Asiya Lukmanova and I met virtually at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 during the months when most of us were still holding on to hope that life could just go on as usual.
We all know how that turned out.
What has impressed me most about Asiya throughout the following years has been her dedication and determination to develop and elevate Russian Masters Ballet (RMB)… even during the moments when ballet training seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
Being that the project is celebrating a decade this year, I wanted to touch base with Asiya again. Read on to learn more about how it all got started and the growth it has made since its inaugural program. And if you’re interested in the 2023 offerings, head over to the Russian Masters Ballet page on our Schools & Trainings website.
Interview with Asiya Lukmanova
‣ Congratulations on ten years of holding programs in Alicante, Spain! What are some parts of the program that have evolved with time and others that have remained a tradition?
Thank you very much! Time goes by so fast!
During these years we have grown a lot as an organization and community, but what remains most important to us is to offer only the highest quality possible… as people, as teachers, as an organization. With time, we have come to understand who we really are. For us, responsibility, passion, family and health are the most important values. So anything that doesn’t fit with these values evolves and everything else stays the same.
Every year we try to grow, to offer something else in the global RMB experience, so that we’re not only providing the best ballet education and programs, but also nutrition, mindfulness, and motivation
‣ Most recently, Burgas, Bulgaria has joined the list of locations where you have programs along with Istanbul, Turkey and St. Petersburg, Russia. How do you go about choosing sites?
We choose places based on where the people we trust are; if we have a good team in place, we can feel confident about how we can develop a program there. Istanbul was a great experience and after that we started looking for a place for an August course. What was very important to us was to find a place that could offer a beautiful site by the sea and good weather as our young dancers need to rest sometimes also! Burgas can offer that just as Alicante has. In these towns, we have found harmony between hard work, rest and joy.
‣ Generally speaking, do the programs in each location differ?
Yes, the experience between all sites is quite different. Alicante is huge and global with more than 200 students, with a big Stars Gala experience. Burgas is much more quiet and intimate with 70 students and 40 living with us. Istanbul is exotic and St. Petersburg – of course – just speaks for itself!
We care about our students, we care about people from the heart. It's important to us and people can feel that.
‣ What makes Russian Masters Ballet such a unique training experience?
There are a few things that we bring together that make it special. First of all, we select the best teachers – as professionals and as people – of the Vaganova Methodology in order to offer the highest educational program posible. Plus, our courses are officially licensed by the Vaganova Academy.
Then we add special ballet experiences and workshops that can help our students to grow and learn different techniques beside ballet that will help them in future.
We also develop complete and interesting programs that unite all of these international children and young people during their free time. These not only expand their education outside of the ballet studio, but also help to build friendships. We care about our students, we care about people from the heart. It’s important to us and people can feel that.
‣ How did the Russian Masters Ballet intensives come about?
It was all about seeing a gap and asking for the help to fill it.
I had moved to live in Spain and saw that there was a lack of knowledge in a how to provide a curriculum based ballet education; it was almost imposible for the majority of students to get this high level of professional training. So I decided to unite a team of the best professionals I knew – both as teachers and as people – who really have a passion for ballet. And so we launched the first Russian Masters Ballet camp in Alicante, and from the very beginning it went well.
‣ Have you been the director since the beginning?
Yes, Russian Masters Ballet Intensives is a project that I have been directing from the start, and I still am still so excited about it and do it with passion.
‣ I imagine your time is divided between teaching in the studio and managerial tasks outside of it. What does a typical day look like for you?
Oh, my time is divided mostly between managing the RMB, teaching some masterclasses and…. my family! I am a very family-oriented person. So usually my days are split between time spent at the computer, making phone calls, managing tasks and taking care of my own kids.
Then I choose time in my schedule to teach masterclasses and workshops. So sometimes for a few days, or sometimes for weeks at a time, I am out of the office and I switch my mindset to focus completely on what happens in the ballet studio: preparing classes and working with students. I love it!
Featured Image of Asiya Lukmanova courtesy of the director herself.
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