My time at the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Inside and Backstage 

I can’t begin to describe the feeling it was to be back at another beautiful theatre in the same year that I visited the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia and the Paris Opera Ballet in France. Once again I was somewhere I could call home, another place I could feel at home together with strangers and some new friends. Sharing the same air and breathing in art.


I knew from the first moment that I watched a ballet that I was going to give my whole life dedicated to it. I don’t think I’ve found that in anything else I did in life except with dance. So here I was in the beautiful theatre, trying to hold back the tears again as the curtains rose and the orchestra began to play a familiar tune thats been with me since childhood.


My entries might change quite a bit from the time I first started this blog, if something I realised I was inconsistent because I was doing these blogs for all the wrong reasons. Now I want to write because I really want to share the experience of all my trips into this blog, also a bit more of my personal feelings and to show you all my personality through them.
If you ever come to Vienna, there are only a few things i could recommend for you to do:


  1. Make sure you walk A LOT, If there is one way to get to know a city, is that you should walk around and get to know the paths the little shops, observe its people and what they eat.
  2. Watch a ballet and an opera, oh you won’t regret spending that extra 200 euros to watch the ballet. Wherever you get the chance, or you can do what other tourists do which is to line up early for a cheaper 40 euro ticket to get to the standing area upstairs, which is also very good.
  3. Watch orchestras and concerts. My mom and my sister are big fans of the orchestras and concerts. We quite enjoyed the Viennese orchestra and concerts.
  4. Eat all the different kinds of sausages. If you are a fan of sausage then you won’t regret coming to vienna, because thats all they love to eat everyday. Also try their cafes, my mom wasn’t so impressed because she said the coffee in Italy is better but I mean if you’re going then just try it. Also their cakes and famous Apfel strudel.



Sorry for going a little off topic, I was supposed to be talking about the Vienna state opera. Well what can I say? Its beautiful. The interiors were beautiful and so was the ballet.  I heard that at first the opera house wasn’t really this beautiful or clean, but there was a year they really invested to clean it up. Thats also the same case for what they did with the Paris Opera Ballet. Now on to the topic of the dancing.

One thing Vienna likes to do is to experiment, that is probably because of their director. They did a different take or the Nureyev version of the ballet the Nutcracker and I saw this for the first time. I never really knew it since I’ve always only seen the Russian version or the original versions of the ballet. I guess sometimes they have to make things different so people who aren’t so familiar with the ballet would also watch the ballet and eventually after getting their interest you would turn them into fans.

Ballet is a really hard art to get into right now. Dance yes is big and all these new dance things are popping up online here and there nowadays but nothing really of pure art or substance. Just like all things that get viral. Now everyone seems to be an expert in ballet, which makes it hard for me to be a ballet teacher too.


But I was happy in Vienna, my friend Natascha Mair who is now the Principal Dancer of Vienna state opera ballet was able to tell me a little more about their situation in the company and also take me inside and backstage the theatre, which you will probably see in the video that I also linked into this blog.


I was lucky to have caught her show where she was actually promoted into Principal Dancer, although I couldn’t really understand it at first since everything was being said in German. I had to listen around to hear someone speaking in English and eventually ask what had happened. According to a friend who dances with the Vienna State opera, this tradition was brought into by their Director Manuel Legris. Where they announce the promotions on stage.


I was very happy for her, and more so happy for myself for gaining another crazy experience. I don’t think that day and the day that I was brought backstage into the opera house will be something I will ever forget. These moments align just the same with the time I first stepped into the Mariinsky and into the Vaganova Ballet Academy just last year too. (Which I just all find so mind-blowing)


I’ve been travelling more lately for dance, and I really am looking forward to the experiences I’ll be having in the coming year. I hope you enjoyed this little entry of mine as somewhat of an appetiser to my ballet life. Its always a pleasure for me to share my thoughts and if you read my blog till the end, thank you!
Much love,
Lina

 

Amanpulo: Palawan, Philippines. My break into paradise? Was it worth it?

