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Q&A with ballerina Matisse Love

Lauren Hannani staff writer

When junior Matisse Love left California to attend one of the oldest and competitive ballet schools in Moscow, Russia, the transition from sunny Beverly Hills to snowy Moscow took some time to get used to. Now, four months later, Love is leaping toward the central spotlight of the stage.

Highlights: How is the experience at Bolshoi Academy so far?

Love: It has truly been incredible. I am completely culture-shocked, but I have adapted fast to everything–the food, the weather, the people.

H: How does it feel to be working and training with professional ballerinas?

Love: Well, I am walking in the same steps as some of the most renowned ballerinas of all time. It’s pretty insane to believe that I am actually here. My teachers are unbelievably talented and amazing, and I am so truly honored to have them coach me.

H: Did anything about it surprise you when you first started? Did it match your expectations?

Love: Like I said before, it was pretty difficult in the beginning. It was so cold and I was used to sunny Beverly Hills every day. Also, not knowing the language at first was a struggle. But, I am learning every day and can speak a lot more now than I did before.

H: How much longer do you plan on staying there? What are your plans for the future?

Love: Well, when I first came here, I was immediately placed in the second higher Russian class. I am the only American in my class, which is pretty crazy to believe. And next year, I will be graduating from Bolshoi Ballet Academy on stage with directors from all over the world watching. However, everything is still out in the open about the future.

H: What has been your most memorable moment there so far?

Love: I was chosen to dance a solo at the Bolshoi Spring Gala. That was so amazing being a foreigner dancing with all of the Russians who have been training here since they were 10. Also, in June, I will be dancing again at the Bolshoi Theater and I am so incredibly excited. It’s the most amazing opportunity.

H: What do you think you are going to take away from this experience?

Love: What I am going to take away from this experience is priceless. I have learned so much and I have changed as a person. However, I do get homesick a lot. I miss my friends, family, teachers and school. I miss home-cooked meals, baths and the comforts of living with parents, but recently I have been too busy to even think about home and everything. But I can’t wait to come back home in the summer and be with everyone I love.

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