Grand Prix Kyiv Ukraine Trip

Today I sat down with pre-professional student Madeleine Carstens in regards to her trip with director Katerina Fedotova to Ukraine!

“What were you most excited about when traveling to Ukraine?”

Aside from the obvious things, like getting to see the Opera House and watching the company perform, I was interested in seeing ballet, and I guess life too, from a more European perspective. At the time I’d never traveled outside of the U.S. before, so basically every part of the adventure was new and exciting.

“Did the time change affect your ability to dance and train”

Not at all, but I pretty much never sleep anyway so….

“How were the studios, teachers, and students compared to training here in America”

The difference in how ballet, and the arts in general, are perceived by society was very apparent. Ballet is treated with the greatest respect; the students see their training as an honor, the teachers see it as an art, and there’s absolutely none of the ‘recreational’ attitude of many studios in the U.S. Everything is focused on being ‘perfect’, which is a contrast to our more relaxed mindset in America, but the benefits of such intense training can clearly be seen on stage.

“What was your most memorable experience”

There’s so many to choose from, but getting to take a company class was definitely one of them. Needless to say, it was a tiny bit intimidating at first, but for someone who spent their whole childhood idolizing ‘company life’ getting to dance alongside the very best in the world was a dream come true. Not to mention the studios are absolutely gorgeous.

“How was being taught by Leonid Sarafoniv”

Incredibly fun. His class was fast-paced, very ‘Russian’ but with a lot of jumps and ‘pretty’ across-the-floor combinations, and of course, it was an absolute honor to take a class from such an icon of the ballet world.

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