If you’re all lazy to read. Here is a video of our trip to Amanpulo.

Ever since my dad mentioned it, Ive been dreaming all my life to visit this island. When I was much younger and we were less endowed with the best things in life, we used to come to Palawan and visit the more affordable resorts as you may call it. My parents worked really hard, as the eldest child I saw my mom and my dads highs and lows. But the beach or more so Palawan was our safe place, it was somewhere we spent most our time going to take vacations to. In the Philippines my dad only wanted to come here and nowhere else to him was more beautiful. 

Enough of the things about us, We came here for my parents 29th Anniversary. I cannot count with my hands how many times Ive been here to Palawan since I was 10. But Amanpulo is the best of the best here and I only found our 3 days before our flight that we were coming to the island. In the middle of my work and everything I got really excited because this trip would hit the Holy Week break! 

Coming to the island only takes 40-50 mins if youre taking the bigger plane. They greet you with Sampaguitas and give you your own tour in your personal golf cart. Its really an island for the rich, well for 3000-5000usd a night it should be. But this blog wont be about how fancy or luxurious this place was. Im actually going to share to you my own tips on how to visit this island on your budget based on our experience. But of course if you have that money saved up, then by all means you should visit! Personally, if I were to pay for this place myself I would eat up more than half my savings and that wouldnt be a wise way to spend my money. 

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VISITING THE ISLAND: 

My mom found a lot of faults in their booking. I guess they assume that everyone can pay and afford their island. But if were speaking about practicality some rates and things are completely out of any practical persons budget.

We complained more than 4 or 5 times about the pricing and they kept on telling us that they would extend the credit, in the end we were left with Php -800 credit for them to return to us, but not after me viewing their terrible accounting statement of which I had to decipher. It was obvious that the person who made the accounting statement was not an accountant, and they just printed out what they thought was proper deducting and adding, but after doing the analysis and the math, It was clearly a very confusing situation already because different managers were promising different things to us each time and in the end I didn’t know which was the agreed upon statement anymore.

They probably didn’t think that they’d meet someone such as my mom, my mom is just the type of person who wants you to explain it clearly to her, and the manager and staff clearly didn’t know what was going on with their accounting system. If they did, they could have easily told her what the statement stated and included. Instead we got more than how many different managers telling us 3 or 4 different things.

  1. You actually have options that they dont explain.When we first booked the place, they never mentioned it to us. They just sent us a statement and made it seem easy to book. Not that I didnt like that, its just that if there was an option for a cheaper booking I would have saved my parents a lot more money.There is actually an option not to have the room food replenished everyday and that rate they said is cheaper. We didnt know at first because it was not even explained to us how to book in the first place.

    At the end of our trip we ended up asking for the un-replenished daily chocolates we were supposed to receive per day since we did pay for it but it was not mentioned to us, tea and drinks. If it was explained to us earlier we would have taken it. I mean of course we want our moneys worth if we paid extra for it.

  2.   Read all of their agreements and non disclosure agreements.
    There are a lot of charges an rules here and there about the island. Mind you its not cheap either.
  3. You can bring your own food.If it were up to me, i would have survived with 2 meals a day or even just one meal a day. My mom brought some canned tuna and bread from Manila and her own food and snacks. Being on the island, you dont really eat much. And if you paid that extra 70usd for lunch then I suggest you remove it because breakfast is part of your rate anyway.One meal costs about 50-80 usd and the massages range from 200-300usd. We didnt avail for anything on this island. Because a lot of things were freeassuming it was already included in that rate we paid for.

  4. Take the free snorkeling every 10am and 2pmIt will save you a lot of money since going on a private tour is about 200-400usd as well. It would be great if you were a lot but we were only 4 on this trip and it would have not been practical at all. The snorkeling tour goes to places where you can see turtles as well as really big fishes!

  5. The room is big enough for 4 peopleIts an extra 1000usd per person also including the flight to the island. If youre not such a particular group of people there is an even cheaper treetop casita that is about 1900usd per night  including the flight for 2 people and an additional 1000 per head if you add. Of course a double bed will be added. I feel like this is shareable and had i known I would have just asked for this option and slept on my parents couch in the beach casita.

