Category: zoya frolova


Did Vaganova have a year with two graduation classes? Also where did Skorik train? I thought Perm

Skorik studied in Perm State Choreographic College. Each Vaganova grade is divided into several streams, each headed by a different teacher. This way, class sizes are kept to a minimum. The final year (Grade 8 / Level III) is divided into four streams: two boys’ and two girls’ classes. The teachers are: Kovaleva, Kasenkova, Ilyin and Miozzi.

Hi! I’ve just discovered your blog and I’ve been reading your posts non stop 🙂 I read one of your answers about body modification on the VBA students; specifically about tattos being out of the question… what if a student gets a tattoo? I think Khiteeva has an arrow on the side of her wrist…

I don’t know if Khiteeva is over 18. That might play a role. However, I don’t think many students would risk the teachers’ wrath by getting a tattoo before they graduate. Seems like a silly thing to do. 

Do you have an estimate of how many students fail their exams each year? Like is it common to fail?

It varies form year to year. I think there VBA “thin the herd” a little in 3rd and 5th grade, and most of expulsions happen around that time.

Hi! I was wondering if you could tell which five girls were dancing on the centre/back barre in Kate Panda’s most recent Instagram video?

Katya answers that question in the comments.

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How does the duet exam work with so many more girls than boys at Vaganova? The poor guys do it more than once?

They arrange the combinations in a way that works with the number students.

Hello! Would you know why they stopped allowing filming of the exams? I love watching them and following their progress … seems sad that they wouldn’t allow filming anymore, especially of the graduating year …

VBA exams are filmed professionally on regular basis, but the footage is for internal use and examination only. VBA main argument against releasing the footage is that exams are part of the teaching process and the public don’t need to see it. That hasn’t stopped students from filming and posting videos of the exams on instagram though.

The footage of Tsiskaridze’s classes taking their classical exam get released, but I think that that is due to the fact that Nikolai has to keep proving himself and constantly show the results of his work.

Has Marko Juusela transfered to Vaganova all together? Or is he still a foreign student? What year is he in? He seems to be one of the best in his class.

Marko is an international trainee. There’s no way for a trainee to become a “local” student. They receive a traineeship diploma at the end of their time at VBA. The only notable exception to this was Keenan Kampa, who received a full diploma upon graduating from the academy.

Hi Melmoth! Hope you had a good start to the week 🙂 I wanted to ask if you know the reason why the VBA teachers often wear similar shoes that seem to have high arches? Tsiskaridze sometimes wears them and I can’t stop wondering about it.

I think you’re referring to the Grishko sneakers which the teachers often wear. It’s comfortable professional dance footwear – I suppose that’s why they wear them.

Do you think body type will effect a student’s place on the barre? I notice sometimes, there’s a girl on the front of the side barre who seems to be a stronger dancer than a girl on the edge of the center barre, but the side barre girl has a very different body type so she wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the center barre girls. I’ve also noticed it seems like the tall/thinner girls are usually on one side barre and the shorter/a bit less thin girls on another side barre.

No, I don’t think body type is very likely to affect a student’s position at the barre. 

For the students who take part in performances at the Mariinsky: when do they rehearse these? Is it structured into their daily schedules? If so what do the students not performing do?

Rehearsal time is generally in the evening and the afternoon, after the classes finish. Given how many performances VBA students have been giving / been a part of in the last five years, I doubt students are ever idle. There’s always something going on.

Hi Melmoth! It seems like the grads this year will get a chance to perform their Graduation at Mariinsky and Bolshoi!(i noticed it in one of the grad’s IG). I’m not surprise with the Performance at Mariinsky but on the Bolshoi’s stage is a big surprise don’t you think?Especially when BBA&VBA are rivals and the Bolshoi doesn’t like Tsiskaridze since then. Maybe now it’s not that strained anymore but i just wanna know your thinking,how do you think the school might have done to perform at Bolshoi?

The information about one of the graduation shows taking place at the Bolshoi has been out for some time now (and the tickets have been on sale for ages). It’s not that strange, given that the academy is celebrating their 280th jubilee this year. Many of the former graduates (Zakharova, Smirnova, Obraztsova, etc) will be taking part in the graduation gala.  

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Do students at vba learn english? is it a compulsory subject?

English is taught as a compulsory subjects for the first five years (Grades 1 – 5) at at the academy. Presumable, it can later be taken as an elective.

Do students learn foreign languages like French in vaganova academy? After all, ballet has many French words

French is taught as a compulsory subjects for the first four years (Grades 1 – 4) at at the academy.

