Warm up, flexibility exercises, stretching. Lev is focused on doing the exercises as accurately as possible and even if he wants to dreamily look into the distance, he does so sitting in the splits.
As for the graduate of the Ledyakh School of Classical Dance, Anna Kozina, during her warm-up, she tried not only to warm up her joints and muscles, but also to add some fire to her own emotional state. She is smiling broadly almost all the time, and stops only when doing a vertical split, then she becomes like a taut string then.
Young Artists Ballet Program of the Bolshoi Theater is a joint project of the country's major theater and Ingosstrakh. According to the creators' idea, young dancers, who already have a ballet education and whose names will become known after two stages of selection (correspondence - by video and intramural - in a ballet classroom), will come to Moscow, where they will live and learn with the Bolshoi mentors. Ingosstrakh will take care of travel expenses and the theater will help with accommodation in the metropolis. The allowance for the entire period of study (from 3 to 9 months) will also be provided by Ingosstrakh, and the head of the Bolshoi ballet company Makhar Vaziev will determine the individual educational trajectory. This means that artists do not need anything other than talent, efficiency and dedication.
There is still half an hour before the audition starts. But the concentration of the sense of purpose and undistracted attention in the air has already reached its maximum level. Warm up, stretch, go deep into yourself. They don’t want to exchange the latest news or discuss the weather in the capital. The television crew and the photographer working, conversations of journalists - all this simply doesn’t exist in the contestants’ world.
In the schedule, the time from 11.00 to 12.00 is reserved for choreographer and tutor Nina Semizorova. In 1977, a gold medal at the III International Ballet Competition opened the door to the Bolshoi stage for her. Today, during her class, the head of the theater's ballet company will once again assess all the applicants and decide how and when the participants of the first all-Russian program for young talents - a joint project of the Bolshoi Theater and Ingosstrakh - are going to learn.
11.10… Beginning of the class has been postponed.
When it was 11.11 on the clock, the doors of the ballet hall opened, and Makhar Vaziev and Nina Semizorova entered. The young dancers lost their composure at once. Anxiety enveloped everyone present. The ballet director raised an eyebrow in surprise and asked: "Do you worry?" It became clear from the whispers and rustles that the answer was: “A lot.”
Makhar Khasanovich smiled slightly, introduced the teacher and accompanist, asked the young artists to introduce themselves and, in a voice full of support and understanding, said: “Let's get started.”
Nina Lvovna came out to the center of the room. Now, all the participants’ attention was directed to her.
- “Demi plie, demi plie,” - Nina Lvovna repeats, and the students diligently squat down.
From simple to complex
Nina Semizorova moves around the classroom, showing combinations, stopping in front of one dancer, then in front of another.
- One, two, three, four, plie, simple demi rond!
For participants of this competitive class, showing moves and combinations is a special bonus. By ear, even in a familiar environment, not everyone is able to catch the sequence of dance moves, let alone a moment when any mistake can cost dearly.
- Attention to the hand! Ram-tara-ram - en demi-pointe!
Emphasis on your hands and feet... Even in this short meeting with young artists, Nina Semizorova tries to convey the secrets of her skill. Hands and feet - colorfulness and brightness of the performance depend on their expressiveness during the dance.
- Jeté, jeté, battement, bend!
The accomp music, on the one hand, helps support the pace of the lesson, and, on the other, reduces the level of excitement a bit. The “Hello, Dolly!” variations are replaced by the motives of the Russian romantic song “Open the Gate Slowly!”
In about 20 minutes, warm tracksuits are already on the floor. Young performers in their gymnastic leotards move on to doing exercises in the middle. Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Italian Polka" is playing as an accompaniment, the one without which no choreographic class can do in any dance studio in Russia. Yana and Maria are focused as much as possible on the technique of performing the exercises. Anastasia uses expressive performance to try and compensate for the failures that appeared during the year of quarantine, and Anna first repeats all the moves that Nina Lvovna shows, with her hands, trying to remember them.
Lev, who has found himself in the women’s class for the first time, adapts as quickly as possible. By the third part of the class - Grand Allegro - the artists were divided. Lev and Anna formed a pair, Yana, Maria and Nastya - a group of three.
All attempts to read the result of this audition on the face of Makhar Vaziev are in vain. He is focused. And even if he writes something on the CVs of the participants, he does it almost without interrupting his observation of the artists.
The closer the end of the class, the more rapidly the tasks for the artists change. Italian Fouette, Echappe, Assemble... The last minutes of this meeting with the teacher are the most exciting ones. The guys are trying to show everything that they did not manage to do before.
- And one, and two, and three, the end!