KATERINA HOND NZ AT RUSSIAN MASTERS ALICANTE SPAIN
Katerina outside the Principal Theatre of Alicante with the Russian Masters Ballet Stars Gala poster
Katerina dancing Diana in the Grand Pas “Diana & Actaeon” with
Mikhailovsky Ballet principal Ivan Zaytsev
Mt Eden Ballet Academy, Auckland, New Zealand
AHA Awards Supreme Semi-Finalist 2015
RUSSIAN MASTERS BALLET
Summer Intensive Camp Alicante SPAIN
Katerina writes ....
It was such a great honour to be presented the Russian Ballet Masters scholarship at the AHA Awards 2015.
I was so excited about the opportunity to spend a month in Spain to train with Russian ballet masters, but up on the stage on Finals night it still seemed like an impossible dream.
Thanks to Katie Haines and the AHA Trust this wonderful opportunity did become a reality and so in July I was on my way to Alicante on the Costa Blanca of Spain.
On arrival the truly international mix of the summer intensive was obvious.
Dancers from all over Europe plus a few from the UK and different parts of America, but I was the only Australasian dancer there. I had never met young ballet dancers from places like Turkey, Mexico and Italy before.
The directors had previously assessed my AHA performance videos for placement level and so I joined the advanced pre-professional group, ages ranging from myself at 16 to 21 years. After only my first class I realised just how very lucky we were… our Classical tutor was the most amazing TatianaSevastianova, Principal tutor of Eifman ballet in St Petersburg and past teacher of Natalia Osipova.
I had been a bit nervous as to how I would cope with the Vaganova style teaching after coming from an RAD school, but after only a few days of Tatiana adjusting and prodding me I realised how subtle style changes made my upper body especially feel more graceful.
English and Spanish were the unifying languages for us as students throughout the intensive, but as Tatiana could really only speak Russian well, we had an interpreter available in our classes with her. Of course ballet class has its own language so we had no problems, but I did learn a few expressive Russian terms for directing us right or wrong and enthusing our energy during the long, hot days.
Time and scheduling is something very different at a Spanish summer intensive…
Shuttle buses transported us several times each day from our resort accommodation to the Conservatoire ballet studios. In the mornings we had dance classes until 2pm, before going back for full buffet lunch and a couple of hours break in the heat of the day. Afternoon starts about 5pm in Spain when we went back to the studios for our 2nd dance session of the day finishing about 8.30-9pm. Dinner was served from 9pm - 11pm which is very normal for the Spanish and when the day is slightly cooler.
With mid summer temperatures in Alicante of 35-42 degrees, we really enjoyed having the 2 swimming pools at our holiday resort accommodation and the ability to go to the beautiful beaches several times a week. Saturdays finished earlier after Gala rehearsals and Sundays were our free day. But of course that was also when we needed to find time to wash our leotards and tights!
I had 3 roommates in our apartment and we all became friends and got on well.
We were grouped together as being English speakers and created our own mini United Nations - New York, Ecuador, Belgium and New Zealand.
The absolute highlight of my Russian Masters experience was the chance to perform as a soloist alongside the Mikhailovsky ballet guests in the “Stars Gala” that was held on our final weekend.
Junior dancers that attend the summer intensive perform in the Final show at the Conservatoire, but only selected advanced students are cast for roles in the public “Stars Gala” performances in the Principal Theatre of Alicante.
After our first week of classes, the female dancers in our group auditioned for the soloist parts for both “Flames of Paris “and “Diana & Acteon”. I was thrilled when Tatiana chose me, “her Katya”, to perform Diana in the Grand pas de deux with principal Mikhailovsky dancer Ivan Zaytsev.
My friend Maria Clara was chosen for the other soloist role dancing Flames of Paris with our Contemporary and Body conditioning tutor Viacheslav Tyutyukin - currently soloist at Aalto Ballet (Germany).
Tatiana rehearsed and prepared us very well, but it was quite nerve wracking when Ivan Zaytsev and the other guest principals arrived straight from their final season performance in St Petersburg, with only 36 hours left for our staging and dress rehearsals. But everything ran with precision and felt fantastic!
I am so thankful for the unforgettable experience of having performed a Grand pas de deux as the partner of a principal ballet dancer.
AHA Awards and Russian Ballet Masters have given me the most amazing experience and a special memory that will be with me always.
Thank you - I will be forever grateful.