  6. Pets are not allowed on this island.I really wanted to bring my dog, considering the priced we paid. My chihuahua is really small and I hoped we could have brought him with us too. But I can’t complain about this so much, since I guess its a private island and I shouldn’t really be expecting to be able to bring my little baby.

  7. My sister and I nearly got lost at sea, be careful of the currents.

    I don’t want to explain much about it, I already got comments on Facebook that blamed me as a sister for not doing much. I think I was able to do my part by staying with my sister. Just be careful when you’re out with young kids. They don’t really monitor you so well and I think when you’re with a kid you just need to stay by the shore.

  8. They will want to charge you for the bigger room so you could bring more peopleI also read this on their Facebook comments section. They really want you to get the Villa which is $21,000. When I called them at first, they really wanted me to get the Villa for our whole family instead of 2 separate rooms which would turn out cheaper. Just remember that you have a lot more options than you think, and even if they’ll hate you for asking, just ask them, you’re a paying customer.

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For a 5 star resort, maybe my expectations were just higher than this. Maybe it is really visited by people who bring their maids on vacation and we were too poor compared to these other people to understand the situation. But It made me see also how different the other side of life is like. There is beauty in simple places and more homey hospitality. Personally i did not feel it on this island. 

They have 400 employees on this island and we didnt see most of them on the island. Most of your money probably goes to the extra people  who need to maintain the island and its filtration system and the good food and chefs. Being aware that the island has more employees than actual guests. I was disappointed when I realised that we were so little compared to them. As the island is only home to about 47 cottages and half of these are privately owned and not for rent. 

Now after reading you might think, how much of a cheapskate can this girl get? Come on, bringing your own food and sleeping on the couch?! I guess doing this is not for everyone and we all have different ways we want to live. I just think that looking at it in an economical more practical standpoint. That money could have been used for so many more important things than just the food on our vacation or the chocolates and drinks in the fridge.  And of course I have to make this post neutral for those haters who might say, enjoy it, it was a free vacation after all! That is true, I will not of course deny the beautiful memories I made here with my family, good or bad.

I do believe it is somewhere you could go to experience for once in your life. I will definitely say that, I loved the beachfront and there is nothing like it or compared to it. I just hope that someday the management improves and their staff training. It is definitely what you’d call a luxury leisure resort and the staff are also just as in leisure as the guests.

Wishing you all happy days!
Hope this all helps you make decision in visiting the island.

thebackpackingballerina.com

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Christmas in Salzburg

Here’s a short vlog above (If you’re too lazy to read, but the blog has more input) and this blog about my experience in Salzburg on Christmas. Oh boy do I have a lot of things to talk about Salzburg. First off, this is and was my first time in Austria. I really had so much fun because of the friends that I got to meet again and the friends I was finally able to meet. After having such an honest to god very difficult year past me, I was happy to finally have this vacation with my friends and family.

So i decided to finally do this again (Which is blogging), not for any reason or to get much attention. I think when I first started the blog It had different intentions of reaching a specific audience, and now that I am much older and hopefully also wiser? (HAHA) I would like to think that my intentions to write are purely for sharing purposes of my thoughts and to help you get an idea of how one place is based on my personal experiences.

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CHRISTMAS IN SALZBURG: 

  1. Don’t forget to visit the Christmas markets and the Glühwein, also have some of the Christmas treats, sweets and the sausages (Try everything) 
    I must warn you however that the Glühwein upset my moms tummy because they used some cheap wine. Its nothing special but its definitely nice to have with your friends if you are feeling cold. But if it gives you any sign of discomfort or an upset tummy its best not to drink it.
  2. Do the Sound of Music tour even if its the cheesiest thing 
    Salzburg is definitely known for this tour, People from all over the world literally except the Austrians would do this tour. But I really wanted to do it, even if the weather was below zero and it was raining. I really enjoyed the time I had and learning about the real Von Trap family and how the escaped austria was really nice. Its pretty shocking to find out though that Austrians have never watched this movie, I take it from my 2 friends from Austria who have never even watched the sound of music. I guess its really just a tourist thing.
  3. Go to Mozart’s birthplace and the Mozart residence
    I believe that this was the best thing that I experienced in Austria. It was about learning so much about Mozart. They really do love Mozart so much and Strauss. (But still more of Mozart) I really enjoyed the history of Mozart and seeing how and where he was. I learned more about mozart on this trip, more than any book I read about him.

