Thurman earns ballet academy scholarship

Olivia Thurman, 16, studied with some of the world’s best in a prestigious Moscow program.

Olivia Thurman, 16, studied with some of the world’s best in a prestigious Moscow program.

The Greenwich Ballet Academy has announced that 16-year-old Olivia Thurman recently completed her stay at the elite Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia.

Through the New York-based Russian American Foundation (RAF) and the NSLI for Youth Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Olivia spent six weeks at the renowned academy studying Russian language, culture and ballet. Olivia attends the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich.

“We are extremely proud of Olivia and all of her hard work,” said Yuri Vodolaga, artistic director, of the Greenwich Ballet Academy.

“She has represented what we aspire to do at Greenwich Ballet Academy with poise and confidence, and her experience will help further her career in both ballet and academics. I can’t believe how well she is now speaking Russian! Olivia inspires our other students, and sharing her experiences with them will help them all in their journeys not only as dancers, but as applied young people.”

Fifteen young dancers were included in the six weeks of training in Moscow.

Through the Russian American Foundation (RAF)’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive Program, the students participated in three weeks of intensive ballet training in New York City. After the intensive program, the students, including Olivia, traveled to Moscow to spend six weeks of training at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, while also studying the Russian language four hours a day, history, arts and culture.

The Bolshoi Ballet Academy has a 240-year history and is known as one of the oldest and most established schools for classical ballet training in the world. The academy has produced numerous world-class dancers, teachers and choreographers.

The initiative, which launched in 2006, seeks to spark a life-long interest in foreign languages and cultures, developing a corps of young Americans with the necessary skills to advance international dialogue in the private, academic or government sectors.

“Through participation, Olivia truly has become the face of future international communication between two of the world’s most politically and culturally important countries,” the academy said.

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