Ballerina follows heart to dance

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A Mexican ­born ballerina is living her dream in the Imperial Russian Ballet Company.
Mayela Marcos spoke to the Oamaru Mail this week before her appearance in The Nutcracker at the Oamaru Opera House on November 22. She said she was ‘‘really, really happy seeing Australia and New Zealand’’ during the company’s tour with the tale of bravery, set to Tchaikovsky’s music. Marcos said The Nutcracker is her favourite ballet, as she loves its costumes, settings, and the fact that local children perform with the professional troupe. She remembers what it was like to be a young ballet student and is delighted to support others. In Oamaru, pupils from the Victoria Cooper Academy of Dance will take the stage. Marcos has been with the Imperial Russian Ballet Company for three years. As a child in Mexico, her family expected she would work in its business and were taken aback when she announced she wanted to be a ballerina. She was determined to be taught by the world’s best and eventually earned her father’s approval to follow her dream by going to Russia. She auditioned for the Bolshoi Ballet School, where she was accepted for three years’ study. She is now undertaking a further four years, at least, to achieve masters status. Marcos said it was difficult at first being surrounded by people who did not speak Spanish or English. With no choice but to pick up the local language, she is now fluent in it. Bolshoi Theatre soloist Gediminas Taranda formed the Imperial Russian Ballet Company in 1994. Its Australasian tour of The Nutcracker comprises 40 elite dancers, plus wardrobe, make­up, and production personnel. A Russian ballet teacher will be at each venue to tutor the children six weeks before their performances. Marcos said The Nutcracker is a ‘‘magical’’ ballet that appeals to everyone. ‘‘If you see The Nutcracker, you will be so happy.’’ She urged people to pursue their dream, saying if they worked really hard it could come true.