I would like to share my experiences of time spent in Russian-owned ballet studios over a period of years spanning the late eighties and nineties.
Every parent wants to encourage the passionate talent and interests of their children. When my youngest daughter was six, I enrolled her in a local suburban ballet school. Several weeks into the sessions, she would cry on the way home from class. I telephoned the ballet teacher. To my surprise she informed me that my daughter was very determined and talented and was frustrated so she suggested she move up to a class with nine-year-olds at a more appropriate level of ability. Several years later she was auditioning for regional performances and by ten she was in a Russian ballet studio in the city. Here, she learned the Vaganova technique.
The Russian Ballet Master had been a member of the Kirov and the New York City Ballet. He took a personal interest in my daughter and we spent more and more time in the studios in the city, and we became close to the Russians, even traveling to other studios to give exhibitions to recruit new talent for the Company. My daughter delighted in the difficult yet beautiful roles she danced and the Bolshoi costumes that were brought over for her and the other dancers.
Both my husband and I spent long hours watching the dancers rehearse and take classes and during that time we met a myriad of people. Accompanists who had previously been employed by the Bolshoi and the Kirov in the USSR. A very prominent Ukrainian woman would translate for me. She explained that the one piano accompanist had her position due to membership in the Communist Party and that only Party members were able to get these good jobs in Russia. Superior ballerinas were passed over if they were not Party members.
One morning in 1989, I arrived early with my daughter and there was a group of Russian men in the office intently watching the news and laughing loudly. They were watching the ‘coup” that was supposedly taking place in the Soviet Union. [i.e. the Communist uprising against Perestroika] When I asked what was so funny, the Russian Ballet Master told me that this was ,”Theater for the West”. I looked puzzled so they explained that in Russia they have more mined gold than any country in the world but the problem was that there were no goods to buy. “The Russian Mafia and the KGB need an excuse to get out into the free world to spend this gold so they have come up with this plan.”
As time went on, a flood of new students and professional ballet dancers came to the studios. Parents of some of the dancers told me that many Russians were moving to the city and that they had apartments, new cars but often no jobs. Most related that their children attended private Hebrew school as they considered the American public schools very inferior.
I asked if they were Jewish and some even laughed at me saying they would genuflect if it meant that they would be given the money by a Christian organization to come here, have an apartment and free private school.
A year or so later, one American told me that if I came into the city on one particular road early on a Saturday I could see what it was like in Russia as the cars on the side of the road all had something to sell from their trunks on the black market. The newspapers said over 7000 families had relocated in the city from the former Soviet Union.
Now several months ago I read the story of Tom Fife, an American Engineer who participated in a collaborative effort with the Moscow Academy of Science shortly after the alleged fall of Communism in the early nineties. He relates the story of a dinner party prior to leaving Moscow wherein the Professor’s wife, a dyed in the wool Party member bragged how ” they” had selected a Black American who would be President. I also read many comments after his story from people who just did not believe he was now coming forward. Well I believe him and I will tell you why.
Because it is the experiences you hear and see in everyday life that stick in your mind especially when years later events prove them out. I have just read in 1991 to 1993, 200 tonnes of gold bullion disappeared from Russia and what happened to it is still not known.
Constance Combey featured Fife on her radio show. She stated that he had given her the names of this Russian Professor and his wife and she found they had residences in both England and Moscow.
I could relate much more of our years with Soviet and former Soviet ballet dancers but suffice to say I am sure the Communist Party never dissolved nor did they leave their former ideologies. They just moved them here and to other parts of the world.
Lord Monckten said Greenpeace was taken over by the Communists (when they jumped over the wall” and that he knew the originator of Greenpeace and others who all left when the Communists took over.) One must ask oneself how was it that Gorbachev was so quickly given offices in the Presidio in SF for his Green Cross following the “sudden” fall of Communism. I wonder how many people read Putin’s speeches printed in Pravda after 9/11? I did and was frightened to read how he gloated about the American economy headed for disaster. Why was the Reagan Administration so eager to partner with Russia in Science and Economics?
Who was it that Robert Hanssen stated he was ‘loyal’ to when he betrayed American secrets to the Soviets? and who funded the fake ” fall of Communism” and why?
Fortunately, Master Classes opened my daughter’s own eyes and on the last day of the trip home she told me she decided to quit ballet. When I asked why she said that she felt an evil from V she could not express and her skin crawled when he touched her……”besides, my career would force me to teach neurotic would- be dancers who were Professors of Dance like the one who fell on the floor crying and holding my legs saying she wanted my body.”