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Sep 3, 2019

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Alexei Moskalenko, Assistant Artistic Director at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). Alexei, a graduate of the Moscow Bolshoi Ballet Academy and the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, came to the United States with a touring ballet company and eventually opened his own ballet school, before transitioning into his work with Youth America Grand Prix. During his incredible 20-year run with the YAGP, Alexei has served as a judge, Tour Director, Master Teacher, Rehearsal and, now, Assistant Artistic Director.

On the podcast, Alexei recaps his life in ballet, from his upbringing in Russia to his transition to the United States. But, most interestingly, Alexei spends time describing his current with the YAGP and how he is tasked with the seemingly impossible feat of identifying talent potential in extremely young dancers — dancers who are only performing three- or four-minute routines. Alexei expands on the challenge of spotting tomorrow’s stars, while providing some solid advice for anyone who desires to be one of the chosen few to dance professionally.


Moving Quotes:

“[Aspiring ballet dancers] need to learn what a day in the life of a ballet dancer is like. What kind of job is it? What’s your schedule like? … After learning all of that, they will be equipped to make as best a decision in their life as they can."

“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket… Don’t dream only about one dance company. Diversity your portfolio around different company sizes."

“I think every dancer thinks deep inside about touring opportunities — what it is to work in a different country, what it is to be a dancer in another company, how it works, can I do that."

“To be healthy and just to be able to walk — I’m already advantaged. I’m already lucky."

“Some important skills that no one talks about that you have to really work on — it’s around the world, everywhere, no matter where you go — are your communication skills."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

2:11: Alexei remembers his first touches with ballet and how, retrospectively, he appreciates his mom for pushing him to first explore this art.

6:28: Alexei explains how he never fully felt that ballet was his destiny but relives a story that taught him to be thankful for his ability to be a ballet professional.

11:35: Moskalenko discusses how he first found himself in the United States and how every dancer has an innate desire to join an internationally touring ballet company.

15:56: Alexei explains his role with the Youth America Grand Prix and why his job, specifically, is a difficult job to carry out.

19:12: Alexei describes what he looks for in a dancer when trying to evaluate his or her future potential and how dancer “quality” is gauged differently in the US, from what it was in Russia.

23:31: Alexei shares some extremely practical (and unexpected) advice for any dancers that are preparing for dance competitions.

26:26: Moskalenko shares some advice for aspiring dancers, including a quick encouragement to be grateful for YouTube.

29:32: Alexei explains his life aspirations moving ahead, both for his career and for his personal life. 

Bullet List of Resources – 

Alexei Moskalenko