Q & A: Sophia B. '22

Sophia B. ’22 was in Russia during the spring semester participating in the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, where she is learning classical, contemporary, historical, and character dance, as well as Russian language.

How did you get involved with ballet?

I started ballet when I was seven years old at Marat Daukeyev School of Ballet. When I was in 7th grade, I began taking lessons with Marat Daukayev, himself, who really helped me improve and grow as a dancer. I’m now deeply involved with ballet because I love its classical and historical roots, and also how challenging it is. On the surface, it seems like ballet is mostly about extensions, turns, balance, and jumps, but in reality, it’s the small details of every step and the connections between steps that create the beauty and ease to make ballet become ballet!


Tell us about your study abroad program.

Last summer, I danced at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s summer intensive in New York City, and two weeks after the intensive ended, I received an invitation to be a student at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. My program included dance classes five hours a day, Monday through Saturday, and Russian language classes for about three hours a day Monday through Friday. My dance and Russian classes, as well as my communications with my “дежурная” or dorm mother, are in Russian. It‘s been an amazing experience to be immersed in the training of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, which has trained dancers of the Bolshoi Theater since 1773.


How has this experience impacted you?

I think that this experience really helped me mature and understand different cultures and perspectives. My favorite part was being immersed in Russian culture and learning the Russian language. One of my favorite activities was going to neighborhood markets and I loved taking the subway around Moscow to see sights and enjoy the city with friends. I now feel comfortable navigating a foreign city and living independently. In addition, I’ve become really good at doing laundry and cooking meals in a microwave!

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