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IRINA'S Journey

Everybody started somewhere. In the My Journey posts we ask an accomplished athlete / star / thought leader how they got where they are now. We hope their stories will inspire and motivate you.

In this fifth My Journey post, we had a chat with Irina who is a passionate Ballet dancer based in Moscow. We hope you enjoy Irina's journey.
Tell us a little bit about yourself :)

I live in Moscow (Russia), but I'm from Kharkov (Ukraine).

I'm a professional ballet dancer, but I had already finished my ballet career  because of trauma. So now work as a fitness instructor and  teach Ballet, Bodyballet, Classical Choreography, Stretching, Athletic Stretch, Barre, and Functional Training. My job uncovered my true potential and made me happy! I use modern music for my ballet classes (for ex. we do Grand Battement with Madonna's "Caught up"), mixing neoclassic combinations with original ones.

I'm good at dancing, cooking and decorating and like to travel all over the world - thanks to my job I could afford it. I prefer to spend my vacaiton singing in karaoke bars and attend workshops on makeup and hairstyle with my sister.

Also I find enough time to be a student  and specialize in  "Aerobics and fitness-gymnastics" at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPE)

I received a diploma at the International Contest of Classical Dance "Crystal Shoe-2004", went on tour to Portugal and Spain with Kharkov Children's Ballet Theatre with the ballets "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Wizard Harry and the Snow Queen" when I was 12. AIso I took a part in the Festival of Classical dance "Gran Pa" in Donetsk two times.

After two years of work in the theatre I was invited to go to China with the troupe "The Crown of Russian Ballet". We performed "Swan Lake", "Sleeping Beauty" and "Nutcracker" there. After that successful trip there was a tour to France. We lived and worked in Paris during a month and performed at "Comedia" theatre in the center of the city. I remember I saw Tour Eiffel, Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris everyday driving to work - that was Awesome.

Two months later I received an offer to continue my work with this company, so I left my job in the theatre and never regretted that decision. With "The Crown" and another company "The National Russian Ballet" I have been in Spain and Portugal again, Canary Islands, Sweden, Danmark, Finland, Norway, Italy, UAE, Puerto-Rico, Mexico, USA. It was very interesting but challenging at the same time.

How did you get introduced to ballet?

The first ballet I have seen was Christmas performance "Nutcracker". It was so unusual and wonderful. Most of all I remember the dance of Snowflakes. There was so many beautiful shapely girls with perfect fast legs on the stage at the same moment.

My mother brought me to the Ballet School when I was three years old. At the same age I got my first experience dancing in public. I had a сharming purple 'tutu (original ballet costume) for the role of Columbine.

On my arrival in the ballet school I remember only that there were a lot of children, they put me on the split, and I felt okay about that.

I had plenty of concerts and performances even im my childhood. We even danced at the stage of real Theatre of The Opera and Ballet in front of one thousand members of audiences.

When did ballet get really serious for you?

Actually there was no trigger at all.. I just so used to dance that couldn't imagine my life without that. Ballet became a part of every my day, my Life and me.

What was your biggest challenges?

There was so much pain while studying - our coaches stretch us so hard. A lot of girls was screaming when they did that. I was lucky, because I have very elastic muscles so it wasn't so terrible for me. But I still hate to jump! It was and sadly still, it's pretty painful. Also, there was no free time to do anything else I would like as a child.

How do you handle pressure?

I have graduated Perm Ballet School, one of the most famous ballet schools in the world. Our teachers were very strict and demanding. It was really hard to handle this. My family, especially my mother helped me to go through this and I really appreciate their support. Also I tried to remember that I will not be there forever.

Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness?

I felt so nervous to perform earlier. Sometimes I couldn't even feel my legs because of that, my heart was beating so fast, but one day I had learned to enjoy my performance, so it became easier.

How did ballet influence your life in other ways?

My passion actually gave me a lot.. I am not afraid to speak or dance in public. Regular unique physical activity made my body strong, flexible and good-looking. I have a lot of pictures in ballet costumes :)

Actually I've met my husband in the airport coming back from ballet tour in the USA.

About bad things.... no free time, diet all the time, pain in the body..

What does your daily routine look like ?

I work with three different dance studios as a freelancer. I have a lot of training every day in different places. Sometimes I work just in the morning or in the evening, sometimes I have morning, afternoon and evening classes ( usually it's three to six trainings).

Usually I wake up, have breakfast, do my hairstyle and makeup and go to work! Coming back home I like to watch smth interesting with my husband if it's not too late.

What about your flexibility training? Where does that fit in?

Flexibility, stretching are my favourite things...Sometimes I think my blood includes them. Nature has endowed me with, but since childhood I try to develop these abilities by myself. There are so many exercise to improve your flexibility, I won't list all of them.

I'll say just that you need to feel some tension (pulling) in your muscles, but it never should be sharp pain while you're stretching.

What are your future plans/goals/dreams?

I want to develop as a coach. To learn new specialisations like Pilates, Body-flex and oth. Maybe to open my own studio one day. Also I'm going to practice pole-dance.

Any tips for passionate ballet dancers starting out?

You should really love and adore ballet if you want do it seriously! Without this love it would be hard to stay happy. Never give up if you choose this path.

I wish I could have studied closer to my family.


I live in Moscow (Russia), but I'm from Kharkov (Ukraine).


Instagram: @snowwhite77712

Fitness instructor and teach Ballet, Bodyballet, Classical Choreography, Stretching, Athletic Stretch, Barre, and Functional Training.

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  • Author Image
    Scott Posted December 07 2016

    Thanks for sharing Irina.

  • Author Image
    Irina Posted April 03 2017

    I was glad to share my story! I hope it could inspire and motivate smb to do great things and do what they love.


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