First of all, congratulations on your silver medal at Varna. This is no small achievement and should alleviate much of your nagging self-doubt. Certainly it should silence some of your nay-sayers, although many people don’t swallow their own bile easily.
You are very young, a prima ballerina in Moscow, and you’ve won this prestigious medal. And you did it all on your own. That is something no one can take away from you.
I’ve heard lots of criticisms about all the product peddling, etc. But we are in a new era. Witness ABT’s Misty Copeland, for one, and there’s someone among the numerous NYCB principals who is also selling something, I forget what. Some Russian principals were selling dance clothing for a while, I believe, and the great Darcy Bussell was as much a pop star as a ballerina in her day. It’s happening all over.
The age of the sheltered, yet impoverished ballerina, dependent on a wealthy sugar daddy, is going fast if not already long gone. Remember Anna Pavolova…she was the one who started the ball rolling. She began her career at the Maryinsky under at least as much of a cloud as you at the Bolshoi. Granted she made it to principal quickly, but she was never much ahead of intense criticism (looking at films of her, it’s apparent that her technique was wonky).
When she split away from the Maryinsky, however, was when the product selling began. She didn’t sell stuff, but she sold herself. The end product is that to this day, her name and “ballerina” are synonymous. Many non-ballet fans have heard of no other ballerina.
And so, you are on your way. Your life is a dream for so many dancers. Strive to appreciate this even on your worst days.
Play nicely. I know there have been nasty incidents of backstage violence, but it is up to you to rise above it. No scenes!
Play nicely, part 2: refrain from criticizing the work ethic of your colleagues, or placing blame when something goes wrong. Be the gracious one.
Stop making promises you can’t keep. We understand when you can’t publish a video every day (and no, I am not one of those who is all upset because you chronicle your career by vlogging). Just don’t keep saying you will.
Remember that you will never be able to resolve the wildly conflicting stories the Russians tell about your days at the Bolshoi’s academy, let alone your days in the Bolshoi. It’s no matter; they probably can’t either. That’s the way Russians are…even pretend Russians (a certain would-be choreographer comes to mind).
There seem to be at least a thousand stories about how you got into the Bolshoi. But the business of your leaving the Bolshoi as you did is not a controversy. The only thing I question is whether you should have gone public with the charges if you weren’t going to pursue them in legal avenues. It seemed a good time to trot out the “irreconcilable differences” excuse and just let it be, and let the stories swirl like the snowflakes in Russia. Sometimes discretion is better part of valor, as the old saying goes. And you have much in the way of valor.
Accept that you are young. Always you have seemed to try to appear to be more than you were; that continued until recently. Remember that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will come. Improvements will grow over time. There is no need to exaggerate, especially not now.
Develop a close relationship with your truth and stand by it. Because the truth, in your case, is pretty damned good.