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Russian Ballet in Brisbane: Striving for Ideal

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Russian Ballet in Brisbane: Striving for Ideal


Maximo Dance Studio is a dance school, which opened in 2004 under the Queensland Russian Community Centre (QRCC) in Brisbane (Australia). As the Head of the studio Olga Shikina told, she wanted to create an art space for children, where teaching process would be based on an authentic Russian ballet teaching method - on Agrippina Vaganova's method.

In the framework of its study programme, Maximo Dance Studio organizes concerts to demonstrate the results of children's hard work to their parents and to give their students an opportunity to show their talent on a real stage.

Photo: Viktor Sylak (Maximo Dance Studio)

This time, on November 27, Maximo Dance Studio surprised their audience with a "World Wide [DANCE] Tour". The guests managed to travel to England, Holland, Finland, Russia, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, India, Austria and Australia during a two-hour concert on an imaginary plane an saw a dance of each of the mentioned countries.

– Folk dance as a subject is not too wide-spread in Australian dance schools. Certainly, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish and Irish dances are more or less popular, but that's it. We wanted to show the diversified world of dance to our students through the World Wide Tour, through which they would learn about the culture of other countries, hear their music and specific choreography. After such an experience, it won't be a problem for the kids to show a needed country on a map! We owe such a magnificent idea to Yana Lisovskaya, who made it come true, - tells Olga Shikina.

The annual concert would not run smoothly without the help of parents, activists, volunteers, QRCC members of the board, representatives of the Territorial Coordination Council (TCC) of Russian Compatriots in Australia.  

Photo: Viktor Sylak (Maximo Dance Studio)

Maximo Dance Studio has been working on basis of Vaganova's classic method for 12 years already. As we found out in the course of our discussion, only the teachers, who got their education in Russia and in former Soviet republics, are masters of this method. According to Olga, Vaganova's method is in a league of its own, as compared to other ballet teaching methods. It is a very detailed and accurately designed programme. But this method is not a solid dogma - the programme is continuing developing and getting difficult, saving the best traditions of the Russian ballet. "Ballet troops from Russia do excite such a furore on international stages because of their virtuosity and technical skills, their spirit and the highest level of artistry", - she says.  

Ballet demands accuracy, consistency and thoroughness from the dancer. Anna Bigdan, mother of six-year-old Ekaterina, who was performing three dances at the concert, pointed out that ballet classes at Maximo have a visible positive result:

– We see the difference both in the posture and in discipline.  As Ekaterina had ballet classes for a year before elementary school, it was a lot easier for her to get used to the rules and the group. Olga has sizable reputation for them; she is the heart and the soul of this project.  

– Those children, who have been gifted with music sensitivity and a talent to understand the beauty of movement, start showing their dancing abilities very early, - said Olga Shikina.  – Still, it is also possible that talent and love to dance emerge during the study process.

Photo: Viktor Sylak (Maximo Dance Studio)

For most of the viewers, ballet is the quintessence of discipline, strictness and perfectionism at their best. Olga herself notices that despite a high level of the held concert, there is also an impossible ideal to aspire to.  

Exactly for this aspiration to the ideal and her long-term contribution to uniting Russian and Australian cultures, Olga Shikina was awarded a medal “For Eagerness” by Russian Compatriots Council in Australia.  Maria Plotnikova, chairman of Queensland TCC underlined the respect to Olga Shikina’s activities among the Russian-speaking society in Australia.  


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