Names: Monica & Gabriela Irimia
Date of Birth: 31st October 1982
Eldest: Gabriela by 10 minutes
Place of Birth: Cluj-Napoca, in the heart of Transylvania, Romania
Parents: Father: Doru Irimia - Doctor of Medicine, Mother: Margit Irimia - Nurse and Midwife
Between the ages of 3-5 they attended the institute of physical Education in Cluj where they had artistic gymnastic lessons along side their normal infant schooling.
From the age of 6-7, they stopped studying gymnastics and started swimming and karate.
At primary school, they stopped swimming training but continued with the karate but they attended the Hungarian Opera House in Cluj where they started to learn the musical development for a ballerina differs from that of a karate student and therefore they took the decision to stop training in karate and to concentrate all of their efforts in to becoming ballerinas.
At the age of ten, in September, they both won places at the Octavian Strola High School of Choreography in Cluj. There were only five ballet colleges in the whole country, and there were more than five applicants for every place. Applicants came from all over Romania and from Russia. The examination concentrated on the physical proportion and perfect build combined with flexibility, balance and rhythm.
These examinations of the development of the student ballerinas' body continued throughout the entire period of training and many students were rejected each year as they failed to meet the strict criteria required of a professional ballerina.
School started at 8am at the ballet studios. The mornings were devoted to classical ballet up to 11am. they then had a 20 minute walk to the education building where they had lunch in the school canteen before starting their standard lessons. School would end at 4pm. they would then return to the ballet studios for a further one or two hours of piano, singing and further dance training in traditional Spanish, Russian, Hungarian and Romanian dance and contemporary dance.
Having completed this 10 hour day, they then went home and done their homework for the next day. In their final two years, the ballet and dance lessons frequently continued through to 8-9pm.
From the age of 14, they had to perform 3-4 times a year live on stage at the Romanian and Hungarian Opera Houses as part of their course examinations. These performances included Easter and Christmas shows. For 2-3 weeks prior to these performances they would rehearse at college every day plus Saturdays at the Opera House.
From the age of 16, they began to include their choreography in their modern dance presentations for these evening performances.
This busy schedule did not leave a lot of time for social life during term time. But if you wish to become a professional ballerina, this is the price one must pay.
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