Russia has given the world a multitude of great artists and many young people dream of studying at a Russian theatre or ballet school. But, how easy is it for foreign students to study the fine arts in Russia?
'Agents of Russian culture'
Theodosis from Greece is studying at the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts in Moscow, commonly known as GITIS.
"Surprisingly enough, GITIS is very famous in Greece. Many actors in Greece have actually studied here. I said to myself, that’s where I want to go and learn," he said.
Theodosis' dream is to become a stage director. After 2 years in Moscow, his Russian is good but he still has some difficulties.
He added, "Well, after all, theatre is not only about text, but also emotions, movement on the stage. Not everything can be expressed in words. To tell you the truth, I think that I'd have the same problem with actors in Greece."
2019 has been named 'The Year of theatre' in Russia. Many theatre companies from abroad will tour the country but does Russia's diplomatic relationship with other countries cause problems.
Grigory Zaslavskiy, the Rector at GITIS, doesn't think so.
“In theatre, we always find a common language with everyone, despite the dramatic events in politics. 10 percent of our students come from abroad. We hope after finishing their studies they will not be viewed as agents of the Russian intelligence services, but as agents of Russian culture," he says.
Vaganova: 'the centre of all Russian culture'
In Saint Petersburg, the Vaganova Ballet Academy is one of the oldest dance schools in the world. Established in 1738, this year it is celebrating its 280th anniversary. A who's who of classical ballet have graced the academy's corridors and for many aspiring ballerinas and dancers going to the school is a dream.
"Many outstanding dancers from all over the Europe have had the honour to study at our academy. This place is the centre of all Russian culture." said Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Principle of the Vaganova Ballet Academy.
The Vaganova Academy is the associate school of the Mariinsky Ballet, one of the world's leading companies. While many foreign students study at the academy, entry is not easy.
"For 280 years all students have been admitted solely based on their talent. Some, we find ourselves, others send us videos of them performing," Tsiskaridze added.
For those who have difficulty financing their studies at the academy, the school works to support students so that they can obtain a scholarship, from bodies, such as the Nureyev Foundation.
Foreigners can enroll at Russian universities from anywhere in the world via the website russia.study. This is a global online platform, which has information about more than 500 universities in 80 cities of Russia. In a few clicks you can get not only detailed information about the university of interest, but also apply and get a student visa.