  4. Enjoy a stroll around the Mirabell gardens and palace
    Although I did not enjoy the history of this place, it being built for a wife of a priest or something of the sort. I did enjoy the concert that we watched here at the palace. Also most of the sound of music videos were shot here at the Mirabell gardens and it was nice to see those statues and the gardens, to walk all around the area reminds you of the ending of the video of the DO RE MI song. This is also known as a UNESCO heritage sight. Even in the winter it was quite a sight.
  5. Hear Mass at the Dom ( CHURCH)
    I wish I could tell you which Church it was, It definitely was a really big Church and I am Catholic. So on Christmas day we went to mass, my mom and I. It was a mass with a full orchestra playing all of these wonderful songs and I just never experienced anything like that. I guess when in Austria, you really get the full experience of the culture. I felt like I time slipped back into the past and fell into the time Austria was still at the peak of its music culture.

GETTING TO SALZBURG FROM VIENNA:

My best advice, just because its Christmas time, its best that you get the tickets early. We did experience a few other people coming into the trains randomly but they didn’t have any seats left for them. If you get into the train, you will see a sign on the top of each seat, the signs with the dots on them will mean that they are reserved and those without the note on the sign will mean that they are free to be seated on or used. The conductor or a conductor will check on that and you can actually also just show them that you paid for the trip even if you didn’t have that reserved seat and they will let you sit on that chair.

Lastly, take a walk around the old town! Whats terrible about Salzburg is that all the shops close so early around 5-6pm to be exact. Its really a town where tourists just visit but not stay at. We were really there for 5 days and so it was such a long time to be just in Salzburg. I would recommend around 2-3 days if you really just want to see most of everything and to do the tours around the area and you don’t have time to stay for long.

Hope you enjoyed this short blog!
Much Love,

Lina

Inside the Paris Opera Ballet: The Oldest National Ballet

 

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The Paris Opera Ballet was breathtaking and if you watched the video I posted on YouTube which is below the tips section, you could see the different Marbles and the structure of the place was really just amazing. Every room feels like a dream and every stairway was so picturesque. If I ever got to Paris again I hope that I am able to watch a ballet show with the Paris Opera, even if I have heard not so okay reviews about their companys politics. It would be a really wonderful experience for sure to be with the crowd of snobby French people appreciating their art. Now that is something I really would love to experience firsthand, unfortunately there are no shows during the summertime when we went to Paris.

Its Amazing how this place built in the 18th-19th century is still so beatuiful. The place was built if I remember correctly during the time of Louis XIV. When ballet or social dancing during that time got too demanding that they had to build a place where dancers could train for performances. During that time the dancing was usually done like a court dance, but with all of the complicated steps being added by the kings personal ballet teacher, they eventually had to make a system of ballet and thats when the steps were noted and eventually put into system and thus the birth of the ballet school and the Opera Garnier to watch performances.

Some tips if you intend to visit the beautiful Opera House.

TIPS: 

  1. The entrance is not at the front but on the west side of the building. So if you want to go inside, just make sure to go from the side of the building where the famous statue is located. That statue is the one believed to be protecting the Opera House from any fire. 
  2. No need to come early, we were there around 11am but the line isn’t so long usually since Im sure most people who come are dancers or people who love art and the threatre. 
  3. If you are under 26 you always apply for the student discount! Don’t forget because it will make a big difference 

I wish I was just able to visit the flooded ground floor, Im sure there is a way to visit that place but I will probably have to pay a lot more and hire someone to bring me there.

