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'I love Russia, the language, the ballet. It's home' - meet the Irish teen wowing as a pro ballerina

Irish teen Alana Borza is going the distance for her profession, she tells Emily Hourican

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Professional ballerina Alana Borza from Killiney who lives in Izhevsk in Russia. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Professional ballerina Alana Borza from Killiney who lives in Izhevsk in Russia. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Professional ballerina Alana Borza from Killiney who lives in Izhevsk in Russia. Photo: Steve Humphreys

'I loved it since I can remember," says 19-year-old professional ballerina Alana Borza, home in Ireland from her job with The Opera and Ballet Theatre in Izhevsk, Russia. Lots of little girls love ballet. Mostly, they love the costumes - who could blame them? - and the glamour. What was it that appealed to Alana? "I loved the work. The discipline."

So much did Alana love ballet that she decided it would be her career. She trained with Monica Loughman, and by the time she was 15, had been accepted to the Perm State Ballet School, close to the Ural mountains. "I knew I wanted to go to Russia, and do Russian ballet. I've always been very determined. And I was really lucky. My parents are very supportive. My dad wasn't huge on me going to Russia, but my mum was. She was a gymnast when she was younger, and it was her dream to go to Russia or Romania. So when I wanted to do ballet in Russia, she was always 'how can I help?'"

After her Junior Cert, Alana left school in Killiney, where she grew up - her father Camillo is part of the Borza Italian chipper dynasty - and moved to Perm, to train full-time as a ballerina. "I'm one of three kids," she says, "I have two younger brothers, and they work in the family restaurant; they're great at it and they love it. But I'm not a people person... All I ever wanted to do was dance."