Ildiko Pongor – Life Story of a Ballerina (Part 1)

I had the pleasure of taking class from Ildiko Pongor all last summer in SIBA. Ildiko was one of my favorite teachers there and I really made a connection with her as she had also experienced going to Russia to study ballet as a foreigner. Ildiko is from Hungary, but she finished her education at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. While I was at SIBA last summer, she would often give me advice for my upcoming departure to Perm – at that point, my acceptance into the school was fresh on my mind as it had happened just a week prior to the start of the summer program, and I was in the middle of arranging the necessary documents for Russia; needless to say, I was flooded with emotions of both excitement and, naturally, a bit of nervousness. Being used to the Vaganova technique, Ildiko’s classes were a really nice fit for me as they allowed me to explore some different movements and perspectives while allowing me the comfort of staying within the realm of Vaganova technique. Outside of class, Ildiko showed me all kinds of exercises not only to stretch and calm my body, but to stretch and calm my mind; and the advice she offered me throughout the summer stayed with me in Russia and was invaluable.

Every single teacher at SIBA had something great to offer; I am only singling out Ildiko in this post for two reasons. First of all, there is a wonderful video about her that I recommend to watch (part of it was shows to us during SIBA as well – we had regular presentations in the evenings that were very educational and interesting and, most of all, inspiring)! Second, as I said above, I found myself looking to Ildiko’s classes and my rehearsal periods with her more than any of the other classes, and I wanted to share with all of you the opportunity to take her classes also!

I realize I am incredibly lucky to have studied with the best of the best in the world of ballet. Natalia Shevchenko, Lidiya G. Ulanova, Ildiko Pongor…the list goes on and on. Every single one of them has had at least one thing to offer from their classes, and in many cases it was more than one thing! Not many people will have the opportunity to study under such teachers.

Ildiko Pongor will be back at SIBA this summer, as well as the handful of other fabulous teachers. Knowing how difficult it can be to find a quality teacher, and knowing the difference it makes (and it does make all the difference; eight years after meeting the teacher that got me where I am, I am still taking her classes and never for a moment take it for granted that I have her to guide me), I always try to take hold of any opportunity to study under an excellent teacher, even if only for a master class, and recommend aspiring ballerinas to do the same.

If any of you are interested in going to SIBA this summer, you can go ahead and get in touch with me or go to the SIBA website http://siba-academy.com/ where they have all of the details.

I myself plan on going back to SIBA this summer, and I would be happy to meet those that will be going as well! Don’t hesitate to let me know if you are going!

P.S. It came to my attention only this last weekend that there was a problem with the ‘contact me’ forms on my blog – I’m not sure what was going on, but all at once I received a bunch of emails from those of you that contacted me! I never received notification of them before, so I was not even aware I might be not answering some people’s questions! The weird thing is that I did receive some of the contact requests, just apparently not all. Anyway, it appears to be fixed and working now. I do intend to answer all those emails I got from you guys, but it might take a bit of time to get through them all as there are actually quite a lot! And of course, I apologize if it seemed that I was ignoring you all! I assure you I wasn’t and it is frustrating that I didn’t get the emails until now!

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Quick Update!

Hi all,

Just a quick update…

I’m doing much, much better and, in light of that, have decided to continue in my pursuit of a professional ballet career!

All I can say is I’m glad to be back in action! Ok, also, “OUCH!” My body is quite sore as I took my first class back on Tuesday after a month off. But really, as all of you other ballet dancers know, it’s the best kind of pain there is! Natalia Moiseyeva was not kidding when she said one must be at least a little bit of a masochist to go after a career as a ballerina. 

I’m currently getting back my strength, training at my home studio with my amazing teacher who is helping me get my body and my mind back in shape. It’s great! For now I’m setting my sights on returning to SIBA in the summer and I’m taking it easier than usual on myself as I’m still recovering and I don’t want to do too much too soon. 

Perhaps I’ll be ready to audition for companies by summer’s end – who knows? It’s impossible to know how much time I need to be ready and get totally better, but I can predict [from past injuries that sidelined me and my abnormally quick recovery from them] to get back on track more quickly than one might ordinarily expect. 

I’m working on some interesting posts in the meantime to share with you all, so keep checking back 🙂

Oh, one last thing –

Happy Valentines Day! I LOVE all my readers and all those who have been cheering me on all along. Thank you so much and much love to you all 🙂 Don’t forget to eat chocolate today…

Duty Calls

Duty calls! And by that I mean — the duty to put my health and well-being first and foremost before anything else; something that can be difficult to do when you are quite in the middle of living your dream and have other things that are more exciting and appealing to focus on. Alas, my health took a back-seat and soon enough, as these things always do, it caught up with me.

Today, at 18°C, it’s quite a bit more chilly outside than it was yesterday, which was considerably warm for the area this time of year; outside it’s gray and rainy, and we even had a tornado warning earlier this morning. I’m writing this from a Starbucks I quite like that is only several minutes away by car and also happens to be in close proximity to my gym. The cuffs of my pants are damp because I couldn’t be bothered to lift them up for the short walk from my car to the Starbucks, and I very well couldn’t tuck the bottoms in to my sneakers as I would have done were I wearing boots.

The quick thinkers among you might notice something curious about what I’ve just described. If I’ve left you scratching your head wondering what I’m getting at, let me assure you that you are completely justified in doing so! After all, in Perm, ‘warm’ for this time of year is considered -10°C, not 18°C; it doesn’t rain in January, it snows, and tornadoes in Perm are all but unheard of. There is no Starbucks in Perm (not-so-regrettable after all seeing as this allows for plenty of quaint, non-chain cafes with better coffee), nor would I drive to Starbucks had there been one, as I don’t own a car in Perm and would prefer to walk everywhere even if I did have one. And, if there were a Starbucks, it couldn’t possibly be in close proximity to my gym, because while there are gyms in Perm, the school rules forbid us from going. And finally, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing sneakers or anything but warm, furry, thick boots — leaving the bottom of my pants tucked in and quite dry — to walk any distance as short as the distance from the car I don’t have in Perm to the Starbucks that doesn’t exist in Perm; or, for example, the measly-but-beastly 50 freezing meters between the dorms and the school one has the challenge of surviving several times a day in commuting back and forth for classes and meals!

So, yes, you are correct to assume I am not writing from Perm. I’m not sure whether this comes as a surprise to any of you or not, as I did hint in my last post that there were some things going on. Anyway, I am back home now. I got ill and was quite unwell, and had to come home in order to recover.

I’m not sure yet what this will entail for the future – right now I’m focusing on just getting better! I have many ideas as to what I want to do once I’m better, some relating to ballet and some not, but at the moment I really do not know where I want life to take me next. Among other things, I do hope that I can at least attend SIBA again this coming summer! I will talk about SIBA again in an upcoming post; currently it is what I am setting my sights on short-term because it’s giving me something really great to look forward to as I get better (and it truly is a wonderful program; I encourage everyone to check it out). I also hope you will all forgive me for taking so long to publish this post!