 

My sister and I really enjoyed the Paris Opera Ballet theatre or the Palais Garnier. I think anyone who isn’t a person of ballet, would instantly be turned into someone who will be interested in the art after coming here. What is beautiful about Europe and or Paris is that ballet is still treated as being a part of their culture. Whats even more interesting is that so much of that culture was also brought to the Philippines in the past! Do you know that a lot of famous ballet dancers visited the Philippines long ago.

I hope that there would also be more infused culture of supporting the arts and ballet in the country. A challenge to all the ballet companies and schools to keep their shows up to standard and to keeping the art alive.  I hope and pray that times change for the better. For now enjoy my ballet loving blogs and vlogs.

Much Love,
dancebylina.com
thebackpackingballerina.com

 

On twinkle toes’ posts about me

I don’t choose to look back on this memory, it’s been more than one year since I left and i really wanted to move on from leaving this place i called another home for a year or so. I don’t want to post hate online but i believe people are not dumb, and everyone we be better knowing my side of things as well. I will just allow this post, and my actions from here on, to speak for myself.

Im making this a public post unlike my former employer Ms. Cherrie May Umbalin who chose to hide her posts from me or my family so i would not be able to see them. Thanks to your hateful and snarking posts, people i don’t even know, and who don’t even know me, hate me. Though I try to avoid trouble, I still think that when something wrong is being said about you, I have to defend myself tactfully and honestly. I am aware of every single thing I had done. I even have all of her emails to show everyone involved, as she has decided to post about me, seeking for affirmation from her friends to wish ill on me. She was a really close person to me, until she wasn’t. I felt like I left on good terms when I started my own ballet program because I had sent her my resignation letter (before which I had already talked to her about leaving) which will be included under this post. I even sent it a month before leaving and yet I still taught at her school afterwards.

Now, I get people from other schools saying that I am stealing students. I never did drag anyone to my school or force them to come. They came and paid at their own will. Stealing or Poaching people is a funny term to be used. I mean, if a person tries and ends up preferring my training to yours, that’s on him or her, not me. And if a person decides to leave my ballet program and join your school then no problem –that only reflects on her preferences. I will tell you all though, since I left twinkle toes ballet and music academy, in Fairview, I have had only 5 of her students come and join me at their own will, wiith them messaging me first and not the other way around.

This ia a post that she recently shared online: It was sent in to me by a friend of mine since I obviously would not have seen it.

The third photo caught my attention, because this photo is actually of my current assistant Sophie. She allowed me to use the photo in this post.

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Sophie actually was the one who approached me, expressed her dislike for the school and how she was treated. She expressed to me that she wanted to work with me after as my assistant and that the only reason why she stayed at twinkle toes was because of me. It was of course her decision to come and not mine, and so I would like to clarify that, since she used this photo to show that I was inviting people.  (I will get to the schools system after this)

REASON 1: HOW THE SCHOOL IS RUN 

When I first got there, there was no system at all. I remember my first year, there even wasn’t a schedule. I was just told to come in from a given time and there was no specified ending time, which I found weird. I was the one who made the ballet schedule, being a person who actually runs on a schedule. I was really keen on setting up one. I wanted to help the school because I saw a lot of talent among the students there. I think every parent who was there really knows how much work I put into the school.

The school owner, Ms. Cherrie, and I would talk a lot after ballet because I would encourage her to set up more shows or more events for the kids or things to look forward to so that they could get better and more exposure. She did so and followed through, but the system of the school, or lack thereof remained the same. She would charge the parents extra PER MINUTE for going overtime. She always encouraged me to extend their training so that they could be charged more. I never knew that a school would charge a per minute fee of overtime. Talk about ethics. So I’m sorry to those parents who paid overtime per minute, but rest assured I only got paid per hour and wasn’t privy to her schemes.

Now, I’m not sure if that has changed or not but I’m hoping it has.

