Opened in 2014, the ballet school was the brainchild of former Russian Ambassador to Thailand, Mr Kirill Barsky. Since then it has attracted students from many nationalities, including Thais and Russians.
Julia was born in Michurinsk, a town named after the great biologist Ivan Vladimirivich Michurin, located in the Tambov region of Russia.
When Julia was just four years old, her parents took her and her elder sister to the Michurinsk Choreography School for ballet classes. “At that young age, I already knew I wanted to become a ballet dancer,” says Julia.
With support from her parents and the school, Julia pursued her dream, which eventually led to her current profession.
Julia’s childhood was filled with exciting concerts, daily dance lessons, and both classic ballet and traditional folkdance. She began piano lessons at the same age as she started dancing and wanted to become as good a piano player as her mother. Julia was a dedicated student and loved history, literature and foreign languages.
She talks fondly about her first teacher, Mrs Lyubov Viktorovna Benderskaya, who not only taught her students a perfect ‘pas de deux’ but also instilled a love and appreciation of ballet.
“I started to explore classic ballet and learned a lot from her. In this school, choreography became a part of the students’ lives. Russia is known for supporting children with a certain gift - ballet, gymnastics, music or anything else.
“After I had achieved some of my goals, including winning several Russian and international competitions, I won a scholarship aged 13 from the Ministry of Culture for ‘Young talents of Russia’”, she says.
“I continued my studies at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography at the celebrated Bolshoi theatre. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs Luydmila Alexeevna Kolenchenko, who taught me and my class mates, in classic ballet.
The Young talents of Russia award was presented by Mrs Leonova Marina Konstantinovna, the principle of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. Known as the People’s Artist of Russia, she had a PhD in Art studies, was a professor and a globally recognized dancer.
“From the moment I met her, ballet became the most important thing in my life. It became my life, and I was breathing and dreaming ballet.
“I was performing several variations of the famous ballet Giselle and had a main part in Chippolino. I also received a diploma for my part in Blue bird, the Russian National Children’s Festival of Ballet in Moscow, as well as a diploma.
“At that time my own secret dream was to perform the part of Kitri in Don Quixote.
“At school I also learned to dance parts of the Nutcracker, Esmeralda and Swan Lake.
“I have worked more than 10 years now with ballet and choreography and I’m still participating in master classes to improve my knowledge.” What brought Julia to the Russian embassy School in Bangkok?
“I started to teach in Bangkok after receiving a positive answer to my request to teach here by the Russian Federation in the Kingdom of Thailand.
“Since 2014, thanks to the former Ambassador Mr Kirill Barsky, the Russian Embassy School has had a ballet school, a structural educational unit of the embassy.
“Today several students, both female and male, study classic dance, folk dance, music, rhythmic, gymnastic and swimming. Each topic contributes to a diversified personality of the students.
“The students often take part in receptions organized by the embassy, showing their skills in various performances. One of the most popular is known as the Kalinka dance, particularly among the male students as it consists of many dance tricks that require good and strong physical condition. This dance is also the most popular among visiting guests and the local audience.
“Kids as young as three can start taking lessons from me. I also teach Russian ballet to Thai students, as well as other nationalities at the Dance- Center school of Performing and Arts.
“Russian ballet has become extremely popular among the foreign students.
“I have a dream that one day, a student of mine will become a famous ballerina like Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova or Mathilde Kschessinska, and I want children from all nationalities to become familiar and get to love Russian ballet.
“My students and I have taken part in the annual Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music. It’s the perfect event for my students to demonstrate their talent on the same stage as several famous Russian dancers.”
“I really love my work and the students and I feel very happy in this beautiful country. The Thai people are awesome, friendly and interested. The Thai language is very complex, but beautiful and melodic. I’m also very impressed by the art of Thai dances, the colorful costumes and the uniqueness of images that can hardly be found anywhere else.
“For some years I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga at the Ashtanga Institute (AYBKK), which helps me to get ready for my working days and to tune my body and soul. Another extreme hobby I have is wakeboarding.
“I love the Thai spicy food and I think Thai cuisine is one of the best in the world.
“On my bucket list is to visit the Similan Islands and in Europe, I would like to visit The Hague. My biggest dream is to travel to Peru and visit Lima.”
Does Julia miss anything here in Asia? Yes, she says. Believe it or not, it’s Russia’s famous winter! Who’d have expected that?
Hopefully this talented young woman will stay here for a lot longer so we can enjoy performances by Julia and her students in the future.