They mentioned the difficulty of staying in line in the corps de ballet but said that the repetiteurs, while expecting students to behave in a fully professional manner, were very supportive and friendly. And the big stars? ‘They are really friendly, Marianela Nuñez usually says, “Hi”.’
They have also gained performing experience in the school summer show when they danced in Paquita, worked with Alastair Marriott in his Simple Symphony and danced in John Neumeier’s Yondering which they described as ‘incredible’.
The two had studied together in Stockholm but not in the same year. However on arriving in London Miss Stock had called Nikisha’s mother to ask if she could be moved up to the second year. Nikita was delighted and they are now in the same class with Nicola Tranah, a former Royal Ballet soloist, as their teacher.
On arriving they found the classical training a little different as they were used to a more Russian style. In Sweden, as they were also completing their school leaving certificate they had to attend academic lessons as well. In their 2nd year class at the RBS they had done one academic class a day but in the graduation year, ‘it’s just dance!’
Another difference they liked was having pas de deux lesson with both a male and a female teacher; Gary Norman and Nicola Tranah. Having the same daily teacher they described as ‘like having your own mentor. When it comes to picking solos to work on they really know what will suit you’. I asked about their choice of variations; Nikisha had chosen Gamzatti in La Bayadere – ‘because I like jumping’ and Nikita said that Giselle was her favourite.
Finding somewhere to live, as visitors to London will know, can be a problem but not for these lucky students. They were provided with accommodation in Covent Garden only minutes from the school. So what did they miss about Stockholm? For Nikisha it was the cafes. ‘It’s different there. I miss the city and the water and, of course, my family. I am so grateful for Skype!’
Below: Nikita has also had training at the National Ballet School
of Canada. Photo c/o The Carina Ari Foundation