Anastasia Markova 14 ~ Kittie LaPointe Peterson Ballet Scholarship
I was born in Seattle Washington but my first spoken words were Russianas— my mother was born there. My first love has always been dance. I was familiar with both worlds (Russia and dance) but I took them for granted as I danced and pranced all thru my toddler years. I actually lived for a year in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia where I attended Kindergarten while my mom worked.
Even when my mom attempted to teach me to play tennis, I found more fun in pirouetting with the racket than hitting the ball. I studied Ice Dancing for a number of years, moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to train with some of the best coaches. I actually became quite good,won many Regional Competitions and went to Nationals with my partner at the time. However, something was missing and I found I enjoyed my ballet classes, which I took on the side, much more so than skating.
When I was 10 years old, I met Mr. German Zamuel from St Petersburg Russia and began taking ballet classes from him and his wife everyday at his small local studio in Colorado. German and his wife had trained and danced at the Vaganova/Mariinsky School of Ballet. He could be fun or loud and made me translate for him when he did not quite know the correct English word, but always demanded the absolute best from his students. From German, I learned all about the great ballet artists of Russia and gained a new perspective of my heritage, as well as, the dedication, hard work and history of the Vaganova technique and all those great dancers who came from Russia. After studying with him for a year, I stopped ice skating and dedicated myself only to ballet as it became my passion. I wanted to learn as much as possible and become the very best that I can. After winning some local ballet dance competitions in Colorado, including an invitation to the Grand Prix in New York, I auditioned for the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into their school and after much thought my mother and I packed up and moved to the East Coast so that I could train there year around. It was tough and a huge sacrifice at first. It took a while to get settled and for my mom to find a job but I feel blessed and happy to come to class everyday and work, work, work because I know and can see the difference in my technique and in my ability.
I have been studying at Kirov Academy now for almost 2 years. It has been a very exciting, sometimes grueling but always rewarding time. I have had the opportunity to dance solos and groups dances in all of the various wonderful school winter and spring performances, as well as, perform in various local events including performing at aV iennese Ball hosted by the Austrian Embassy, Class Acts shows at local high schools to teach student about ballet, a Degas Showcase at the Phillips Collection Museum in D.C and at a Chinese New Year Gala.
Performing in front of an audience is always a dream but it takes many hours, days and years to acquire the technique and knowledge to do it well. I know that no matter what, my dream is to learn as much as possible about ballet and especially the Vaganova technique because some of the greatest dancers in the world came and still come from Russia. They inspire me, dancing inspires me, I feel exhilarated when I move and perform either by myself or together with others. Telling a story thru movement with music bringing some magic and beauty into the world. It takes a lot of hard work, sweat and sometimes even tears but when it is done right it looks effortless and the memories stay with you forever.
This year I was accepted to the Bolshoi Summer Intensive in New York City,it is a fabulous program with teachers straight from Moscow and I will be one of the youngest there. It is the closest that I can get right now to those great legends like Plicetskaya, Makarova, Pavlova
or Baryshnikov or Nureyev or Semenova...or ... the list just goes on
Thank you very much Dance Council and the Kittie LaPointe Peterson Ballet Foundation for awarding me a scholarship to help attend 6 weeks at the Bolshoi Summer Intensive program in New York City. The experience there was more amazing than I could have hoped or dreamed of.
It was incredible to have the ability to train with impeccable teachers right from the academy for 6 amazing weeks and to be able to connect and learn from them on a daily basis. Classes were grueling from 10 to 5pm Monday thru Friday but the ability to learn so much kept me going everyday. They not only taught me the precise Russian technique, but also passed on the joy to becoming a great artist and the passion and character it takes to dance every dance, every step. I also got to dance and train with the academy boys in partnering (who were outstanding partners by the way) learn classical repertoire pieces and character dance.
At the end of 6 weeks, I participated in an all school production and performed in such variations as "Little Swans" from Swan Lake , "Pas De Quatre" from La Bayedere, "Sugar Plum Variation" from Nutcracker and a number of Character Pieces.
All of the world class training I was provided along with the location of the program (couple of blocks from Lincoln Center) was magnificent! New York City was an amazing city to explore on weekends and I even got to see ballet stars perform who I have only seen in videos including Natalia Osipova! I would like to thank you again for this memorable experience which I will cherish for years to come.