Tag Archives: Russia

Bonnie’s Trip to Russia

Bonnie’s Trip to Russia

When I was a little girl, my very best friend, Bonnie Ann, lived just across the street. That’s me on the the left with my “pixie” haircut that my mother adored. I coveted Bonnie’s hair, because she could wear pigtails.

Andrea and Bonnie

When I was seven, my brother was born, and I was sent to my aunt’s house for a week while my mother and baby Billy were in the hospital. When I came home, Bonnie’s family had moved. I was heartbroken. Bonnie told me months before she was moving, but I never believed she actually would.

She came back to visit a couple of times, but then I didn’t see her for decades.

Until recently. A couple of years ago, she tracked me down. We reconnected through a blog post I wrote for Doing Life Together. We friended each other on Facebook, and last spring she came to Phoenix to judge dog obedience trials, and we got to spend a couple of hours together.

Bonnie recently traveled to Russia for three weeks. She posted hundreds of photographs on Facebook, and gave me permission to share some of them with you. I picked out just a few, mostly highlighting Russian architecture and art.

Bonnie is in most of these pictures. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much she looks like she did in the picture above, even though she’s only a year younger than me (er, twenty-nine…).

The Marine Canal looking toward the Grand Cascade & palace. — in Peterhof, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia.

Peterhof – Tzar Peter the Great’s summer palace known as the ‘Russian Versailles’

Old Stalingrad market.

A mosaic at the Old Stalingrad market

Railroad station ceiling mural depicting the 1918 Russian Civil War. — in Volgograd, Russia.

Mural on the ceiling of the railroad station in Volgograd, depicting the 1918 Russian Civil War.

Statues (click on the smaller images to enlarge and reveal captions):





All Saints Church

All Saints Church, Volgograd

Catherine the Great’s Summer Palace:



Church of the Blood. — in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Church of the Blood, St. Petersburg

Palace Square - Hermitage, Saint Petersbury

Hermitage, Palace Square, St. Petersburg

Interior of St. Peter:Paul Church

Interior of St. Peter and Paul Church, St Petersburg

Our Lady of Vladimir Cathedral's bell tower — in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Bell tower of Our Lady of Vladimir Cathedral, St. Petersburg

St. Basil's. Famous Kremlin clock tower on left.

The iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow; Kremlin bell tower at left


Friendship of People Fountain in Moscow. The sixteen figures represents the 16 different cultures of the old Soviet Union. The statue over Bonnie’s right shoulder is special to Bonnie, because it represents the Ukraine, which is part of Bonnie’s heritage.

The Cathedrals of the Kremlin:


Changing of the Guard at Kremlin

Changing of the guard at the Kremlin



Red Square

Red Square; Kremlin on the left


Russia's largest shopping mall - GUM Department Store at the Red Square - built in the 1890's.

Russia’s largest shopping mall – GUM Department Store at the Red Square – built in the 1890’s.


Vodka museum

The Vodka Museum. Pretty door.

Pretty staircase within Izmaylovo Kremlin

Pretty staircase within Izmaylovo Kremlin

Stalin's grave

Stalin’s grave


Samovars for sale in a marketplace

Eggs 1

Decorative eggs

Matryoshka dolls

Nesting Matryoshka dolls

Putin's Palace, Moscow

Putin’s Palace, Moscow

View of Kremlin and St. Basil from cruise ship

View of the Kremlin and St. Basil from cruise ship on the Moskva River

The subway station in Moscow must be one of the cleanest and most beautiful in the world:

Subway art

Traditional Russian folk art – Gzhel – on subway wall

Mosaic of Ukranina Soviet workers in sub station

Mosaic of Ukranian Soviet workers

Sickle and hammer in sub station

Sickle and hammer from Soviet times

Moscow subway station

Yes, this is the subway.

A great big ARHtistic License thank you to Bonnie Lee for generously sharing her beautiful photographs.




Creative Juice #38

Creative Juice #38

Nine articles, mostly art-related.

The Dance of the Russians

The Dance of the Russians

No matter what you think about the leadership of Russia, the people of Russia have an enviable artistic legacy. Their glorious architecture, inspiring literature, and heartrending music express the triumphs and challenges of their centuries of existence. Russian dance transcends mortal experience and transports audiences to the heights of beauty and wonder.

If I had to reduce Russian dance to two words, they would be grace and athleticism.

Let’s start by looking at some Russian folk dances.

Here’s an example of grace: Berezka. (This may actually be from the Ukraine; if so, my apologies.)

The dancers glide so smoothly in their long gowns that observers barely see their steps. It’s almost as though they’re dolls on a turntable.

Now, for athleticism: Kalinka.

This vigorous dance features prisyadka, the deep squats followed by a kick that male Russian dancers made famous; also that crab-walking thing (I’m so sorry—I don’t know the name of that step).

Russia produced some of the greatest composers of ballet music: Tschaikovsky, Prokofiev, Glazunov, Stravinsky. It comes as no surprise that Russian choreographers drew upon the wealth of their native culture to create inherently Russian ballet. It also stands to reason that some of the most legendary ballet dancers in history are Russians.

The Dance of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker:

Dance of the Little Swans from Swan Lake:

The Dying Swan from Swan Lake:

Rudolph Nureyev defected from Soviet Russia in 1961 and partnered with Dame Margot Fonteyn at The Royal Ballet in London. Here is the Balcony Scene from Romeo and Juliet:

Nureyev in Swine Lake:

Long before becoming Carrie’s love interest on Sex and the City, Mikhail Baryshnikov was a Russian dancer who also defected, in 1974, when he was hired by the American Ballet Theater.

Click here to see him dance in a scene from the movie White Nights

Watch him leap. He seems almost to be jumping on a trampoline.

The training of a Russian ballet dancer starts before the age of 10, when students can audition and commit to the ballet academy. They reside onsite while they complete their study, including several hours of dance classes every day. Less than half graduate, due to the high demands of the program.

Few people understand what it takes to actually become a prima ballerina. Here are a couple of videos that give you an idea what young dancers need to practice every day. Note: even though they make it look effortless, in reality, ballerinas suffer severe foot pain for their art.

Click here to see en pointe technique.

I studied ballet in kindergarten, and took another class when I was a young adult. I also have been a member of Phoenix International Folk Dancers for about six years.

Do you dance? Do you like to watch dancers? What are your favorite kinds of dance? Share in the comments below.