Natalie Carter, the 17 year-old British ballet dancer currently studying at Moscow's legendary Bolshoi Ballet Academy, is recording her time at the Academy in a blog.
On 3 December, Natalie wrote about her feelings when arriving in Moscow for the very first time and the challenges she faced during her first few weeks at the Academy:
Having been in Moscow for just over two months, I find myself feeling more at home as I walk around the city. During the first couple of weeks I felt an enormous weight placed on top of me as I struggled to adapt to the change in living environment; I had never danced outside of my home town and away from my family and friends, nor had I ever needed to fend for myself on this level before. Feeling out of my depth would have been an understatement to say the least.
My first few ballet lessons at the Bolshoi forced me to question whether I wanted just dancing in my life, I found myself missing the academic subjects I received in England such as History and English. However, after a long and drawn out week of confusion and discomfort, I started to find myself enjoying the freedom of living in a foreign country and thriving upon the intensity of the training I was receiving.
Unbeknown to me at the time, I had actually been given one of the most highly regarded teachers at the Bolshoi Academy (Babrova) to train me this year; I only recently, after having travelled home and recognised my vast improvement, appreciated the magnitude of her teaching abilities.
Thanks to the grant awarded to her by the Genesis Foundation, Natalie is the second female British dancer ever to get a place in the Bolshoi's 230-year history.
To read more about how Natalie is getting on, please click here to view her blog.