The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

'The most important thing is the goal': how an immigrant from Russia created a ballet academy in the USA

Vera Altunina is the founder and artistic director of the International Ballet Theater and the International Ballet Academy in Seattle, Washington. A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory managed to gather one of the best ballet troupes in the USA and bring up promising dancers.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

“It seems to me that I am one of the happiest people, because I do my favorite thing - dance,” Vera admits. Voice of America... - This is not even the case, this is my life. I live in dance, and dance is in me. This is a very difficult job, but I chose it myself and am very happy. And to see how your happiness brings happiness to others is beyond bliss. "

Next - from the first person.

Usually, before the start of each season, we get together with the entire staff (teachers, administration) and discuss the next season at school, at the academy and at the theater. Each one offers his own ideas. When I come to such rallies, I say every time: this year the goal is this, next year it is. We must come to this, and how - let's discuss this matter.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

I was born in Siberia. There was never a question why I started doing ballet. I have a feeling that I started dancing before I was born. In Russia then there were two best places where a girl can dance: Leningrad and Moscow, there are the best ballet schools and theaters. I always had a desire to go to Petersburg, study there, live, continue to realize my dream.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

At the age of 10, I entered a school in Leningrad. The first years were very difficult. Then she entered the Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad Academic Conservatory, where she was educated as a choreographer and ballet master. This happened just at the time when the “iron curtain” began to gradually melt. And after perestroika in 1992-1993 one of the leaders of the project, which was called Peace Child, came to our conservatory. They needed a choreographer, and I agreed. It turned out that in the process of this work I was not only a choreographer, but also the director of this show, then they called me on a return visit to America, I received an invitation to come to the United States and try my possibilities here.

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Photo: video frame Voice of America

I came here with my son, and only six months later did my husband Anatoly arrive. From here it all started. Work continued at various companies. One of the companies that really impressed me was the Washington Academy Performing Arts in Seattle. There I was constantly asked to stage some performances. I really could, knew how and I really liked it.

And then at one fine moment there was a group of students who followed me wherever I worked. They said to me, "Okay, Miss Vera, it's time to open your own school." And this happened in 2001. In the first month, we had 25 students - boys and girls of different ages. For 18 years the academy has grown, now 320 people come to us.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

It was very important for me to give the opportunity to practice ballet to people who want to do it as an amateur, as a hobby. But at the same time, for me, as a professional person, it was important to create a professional program. We have two programs. Professional - dancers who want to devote their lives to dancing come here through a competition, they have the ability and talent. The second program is preparatory. There is an opportunity for every person.

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Any work to which you dedicate your life requires an incredible contribution, both of energy, of time, and of life. When students devote themselves to the professional path, it is exorbitant work. Students in our professional program study from 12: 00 to 19: 00 from Monday to Saturday. Sunday is their day off if there is no performance.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

By the way, we don't have that many Russians. Our school is international, we somehow counted 18 nationalities - and this is very cool.

When I was creating the academy, I wanted to have a theater, so that I could create my own productions and educate my dancers - that would be logical. Therefore, both the theater and the school were formed in parallel. The theater has the status of non-profit (non-profit), but the school was created on the basis of business - people come to study and pay money for it. This allows us to live, as organizers, and further develop, to realize our next goals.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

As soon as the theater opened, we began to look for where it is possible to show performances. The first we showed in high school, this was the discovery of our first season. When the second one began, they found a theater and began to rent it. This place has become our permanent theater, we have been dancing here for 18 years.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

We met Anatoly at the conservatory, he was a bassoon musician. And now we are developing a business and together we are trying to create something very interesting and beautiful.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

This season we are planning several international ballet competitions, where our young students will show themselves as little artists, they will dance solo parts. Now we are preparing for them very seriously. I really want students to have the opportunity to communicate with outstanding dancers in the ballet world during the preparation process. We invited our friends to visit us - they are Ekaterina Kukhar, prima ballerina of the National Opera of Ukraine, and Alexander Stoyanov, the main premier of the National Opera of Ukraine, they are extremely popular in Europe. They came to give advice to our aspiring students.

“Vera did the impossible,” says Ekaterina. - She is a creative person, she multiplies what she has, puts her soul and heart. She has excellent teachers and tutors. The education given in this academy is very good ”.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

I am always on the alert. I always invent something, create, feed, because I know that without this it is impossible to hold on to anything - everything can spill out like sand through a sieve. I always have a lot of ideas.

I always have a goal, I set it and start to go towards it. Sometimes I am surprised at myself, my working day starts at 9-10 in the morning, for artists it is quite early. The whole day goes on in a busy mode: I teach, stage, rehearse, deal with organizational issues, come up with something. I have no concept of a “working day”. It's just life: you go with the flow, if there is a storm, you strive to overcome it, if it's calm, you swim calmly.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

You won’t make a lot of money with art, but to be happy is very possible.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

The best part after a busy day is that you have a lot of fun. Life is an amazing thing. I am so grateful to her!

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