We hear much about British students winning places at the Mariinsky or Bolshoi schools, so how refreshing to hear of a dancer in St Petersburg wanting to attend London's Royal Ballet School. The 16 year-old ballerina is called Hannah Beach, which seems very anglo-saxon, and is explained by the fact that she is not from St Petersburg, home of the Vaganova Ballet Academy, but St Petersburg in Florida.
Beach won a $55,000 scholarship to study at the Royal Ballet School where lessons commence on September 12. She was offered the scholarship at this year's Youth America Grand Prix, the world's largest student ballet competition, which draws dancers from around the globe hoping for the chance to study with the world's most elite companies.
“To win a scholarship to the Royal Ballet in England is statistically more difficult to get than a full scholarship to Harvard,” says Peter Stark, the artistic director at the Patel Conservatory, where she studies.
“You can express yourself in a way that's literally without words,” Beach says. “I love to move and watch other people move. I love the technique and the discipline that goes into it. It's my personality. I feel strong and beautiful when I dance.”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.