It was immediately obvious from her grace and bearing that our speaker at the March meeting was a dancer. Olga Vikhrowa was born in St. Petersburg where as a child she enjoyed ice skating on the school field for three months each winter. She soon transferred her athletic skills to ballet and was identified as a gifted dancer joining the Kirov Mariinsky Ballet Company in the 1970’s. Olga described life in Russia as grey but her ballet offered a window into a bright, new, colourful world which she loved. It was, however, a gruelling training. In addition to the demands of the normal curriculum, there were at least two hours of classical dancing each day, constant assessments and auditions, rehearsals and performances. Very few dancers managed to complete the eight years of training. She described how different ballet schools teach different styles of dance and interpretation and explained that the Russian style is very powerful and spirited, according to prima ballerina, Natalia Makarova, because the country is so large that the dancers need to be able to jump far!
From St Petersburg , Olga moved to Vilnius where she enjoyed dancing traditional roles in ballets such as Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet for some years. From Vilnius, she moved to the UK and became a teacher, initially at the London Ballet School, and then in Richmond. She now lives in Poole where she runs her own school.
Olga gave us a fascinating insight into the world of a ballerina, exciting, glamorous but very exacting and demanding. We continued the Russian theme by indulging in some Russian food with our coffee (perhaps it should have been vodka!)
Club activities for March included a WI Diners’ lunch at Clavells, a Group Meeting in Lulworth with a speaker, Mike Colbourne, from Monkey World and a Craft morning on 23rd
Future events include a visit to Bristol Blue Glass and a Variety Show in aid of the Antony Nolan Trust on 20th April.
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 3rd April which is our AGM. We will also extend our experience of campanology with a hand bell ringing session. As always, we are keen to welcome new members. Do come along and join us.