Story and Interview by Isabella Houle '19
Dancing everything from a snow angel to Clara in the Nutcracker, Emily Hester is a well known and incredible dancer. In her nearly 15 years of ballet, she’s done many shows, and placed in competition, but right now she’s taking on one of her biggest dancing challenges yet: half a year spent training in Russia under Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy. After spending her summer in their Summer Intensive, Hester was chosen to return for the semester to dance yet again. Here’s Emily answering questions about her time in Russia!
How long have you been dancing?
Since I was two…so 14 years.
How is Russia? Was it a big change from the US?
It’s good! I mean, because it’s Moscow, which is probably one of the most modern metropolitan areas in Russia, it was less of a culture shock, and you can always find someone who speaks a little English to help you out. But it’s definitely difficult to go from speaking English all the time to speaking Russian 24/7. Oh, and I wish it would get warmer, it’s going to snow next Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
What’s a typical day like for you?
So I get up, and have technique class at 8:45 until 10:30, then I go to Russian class from 10:55 to 1:35, and then I have more dance class until about 6-6:30. Then I do some school work, I take math, English, and an elective online. Though there are perks to doing online school, like I get to go at my own pace, I’m almost done with math and I have my final exam tomorrow. But since I don’t have a lot of time during the week I have to take chem and French over the summer. And I have a lot of Russian homework as well.
What have you done in/around Moscow?
I get one day off, and because I go to Bolshoi, it’s affiliated with Bolshoi Ballet, so I get really discounted tickets and go to the ballet like every weekend.
What’s the Russian food like?
Usually there’s this stuff called grechka, I think in English it’s like buckwheat, and then we have some meat on the side, and the soup. And there’s this drink called compote we have with every meal as well. And I drink lots and lots of tea.
How do you survive the cold?
What are your future plans for ballet?
Well, I really enjoy dancing, so I definitely want to continue it, probably in college. I don’t really know, honestly, I’m just going to see where it takes me.