Reading this interview with Marianna Ryzhkina
: the following sentence struck me
If the tradition of permanent personal teachers comes to an end, the Bolshoi will cease to be the Bolshoi.
I used to assume that having personal teachers for dancers in a ballet company is a "Russian thing". However, now I'm wondering whether any company of note other than the Bolshoi has this system. The Mariinsky? And why, seeing that this system works so well for the Bolshoi, is it not more generally adopted, especially in the west (where it seems to be almost unheard of)? I have heard many Bolshoi dancers emphasising the great importance their teachers have to them and their art form, amongst others Nina Ananiashvilli and Nikolai Tsiskaridze. Ryzhkina says:
I thank my stars for all my teachers. It is so good when you have your own mentor who knows you well and feels for you, and you get attached to her...Through them we feel a link with the Bolshoi’s legendary times.
Ryzhkina focuses more on the emotional aspect here, but technically as well this must have great benefits for the dancers. Of course what works for the Bolshoi may not work for other companies, but is it ever bad to have continued personal attention throughout your dancing career? I've seen so many talented students, carefully polished and perfected by their teachers, enter the ballet company and within months the standard of their dancing deteriorates from (I guess) a lack of just that. Permanent teachers may get blinded to their pupils' faults, but generally I think the advantages of a teacher who knows you, your strengths and your weaknesses outweighs the drawbacks.