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REASON 2: HONG KONG COMPETITION TRIP

I went to hong kong with her daughter and another student of twinkle toes. As their coach, I wasn’t asked to go to Hong Kong with her and the school. I found that to be a bit saddening and I really wanted to come because you trained the kids and your presence would be beneficial for them. I didn’t push it but when the other parent expressed that they wanted to pay for me to be there, I opened it up with Ms. Cherrie. The parents expressed to me that they wanted me, the coach, to be there and not Ms. Cherrie. They knew that they wouldn’t be taken care of because her daughter would be competing too.

We enjoyed our time in Hong Kong regardless of Ms. Cherrie. I got to talk to my student and have coffee with her and her parents. We had a long talk about leaving the school, as they were not satisfied with the way things were.

In the end Ms. Cherrie told me that she wanted to discuss my payment but I told her in a message maybe we could discuss it in person. I never got a meeting to discuss it, i found that really unprofessional on her part. She then told me that she would pay me partially every month for my fee and all other expenses but we never really got to discuss the rate. I don’t know how things like this work and I was just too tired and I didn’t want to see her anymore. If she really did want to pay me she really would have paid me already. The parents on the other hand were very clear on the intent of me being there with them in Hong Kong and we constantly were with each other.

If you go to these competitions, you would not be paid for being there to support the students. Sometimes you couldn’t even watch if you didn’t have a ticket. It would be an ordeal from 7am-9pm and it was really no fun at all. On top of that, not getting paid for your time might be fun at the start because you would think, hey, it’s an experience. I was happy the first time, because that was the first time we joined and that was my first competition where I coached my students (Which i guess are her students under the school, technically). It was nice seeing the kids improve and I loved that feeling. But when it starts to feel like work and you’re not getting paid, things can get sad.

FINALLY: RECITAL

As for twinkle toes’ recital many people know that I did almost everything for them last 2017. I was backstage, i did the kids make up, most of the choreography, the program set up, i was the PA backstage, i had the headset and was even the one on the microphone announcing intermissions. But I was only paid as a teacher, and none of those other roles. That day was utter chaos and just one of the worst days of my life. I was paid but i feel like doing all of that was not part of my obligations. But If I didn’t do those things who would have? She had no sound director, lighting head, she had no trained assistants. Of course I knew how it worked, I’ve been living in the theatre for almost 14 years of my life.

That was the last straw for me, i couldn’t stay in a job where I knew I couldn’t soar any higher. I knew I could really do so much more than that. I felt useless that I got so frustrated but then I had an opportunity to go to Latvia. It felt like a chance to start fresh before coming back.

To get one thing completely straight. I absolutely loved my students at twinkle toes. Everyone knows I would spend my Sundays there or even make time beyond what was agreed upon. If you are or used to be a parent with twinkle toes you would probably know she always does this.

I posted a video of our student (her school, but my coaching) because I was proud of her. The parents of that student trusted me with her training and they were the ones who wanted me to be in Hong Kong. Now, Ms. Cherrie has and entire issue with the video, as if it’s completely hers and the student has no say in it. The student is in my program now.

Another issue was that one of her students wanted to come with me. I offered this girl a scholarship since her mom asked. If you knew this girl, she was and is really gifted. I wasn’t aware that she was on “partial” scholarship under NO CONTRACT with Twinkle Toes. It became a really big issue and I told Ms. Cherrie that under her contract, I would not allow the student to come to my program without settling her fees with twinkle toes first. I felt as though this wasn’t an issue with me, as it was ultimately the decision of the parent to pull her out, and settle her dues. I also included at first that as a scholar, the mom needs to bring in 2 students, The mom did eventually invite 2 people for me even if it did take a little while. I was informed in a text message from Ms. Cherrie later on that I was lying because she knows someone who joined my program and said that there were no other students. How would this person know? Since she only came a few times. We all can’t just run on these assumptions and allegations and post angrily online.

