WOMBWELL ballerina Tala Lee-Turton is relishing her new life in Moscow with the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet academy.
The 16-year-old of Barnsley Road, who made it to the Bolshoi two months ago thanks largely to a donation from an anonymous benefactor, works an exhausting six-day week.
And although the talented teen spoke very little Russian when she left the UK, she now claims to be mastering the language well.
Tala has launched a blog to record her time as just the ninth British dancer to make it to the Bolshoi.
She says: “I feel different in the way I think and use my body...our teacher pushes us more and more every day.”
Her Russian language lessons are daily, with a teacher who speaks no English - but he does speak French, so Tala tells how she uses that language for interpretation purposes.
The great range of dance classes she takes throughout the week are punctuated by gymnastics, make-up and acting sessions.
Tala tells how stretches in gymnastics ‘push her body to new limits’, and of her fascination with the many different approaches to learning.
She claims she can now transform herself with make-up to ‘look like an old woman’, and has learned much from historical dance classes, which were new to her.
Her first concert audition is looming, for which she is perfecting a solo as Etoile from Paquita. And despite the intense work, Tala claims to love the challenges of each day and says she has “definitely made the right decision” in joining the company.
Her mum Sara, who staged many fundraisers to raise the necessary £15,000 to get her only daughter to Russia for her first year, said she is delighted that Tala has “settled in” so well, although she really misses her.
Anyone who would like to find out more about Tala or who might like to help sponsor her for future years, should visit www.gofundme.com/mOjvk