Article from The Telegraph.
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The life of a dancer is surprisingly unglamorous. In the evening there are the bouquets and the applause, but every day is spent in arduous preparation for those performances.


Even principal dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet, such as Semyon Chudin, will begin the day with class and then go straight into an exacting and exhausting rehearsal. On Wednesday, he spent more than an hour with Olga Smirnova, on the stage of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, going through the three big pas de deux from Swan Lake.


Both were tired. For the previous two evenings they had danced Diamonds in George Balanchine’s Jewels; a wonderful performance in a glittering ballet. Both have danced Swan Lake before, together and separately. But for the kind of technical and emotional perfection they seek, it must be rehearsed again before their performance on August 15.


So there they were on an empty stage, in practice clothes. By the side of an upright piano, their individual coaches, both themselves former Bolshoi stars, offered corrections, encouragement and advice.


Smirnova is coached by Marina Kondratyeva, who also taught another Russian wunderkind Natalia Osipova – and who was, in her dancing days, on the Bolshoi visit to London in 1963. Alexander Vetrov, who mentors Chudin, was a famous Siegfried in Swan Lake himself; he now also coaches David Hallberg, the Bolshoi’s imported American star.



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