Hello, I have a question- do you know who is about to preform as Paquita at the graduation preformence this year?💝

My understanding is that Paquita will be performed by returning Vaganova grads (though it’s unclear exactly who it will be). The academy is celebrating its 280th jubilee this year, so some of the famous grads will be participating in the graduation performances: Svetlana Zakharova, Olga Smirnova, Yulia Stepanova, Evgenia Obrztsova, Alena Kovaleva, Eleonora Sevenard, Mikhail Lobukhin and Egor Gerashchenko.

hi! for the document listing all the acceptances to vaganova, what is the section all the way at the bottom? also, do vaganova students get piano lessons?

It’s the list of children who haven’t been accepted into the academy but were advised to return to St Petersburg in late August for a final round of (additional) auditions. So they still have a small chance of getting in. 

What do you think about Alexandra Khiteeva getting the main role (with Maria Khoreva) in last years Nutcracker? Do you think one of the students from the graduating year should’ve gotten it? And I know you don’t like comparing dancers, but who do you think danced the role better?

It’s not uncommon for students from a sophomore class to get to dance the part of Masha in the academy’s production of “The Nutcracker”. The academy has a strict auditioning process in place for these productions, and I trust their decisions (though there are always rumblings about the casting choices on Russian forums and message boards). 

Both Maria Khoreva and Daria Ionova have been rehearsing the leads for La Gioconda and Suite en Blanc. Do you know who is actually doing the role? Both? Or is one of them the backup?

They will probably get to dance both parts. Altogether, there are five graduation performances, and the casts alternate each night, so the students get to perform several roles. 

@noodlesoup28 Of the 2 graduating classes in VBA, Professor Lumila’s class with Khoreva, Bulanova, Ionova, Petrukova etc. is so much more popular. Do you happen to know why?

I suppose because the students from this particular class are better-known online? Both Khoreva and Ionova have significant social media presence, so they are easily the most recognisable / poplar VBA student at the moment.  

Do you know how VBA usually handles severe eating disorders? I imagine that unfortunately many of the girls have less immediately life-threatening EDs, that’s the nature of the art form everywhere it seems, but for girls who are very sick? I saw a post on a (former?) student’s personal instagram account about leaving the school for treatment for anorexia but she didn’t mention anything about the school forcing her into it or expelling her.

Since I’m not a VBA insider, unfortunately, I can’t give you actual insight into how the academy deals with eating disorders. From what I do know, most girls who develop an eating disorder end up having to leave the academy (this goes for BBA as well). Ballet isn’t something one can pursue professionally unless one is very healthy and strong. Eating disorder are on VBA’s “black list” of health conditions which would prevent a student from studying there. There have also been cases of girls starving themselves and then either: 1) realising that what they were doing was dangerous and slowly gaining back the weight; or 2) rapidly gaining back the weight (and then some) because their bodies reached a breaking point. In the latter case, the weight gain was significant enough for the girl to get a warning from the academy, however, neither case resulted in expulsion. Finding a perfect, healthy balance is hard, and I have a feeling that the academy doesn’t make enough of an effort to teach the students about nutrition. 

Has Zoya Frolova officially left vaganova, I am seeing her in recent videos posted on youtube but I assume they are from last year?

I guess so.

As Orine is leaving for the Mariinsky this year, will she get a solo in the graduation performance since she won’t be around next year?

I’m not sure. I don’t know what the casting is for this year’s grad shows. I doubt her getting a place at the Mariinsky will affect wether or not she participates in the shows, though.

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How does it work for Vaganova students and teachers having classes also in Context Pro?

Professor Ludmila Kovaleva is Diana’s teacher, mentor and Godmother. It makes sense that she teaches a class or two at Diana’s studio. And there’s nothing stopping the students from taking a class at Context Pro outside of their school hours. From what I hear, many students take extra classes during the week outside of VBA anyway.

About Minori Nakashima, she was hired by the Finnish National Ballet coming out of her 6th year. Can students join companies that young?

Foreign trainees are in a slightly different position to the local students. Their time at the academy ranges anywhere from a semester to four years. After they receive their certificate of completion, they’re free to go. If a company wants to hire them, there’s nothing stopping them from accepting. 

Of course it’s not very common for companies to hire such young dancers, but it’s not unheard of. ABT hired Paloma Herrera at 16.

Did Zoya Frolova really move to Korea?? Would you know why?

I don’t know but if I had to venture a guess I’d say that she either transferred or went on exchange. There’s a very strong ballet school in Seoul

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