I Went to Russia Over Winterbreak and it was the Best Decision I've Ever Made

“What is passion? What is your passion?” These were questions I have asked myself for years, and what always seemed to come to mind to me was one word: theatre.

Theatre has often been my form of escape and helped my personal growth as a woman. Placing all of my focus and energy into my craft was exuberant and exciting. I was finding more opportunities such as special workshops from professionals, learning about different conferences such as the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions. This past winter break, I had the opportunity to study in one of the most famous acting schools in the world. Moscow Art Theatre School, or MXAT, for short, is one of the most prestigious schools in Russia. I lived in the Moscow art theatre school dormitory in Moscow, Russia for a few weeks over the break.

Russia was no vacation; it was hard and testing work. I trained in many difficult courses for long periods of time. For instance, I had acting every day from Monday to Saturday for two-and-a half hours. I trained in other forms such as Suzuki, Fencing, Stage Combat, and Movement and learned some Russian theatre history. Suzuki is a famous Japanese method that builds strength, patience, and balance. My professor, Masha, trained in the art of Suzuki in Japan for many years before teaching us. I also studied the Stanislavski method of acting. The photo in the upper right is of me and my stage combat professor.One of my favorite places in Moscow would have to be the giant adult wooden swings. It was extremely relaxing and allowed me to actually feel how amazing life can be. I commuted to school and back on my own, and ended up having a lot of freedom to explore Moscow.     Another perk was that Russian money value increased for Americans. Every 56.6 ruble - the Russian currency - accounted for one American dollar. The food was highly inexpensive. They had Borsh, a famous soup entre, and creamy desserts such as rich éclairs. The trains in Russia are beautiful, and there was art in every corner you looked. The map was not as confusing as it may seem. Each train goes by a specific color and one train literally goes in a circle.

I had the opportunity to visit numerous amounts of fortresses and museums in St. Petersburg, Russia as well. I visited the Yusupovs’ home, the home of Russian nobles. Prince Felix was not only responsible for the death of Grigori Rasputin, but was married to the Romanovs cousin, Princess Irina Alexandrovna. I cannot explain how much these museums meant to me. I was training in a highly competitive school and exploring another country for the very first time. I visited places such as the Red Square and saw more than six professional productions. This trip allowed me to improve my craft, explore an amazing country, and meet lifelong friends from all over (Russians, Americans and Spaniards). I will cherish this experience for the rest of my years.I would like to give a personal shout out to our mentors Jonel and Henry. I will also like to thank my acting professors in Russia for sharing their knowledge of this craft with me. The list is as follows, Mikhail Milkis, Vladimir Sahin, and Maria Zorina, Batraz Zaseev, Alexander Popov, and Andre. I will also like to extend gratitude to student workers at MXAT and the two coordinators of this program in Russia, Nadia Ogneva and Katya Filippova.