Hampstead Ballet School star wins place at Bolshoi academy in Moscow
- Credit: Lilirose Troughton
Hampstead Ballet School has waved a fond farewell to another star pupil who’s set for the international stage.
Lilirose Troughton, 18, has gained a place at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, having completed her diploma at the Belarus State Choreography College.
She joined Hampstead Ballet School at the age of 14 as a “teenager who wasn’t enjoying her time at school”, founder Anastassia Uspenskaya said.
After two years of intense private courses with Anastassia, Lilirose left school after completing her GCSEs to attend the Belarus State Choreography College. There, the teenager gained a diploma in classical ballet.
Anastassia, 49, said: “I’m very proud and happy that I helped Lilirose find her passion for dance.
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“Her sheer commitment and drive are what’s led her to gain a place in one of Russia’s most prestigious academies.”
The Bolshoi Ballet Academy is one of the world’s oldest internationally renowned classical ballet companies. Based in Moscow, the theatre was the first to premier Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in 1877.
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However, Lilirose is not Hampstead Ballet School’s only star. Many past pupils have gone on to excel in their professional careers, including Aaron Osawa-Horowitz.
Like many of Anastassia’s former pupils, Aaron gained a place to study ballet at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in 2011, before later joining the Vaganova Ballet Academy (St Petersburg) in 2019.
In the same year, Aaron joined and regularly performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia.
Anastassia founded Hampstead Ballet School 17 years ago and acts as its director, while Andrey Alexeev is co-director.
Born in Russia, Anastassia’s parents moved to the UK when she was young. She followed and came to London when she was 32, retiring from professional ballet to focus on teaching.
“The school started from nothing, but over time we grew quite quickly, partly because we offer a different syllabus to the Royal Academy of Dance, ISTD and Cecchetti that are widely available in the UK,” she said.
“Instead, we teach the Russian syllabus based on the Vaganova method, a synthesis of the Italian and French systems. By doing so, our pupils are opened up to more opportunities as they have learned a different set of skills.”
Asked what differentiates the Russian syllabus, Anastassia said: “It’s very good at developing a person’s body for ballet from a young age – there’s an earlier focus on flexibility that allows a child with any body type to succeed.”
In normal times the school runs classes for around 200-250 pupils at a time.
“The coronavirus pandemic was a challenge, but we got through it,” the founder said.
“While we managed to do Zoom classes for the older pupils, younger pupils missed out and we want younger recruits.”
The school is open to taking on pupils as young as three at various locations in Camden. Most of the adult classes are still on Zoom.
In normal times classes primarily run at the O2 Centre and St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, off Finchley Road.
All children’s classes have now returned to the studio, and adult classes may follow suit from May 17.
Anastassia said: “We’re offering free trial lessons for children as young as three. This will help bring in a new generation of pupils for the school.”
While the school celebrates its alumni professional dancers, not everyone attends professional dance classes. The school accepts pupils with all levels of experience.
Anastassia said: “The school plays host to beginner classes right up to advanced classes and private lessons for our most experienced pupils – it’s good to have a diversity among our intakes.”