Tala Lee-Turton’s talent has taken her on an incredible journey, from Barnsley to the Bolshoi, moving 2000 miles from her home in Yorkshire to Russia when she was 16. In 2016, Tala made history as only the third British female to graduate from the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy in its then 245-year-history. Now she’s achieving her career goals as the Creative Producer and Founder of Tala Lee-Turton Productions and freelance professional dancer, having worked with English National Ballet and Astrakhan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
Tala is now based in the UK, and is collaborating with artists in the dance, film and music industries to produce work that will engage new audiences through Tala Lee-Turton Productions. Her productions include Chinese Laundry, Follow the White Rabbit and her seminal No Time Like The Present, originally performed as a research and development piece at Wentworth Woodhouse in 2021.
Tala has also created a community of support for young dancers and dance lovers and offers mentoring and coaching on Patreon and hosts masterclasses for community-based dance schools. She finds it immensely rewarding to encourage and inspire young people to achieve and succeed, whether in the world of classical dance or any other career.
© Darian Volkova
Born and raised in Barnsley, Tala began dancing at the age of four when her talent was spotted by her local dance school. Aged 11 she won a scholarship to one of the UK’s top performing arts schools but while studying there, she was told that she’d never become a classical dancer. Determined to achieve her ambition, she found new teachers and was invited to audition for the Bolshoi. In 2012, at just 16-years-old, she won her place at the world-famous ballet school.
Tala moved to Russia to pursue her dream, and, achieve the world-class standards of Russian classical ballet. She had to learn the Russian language from scratch and adapt to a strict regime at the Bolshoi, working up to ten-hours-a-day, six days a week. Tala also competed in several international competitions as a pre-professional. Prior to her graduation from the Bolshoi, she participated in the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida and finished in the top 10 of the professional category, ranked third overall female. Her hard work paid off when she was awarded a professional contract, after-four years of intensive training at the Bolshoi.
Tala’s company experience includes performing in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella-in-the-round, at the Royal Albert Hall with English National Ballet, and with Astrakhan in their beautiful, purpose built theatre, and also on international tours of Italy and China. Tala’s repertoire includes classics, such as Cygnets and Neapolitan in Swan Lake, plus soloist roles in Giselle, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote. She has also danced in neo-classical works such as Waltz of the White Orchids, Piaf and Andrei Rublev.
Tala returns to her family home in Yorkshire when her work commitments allow her. She is proud to be an ambassador for her home town; winning the Proud of Barnsley Young Superstar award in 2012 and also becoming a Barnsley Civic Champion.
Tala wrote this blog during her four-years of training at the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. The blog follows Tala’s journey as a 16-year old exploring Moscow, learning Russian and gives an insight into the intense training regime that turned her into the professional dancer she is today.