Storytellers on feet

Published: Oct 13, 2010, 09:50 IST | Shaivya Chauhan

For kids at The Russian Centre Of Science & Culture, ballet is the latest fad to get the sophisticated tones of life

For kids at The Russian Centre Of Science & Culture, ballet is the latest fad to get the sophisticated tones of life

The ballet dancers who entertained the kings of the Renaissance were unaware that they were sowing the seeds of a dance form, which, in future, would be patronised by millions. The art is finally picking in the capital, and not just from the spectators' point side but also on learners' front. And some of the early patrons are young kids who are being trained at The Russian Centre of Science & Culture. We recently visited the centre to witness one of the classes. Read on as we wrap up the session.


Staying on toes: Young ballerinas look more like Barbie dolls dressed in
tutus and wearing 'toe-shoes'  PicRajeev tyagi

Not just the looks
'Pas' and 'devant' -- you won't find these words in an English dictionary but here, they keep knocking your ear drums. Kids, like always, amaze here too. However hard you try, you would always fail to shift my focus away from these young seven-year-old ballerinas  who look more like Barbie dolls  dressed in tutus (short skirts made in net) and wearing 'toe-shoes' (stiff toed slippers). It's not just the get-up that attracts eye-balls,   to see the kids balancing on an iron-pole fastened horizontally to the wall, about 35 to 40 inches above the floor is a sound testimony of the skill needed and acquired. To feel the melody in air and witness synchronised movements gives you a different high. It's like an entry ticket to a fairyland.

Dive into graceland
Ballet is a beautiful dance form where a story is gracefully performed with enchanting music, interesting lighting and even more interesting sound effects. Its roots lie in Seventeenth Century Russia when royal courts were primarily 'charmed' by ballerinas. Since then, the revolutionary themes and a wide scope for creative experiment went on to inspire the growth of ballet globally before it finally became one of the most elite dance forms to learn. Not just in Russia, even in France this dance form is quite popular.

India's turn
India is not far behind in the list of countries that are graduating to ballet because people are realising that classical is anything that is inherent in a particular country, and not just Bharatnatyam, Manipuri or Bihu. It's the sophistication of ballet that's prompting people to take it up. The Russian centre is indeed one of the best places that offer ballet classes for girls aged between seven and 16 years of age.

Says its trainer Galina Lyakhova, "A lot of professional dancers have been training with us too because once they learn ballet, it becomes easy to perform any other style of dancing." Adds the trainer who has been into business for over a decade now, "I initially came to India to learn Kathak.

It was then that some people introduced and recommended me to the Russian Cultural Centre. Since the then trainer had to leave, I was the replacement." Talking further about how she selects her students, she adds, "Ballet dancing requires a lot of flexibility. Before I take up a student to teach ballet, I make sure that the person has a sense of rhythm and knows how to control and co-ordinate the body.

This becomes crucial in ballet dancing because without it, you can't learn ballet at least". Now that you know the venue to bare your soul with the flow of music and dance to realise fascinations, how about giving ballet a chance?


Where: The Russian Centre Of Science & Culture, 24, Ferozeshah Road
Ring: 2332 9102, 2332 9103
Fees: Rs 1,500 (registration) + Rs 1,500 per month

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