Open World Dance Foundation Welcomes New Instructors

By: Jan. 23, 2015
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Open World Dance Foundation has a passion for creating hallmark events and training programs to preserve and promote the traditions and philosophy of classical ballet training. In the summer of 2015, they will bring an illustrious group of instructors to New York unmatched by any other program and unlikely to be repeated. Instructors who have committed to be part of this summer's programs include the world's top pedagogues.

Three of this summer's instructors were direct students of Agrippina Vaganova. These remarkable women, all in their eighties, hold a passion for ballet and for teaching. Bringing together these amazing women has not happened before and is unlikely to happen again. Their former student, Ekaterina Shchelkanova, Founder of Open World Dance Foundation, says "I wish we could share this incredible opportunity with everyone. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience."

"The soul needs to shine through" says Ludmila Safronova. Lovers of ballet will recognize her from ballet documentaries such as "Ballerina". A student of Agrippina Vaganova, she became a principal dancer at the Mikhailovsky Theatre and went on to be a professor at the Vaganova Academy for more than four decades where she has raised many of today's notable dancers.Graduated in 1951 from Agrippina Vaganova's last graduating class, Irina Kolpakova is widely recognized as one of the finest ballerinas of the last century. Irina Kolpakova was partnered by equally famed ballet stars Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, as well as by her husband, Vladilen Semenov. She carried the Vaganova tradition to the next generation while teaching at the Vaganova Academy and the Mariinsky Theatre. In the 1990's she became a choreographer and coach at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), where she is currently a ballet mistress. Normally only the elite principal and soloist dancers of ABT have the opportunity to work with Ms. Kolpakova.

Upon graduating from the Vaganova Academy, Irina Trofimova decided to pursue teaching. Unlike the other two women who achieved dancing careers, Professor Trofimova trained directly with Vaganova specifically to graduate as a teacher of Ballet Pedagogy. She knows from Vaganova herself the entire theory from level one through graduation. She was Olga Smirnova's teacher and coach in later years.Also joining these summer programs will be other top instructors. Together they will provide the full experience of Agrippina Vaganova's training. Vladilen Semenov, one of Russia's finest Danseur Noble, will teach men's technique and variations. Vaganova Academy students who graduated from his classes are automatically held in highest esteem. He currently coaches at ABT. Also, the charismatic Elena Sherstneva will teach historic and character dance, her specialties during her dance career at Mariinksy and while teaching at the Vaganova Academy. Other teachers to include: Star of Cuban National Ballet and Master Teacher ,Lazaro Carreño; ABT's head of hair and make up; and Vaganova Academy's former professor of art history.

Open World Dance Foundation's Summer Programs include a ballet summer intensive for serious students from Professionals to as young as ten (the entry age for Vaganova Academy) and a teacher's training program that shares unique knowledge of the method created by Agrippina Vaganova. In past years, Intensives have occurred in Sochi and St. Petersburg, Russia and Riga, Latvia. From these summer programs, four students were selected to become students at the Vaganova Academy - two Russian orphans and two international students, one from Latvia and one from the United States.