Carey Academy Russia Irish dancers
Photo: courtesy of Carey Academy Russia

"It is wonderful to see Irish dancing and culture alive and thriving in Russia. I am very excited to be involved in the developing stages of this art form in this part of the world, and I see a great future for Irish dancing in Russia." 
~John Carey
Darya Markosyan teaches at the Carey Academy Russia in Yekaterinburg, Russia. She teaches dancers ages 12-48 years old, and the school is lucky enough to have regular instruction by John Carey A.D.C.R.G (certified teacher and adjudicator), from Burmingham, England.
Two-hand reel at Moscow Feis 2012
Photo: courtesy of Carey Academy Russia
Christy: Your school recently coordinated with John Carey. How did this come about and what are the results thus far?
Darya: I first saw John performing at NANs in 2006 and thought he was surely the best dancer I've ever seen. I wrote him an email, closed my eyes and pressed the send button, now my dancers have workshops with John and other Carey Academy teachers on regular basis. Our dancers joke than even watching John Carey dance for 3 minutes increases your own jump height in 5 cm. 
Christy: Where do your dancers compete and/or perform?
Darya: We try to go to at least two feiseanna in Russia and at least one in Europe. We do not really focus on performances as much as on competitions.
Christy: Do you teach adult dancers? How do they fit into your school's culture?

Darya: I teach mostly adult dancers. Irish dance is still very new to Russia, especially in the regions, so most of kids who dance in our school are our adult dancers' relatives, or their friends' children, or somehow related to people who are connected with the school. In my own class I have dancers aged 12-48 practicing together, cheering for each other at competitions and helping each other out, whether it's about mastering a new dance or coping with tricky homework assignment.
Irish dancers at RTME Feis/Oireachtas
 in Milan, November 2011
Photo: courtesy Carey Academy Russia
Christy: How is Irish dance received in Russia?

Darya: Whenever a show like Lord of the Dance or Gaelforce Dance is coming to perform in Russia, venues everywhere are sold out. While organizing feiseanna and grade exams, I discovered that professional dancers and choreographers in Russia do not take irish dancing serious (yet!).
Christy: Earlier this year you attended the European Oireachtas, where one of your students became the first Worlds qualifier from your school. How do you think this will help motivate the other students in your school?
Darya: I do see the difference already. Other dancers know Alina (age 13) quite well, see how hard she practices and realize that whatever they want is really possible to achieve.

Alina Valeeva, European Oireachtas 2012 in Salzburg
Photo: courtesy of Carey Academy Russia
Christy: Can I ask Alina what her Irish dance goals are?

Alina: If I qualify in Poland next year I will go to the Worlds in 2014. Honestly, I don't know what I will do after the Worlds. Maybe I will go on practicing, maybe I will give up dancing (because I need to study a lot as I will be in high school). But for now, I will dance on. And this is really a very important part of my life!
Christy: How does it feel to be a part of Irish dance history in Russia?
Darya: That's really exciting. Over the 10 years Russia has progressed from trying to copy moves from shows like Riverdance or Lord of the Dance, to dancing at World's stage. It's great to see schools from outside Moscow and St Petersburg organize feiseanna and grade exams and stand on podium during the results and meet people from all over the country. When I started dancing, the only tutorial everybody had was Olive Hurley's DVDs, and now there are six schools registered with CLRG (Irish dance organization), and the same people who accidentally influenced Russian Irish dancing (like Olive Hurley or Mary Duffy) are now adjudicating feiseanna here in the country.
Irish dancers at a Summer camp in July 2012 
with John Carey in Ufa, Russia
Photo: courtesy Carey Academy Russia
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