The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are amongst the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world. The Bolshoi Ballet is the world's biggest ballet company; having more than 200 dancers. Group rehearsal starts every morning at 11 AM. I watched a rehearsal led by Nikonov Vladimir who finished his career as a ballet dancer in 1978 and has been teaching ever since. In the afternoon, artists attend various private classes in one of the 4 buildings interconnected by underground tunnels. “It’s almost impossible not to get lost here”, says Miss Zueva who has the key to every door and knows everyone. As we walk through the corridors that lead to the historic stage, melodious voices of opera singers come crawling to our ears; filling our heads with absolute bliss.
It is clear to me that the high reputation of this 239-year-old institution is based on its four essential values: discipline, excellence, tradition and creativity. What I most find admirable is the Bolshoi’s ability to keep its traditions while still adapting to the modern world. It is a complex institution with a long lineage of men and women who have played their roles with dedication and precision throughout history. This tradition continues today- with more than 3500 committed people playing vital roles in the institution. Roles that range from the most famous internationally performing soloists to the proud older woman who sits at the reception desk.