Ilya and Sol are back online and are teaching a live ballet class right now! Fun fact: I’m 99.9% sure they are staying with Tsiskaridze and this is his apartment.

Sharni Spencer rehearsing Giselle (The Australian Ballet, 2018)


Adam Elmes | The Australian Ballet School | photo by Sergey Konstantinov


Adam Elmes |
The Australian Ballet School


Adam Elmes

The Australian Ballet School

Hi Melmoth, What is the name of the dancer playing the role of Esmeralda in the video you uploaded? What year was the video recorded?

That’s Elvira Khabibulina. She graduated from Vaganova Ballet Academy in 1991 (same year as Ulyana Lopatkina) and spent her entire career dancing with the Mikhailovsky Theatre. She’s currently a coach with the company.

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Does the dance belt serve the purpose of hiding the dancer..”hard thing” ? I guess when you dance with such gorgeous ballerinas and close bodies you can have this problem come up….

Here’s what doctordancebelt says on the mantter:

Dance belts are specialized athletic supporters designed specifically for dance. Tights create the quandary. The gods of ballet have decreed that male dancers wear them for class and performances, but somehow without little Johnny’s johnny providing a graphic male anatomy lesson for the other students or audience. Also in ballet, mid-class “readjustments” are considered bad form. Genital protection and support are needed. And because tights are form-fitting, any conventional underwear or jockstrap shows right through them.  Dance belts avoid these lines by eliminating the jockstrap’s rear straps, replacing them with a thong that goes between the buttocks.

Dance belts were created to form a smooth idealized male bulge under tights with no visible lines, while keeping the genitals safely and securely held up and away from the danger of being crushed or bruised between your legs.  A secondary benefit is their ability to hide any visible evidence of a spontaneous erection, which could be extremely embarrassing in class or on stage.  Although you’ve probably never worn anything else even half as tight as a dance belt, a well fitting one can actually be quite comfortable once you get used to the unusual feel.  Dancers like the security of knowing their testicles aren’t going to get trapped and crushed between their thighs. The secret is finding the right dance belt.

Essentially, the best serves the following purposes:

  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Aesthetics

You can learn more about dance belts here. I would also recommend reading Dance magazine’s article Can We Get Rid of the Awkwardness Surrounding Dance Belts?

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Hi! Do you happen to know how Olga Morgulets is going post-Vaganova? I’ve seen some Instagram posts where she is dancing at the Hermitage Theatre, was that a student performance? Thanks! Love your blog by the way!

Thank you! It’s been reported that Olga is now training at the Dolgushin School of Ballet in St Petersburg, as is Yana Cherepanova. I think their school puts on regular performances.

would there be any way to find out what the reading requirements are when a student at the VBA ? (as in required books for lessons such as ballet history etc) If not , do you have any readings you’d recommend for ballet history? It can be in Russian or English . Thank you)

If we’re talking about local (Russian) students entering VBA as part of the Academy’s standard audition process – then they must have completed their secondary education (finished grade 4 in a regular school). That’s the only academic requirement. I’m sure that having basic knowledge of ballet history, music history and theatre history would be helpful, but it’s not compulsory – those are all the subject students learn at the Academy. 

In terms of resources, I’m really not sure what to tell you… I’m actually working on putting together a list of ballet, opera and classical music resources, so hopefully I can share something soon. I the meantime, the internet is chock-full of documentaries about ballet, and if you speak Russian then you have a massive advantage. For example, here’s a two-part doco on the Mariinsky, which VBA shared on their Facebook page recently:

Is Sofya Khoreva related to Maria Khoreva?

Yes, she’s Maria’s younger sister.

Do you see the similarity between Zakharova and Anastasia Smirnova? I see it in their looks but not their dancing style.

I think there are a lot of similarities in their looks and physique, so people often do a double-take when they see Smirnova. Of course, Anastasia is only at the very start of her career and her style is still developing (plus, you can’t compare anyone to Zakharova). I do think that you can tell that Smirnova is professor Kovaleva’s student. There’s something about her students that similar…

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Viktoria Tereshkina and Xander Parish in Romeo and Juliet (Mariinsky Ballet, 2014)

A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream

(Ballet Black, 2014)