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So think what you will, but i really think we should just move on with our lives. That’s what I’m doing. I am so happy with the current dance program im putting up but i know i have to do this first to put this issue to rest. I am still inviting anyone who wants to learn ballet the proper way from someone who thinks that ballet is an art, beautiful and brilliant and not only business. Im crazy about it —my eyes are set on my students falling madly in love with ballet just as much as me.

I’m not someone who jokes around when it comes to ballet because just like any good teacher, we acknowledge that our community is one of tradition. Insulting me would be an insult to all of the teachers who has ever taught me. Of course, people who have not been through the training and the culture that I and many other individuals have been through, would never understand, as she does not.

The Broadway of Russia: Watching Ballet shows in St. Petersburg (Mariinsky Theatre)

      Im going to start writing a little bit more again on this Blog, as I’ve been Vlogging quite more than the usual but theres really something about writing that makes a memory and a place more beautiful. I went to St. Petersburg, Russia last June for my ballet teacher conference and now I cannot think of a place more fitting to watch ballets.

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My Favourite Vladimir Shklyarov and his wife, danced my favourite Romeo and Juliet

From my years of watching ballets in Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong and in Manila. I feel as though going to Russia just to watch ballets is one of best ways to experience a beautiful ballet, Watching ballet shows in Japan coming next to it. The crowd was so unlike Japan, they were so rowdy when clapping and screaming “Bravo” but they were so appreciative of the art, and at first it surprised me. Having watched most of my ballets in Japan, where everyone claps together and no one dare makes a sound or a cough. In Russia is the complete opposite, they are quiet maybe while the show is going but in between everyone is quite rowdy clapping.

I soon learned to appreciate their ways too and the way their audiences would clap for their favourite dancers. They would also leave flowers to their favourite dancers backstage, and I really loved that they would give plenty of flowers to their favourite dancers. Every show was full and every crowd had a different air. I loved the architecture of the place and the ambiance. When I first entered the Mariinsky, I almost wanted to cry because the place I had been dreaming about for so long was finally here right in front of me. I had tears in my eyes and my heart I knew by then felt a sense of relief and happiness.

Now after my trip even, I feel a sense of nostalgia each time I go into a ballet theatre. I always get flashbacks of my moments and the shows I watched at Mariinsky. I watched a total of 6 different ballets, and initially I had only bought 3 ballet tickets. At the end of my stay, I decided that it was so much more worth it than watching ballets that cost the same back home but with poorer quality.

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With my new and beautiful friends Marianne and Liezl. 

TIPS WHEN WATCHING SHOWS:
1. Buy the tickets online, purchasing them online is much cheaper than purchasing them at the theatre. I was able to get each ticket for about 60-100usd. If you are a student such as myself you can get the ticket on the special rate.

2. There is no need to dress up but it would be nice to look nice as there are some people who are really into dressing up for the ballet.

3. Enjoy and take in everything slowly. It hit me all at once and too quickly, and I cannot wait to return again for my next years of conferences. This time ill be ready to watch more ballet shows.

All the best and Much love.
From Russia with Love,

Lina

UPDATED: MIMI ウサギカフェ〜 (Rabbit and Otter Cafe, Ikebukuro)

UPDATED: New rates and animals in this cafe!

The Backpacking Ballerina

UPDATED BLOG:

This cafe is probably my most オススメ (recommended) of all of the animal cafes that I have been to. Rabbits unlike dogs, cats, birds, penguins and owls are quite different. With the very few people coming here it is the perfect cafe to go to, and I would prefer it over cat and dog cafes anytime. NEW UPDATE: The location has now changed to B1 level of the building instead of the top floor. Rates have also increased by 100Yen since the last time I was here last March 2018.

IMG_3082 Here is the cafes sign on the 8th floor of the building. You will have to knock.

This is how the front of the building looks like in case you get lost just look for Dennys on Sunshine Dori. This is how the front of the building looks like in case you get lost just look for Dennys on Sunshine Dori.

IMG_3108 Smile! Cute rabbits everywhere!

IMG_3129 Hello bunny!

IMG_3143 Here are my two favorite rabbits

IMG_1776 They now have a few naughty otters too! 

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