After many years of intense training, students are able to blend classical Bolshoi Ballet technique and their own inspiration to dance with confidence and joy on any stage. Anastasia Babayeva and her husband Denis Gronostayskiy bring the technique and traditions from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the sophisticated mannerisms and elegance of the Czar’s Imperial Court to students and audiences in Montgomery County, Delco and beyond.
I recently watched a summer class being taught and realized I was watching a very fragile and delicate art form being given to another generation.
I asked Anastasia about her life in classical ballet with the Bolshoi, her training and the future of ballet as an art form.
“Unlike a painting in a museum, a ballet performance exists only in the moment and then it is gone. For ballet to survive it must be shared and taught from teacher to student. Classical ballet has endured social upheavals, political revolutions economic crises because it touches us in such a deep place,” she said.
“I believe it endures because it speaks to our humanity. Properly trained classical ballet dancers rise above performing a dry formal technique. They must also be emotional and intellectually fearless. They must dance about feelings and things in life and our society that matter not just to them but to us all. Ballet teaches us how to move in the most elegant way. It shows us how to understand life, learn how your body works, the happy parts, the sad parts and the unexplainable parts. It is a language without words. It takes us to emotions that words cannot describe.”
Denis adds, “Because ballet is passed on through one generation of dancers to the next, it is a very vulnerable art form. Classical ballet in the Bolshoi tradition has endured and survived all sorts of art movements that have come and gone.”
I told Anastasia that very few people know that we have in our midst a former soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet Company in Moscow. So I asked Anastasia about her ballet training.
“Although I have been dancing since age 5, my formal training in classical ballet began at age nine at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. For me and my husband, each day was a blend of academic classes and ballet classes nine hours a day for six days a week, from age nine until age eighteen. Upon graduation I joined the Bolshoi Ballet Company. ” she said.
She spoke of its 235 year history, of the numerous world class dancers, teachers and choreographers it has produced.
”To dance with the Bolshoi Ballet Company is to experience ‘ballet heaven’ because it demands colorful, energetic and dramatic performances. It uses bold choreography, impressive ensembles, lavish scenery and beautiful costumes; the Bolshoi has a distinctive character. Strength, athleticism, intensity and flawless synchronization are unique to the Bolshoi. It is these traditions, skills and techniques my husband and I bring from Moscow to this region. It is so great that Bolshoi Ballet performances are now available to anyone in the movie theaters throughout the area.” she said.
The Bolshoi is among the oldest ballet companies in the world. It was founded in 1776 by Czarina Catherine the Great as an Imperial Ballet School in the Winter Palace and students were considered members of the Royal Household. The Russian word, “Bolshoi” means both “large” and “grand” which is apt as the company has 230 dancers, a prestigious international reputation and the largest stage in the world for ballet. To be a ballerina there, Anastasia said, “is a life of discipline, sacrifice and artistic ecstasy.”
“I believe the beauty and spiritual message of ballet is what our society needs,” Anastasia said. “Too frequently I see children and adults who lack authentic emotions. Ballet fills that void. It’s a beautiful bouquet of intimate emotions, passion, fun and tenderness.”
Luckily for Montgomery County, she and her husband have brought its traditions here. They are opening a second location for their Academy of International Ballet in a new studio at 405 Caredean Drive in Horsham, PA 19044. Classes forming NOW. Please call 866-908-5666 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.