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Dublin: 5°C Monday 18 January 2021

The three Irish teenagers jetting off to Russia to chase their professional ballet dream

Alana Borza, Megan Mullen, Victoria Young are set to dance in Russia’s Perm State Choreographic Institute – a world-renowned ballet school.

Monica Loughman, Anthony White, Victoria Young, Megan Mullen, Al Monica Loughman, Anthony White (who has been asked to audition at Vaganova Ballet Academy), Victoria Young and Megan Mullen Source: Keith Dixon

WHAT WERE YOU doing at 15?

Some more popular answer might include: choosing your Leaving Cert subjects, or – for the rebels out there – siphoning small quantities of alcohol out of your parents’ bottles.

What you probably didn’t say was preparing leave your family to migrate to a different country where you don’t speak the language and dedicate your life to becoming a professional dancer.

For Alana Borza, 15, Megan Mullen, 14, Victoria Young, also 15, that’s exactly what the next 12 months holds after being accepted into Russia’s Perm State Choreographic Institute – an internationally renowned ballet school associated with the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre.

“It is a huge achievement,” explains Alana to TheJournal.ie, “Russian ballet schools are very difficult to get into – it is a lot of discipline. It is a very strict school.”

Just to get accepted is an amazing achievement.

The three girls are the first Irish students to be accepted for places at the school in more than 20 years – and in August will leave their families behind for a year with the hope of securing a future in the competitive world of ballet dancing.

While the girls will be allowed to stay together in dorm accommodation, their new classes will see them taking instruction in Russian – although this hasn’t phased them.

Anthony White, Victoria Young, Megan Mullen, Alana Borza image b Source: Keith Dixon

“I think I might take a few classes over the summer,” says Megan, originally from Dundalk, “so I know a few things before I go over.”

I know the basics sort of already from when we went over twice before. Monica my ballet teacher said she picked it up very quickly, they sort of repeat things a lot.

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The Monica that Megan is referring to is Monica Loughman, the founder of Monica Loughman Elite Ballet and one of the few Westerners to dance for the Perm school’s attached ballet company.

Speaking about the challenges ahead for the girls, Loughman says:

I have no doubt they will face challenges during this experience but the resilience and commitment they have shown over the last few years will serve them well and they know I am always here to advise and support them as they spread their wings.

Although the girls will be staying together, they’ll be spending the next year away from their families, and will spend Christmas overseas (with the Russian Orthodox religion marking 7 January).

“Sometimes I’m jealous of my friends because they get to spend so much time doing what they want,” Megan reflects.

But when I go to Russia I get to see the performances and how great things are, that definitely pushes me on and makes me more committed to it.

Read: The teenage gymnast set to make history for Ireland at the Olympics

Also: This teen left her small US town to become a ballet dancer in Russia

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