January 18, 2012--Washington, DC--In an event co-sponsored by the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC (KAB) proudly hosted members of the Mariinsky Ballet. On hand from the Mariinsky were Deputy Director, Yuri Fateev; 1st soloist Ekaterina Kondaurova, and 2nd soloist Maria Shirinkina, along with Anastasia Koshkina, Project Manager for the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, and members of the media (Voice of Russia, Interfax, and RIA Novosti).
From left to right: Elena Tenchikova (KAB Ballet Instructor), Yeu-Jung Lee (KAB Ballet Instructor), Marianna Lobanova (KAB Ballet Instructor), Maria Shirinkina (2nd Soloist, Mariinsky Ballet), Yuri Fateev (Deputy Director, Mariinsky Ballet), Ekaterina Kondaurova (1st Soloist, Mariinsky Ballet), Martin Fredmann (Artistic Director/Executive Director, KAB), Anastasia Koshkina (Project Director, American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation), Nikolai Kabaniaev (Associate Artistic Director, KAB), Robert Lucas (Director of Development, KAB,Regina Shestakova Martin (Accompanist, KAB)
Addressing KAB students
After an informal reception hosted by KAB Artistic/Executive Director, Martin Fredmann, and other members of KAB’s artistic staff, Mr. Fateev and the Mariinsky dancers regaled KAB students with stories of their respective careers with the Mariinsky Ballet and of life in the profession.
The presentation was followed by a Q&A session where KAB students asked questions of Mr. Fateev and his two dancers about the life of a professional ballet dancer, diet, and the rigorous Mariinsky touring schedule. After which, Mr. Fateev and his dancers watched a performance by KAB students (Riho Sakamoto and Tomoha Terada), toured KAB facilities and signed autographs for KAB students.
Yuri Fateev, addressing KAB dancers. Left to right: Riho Sakamoto (KAB student), Anastasia Koshkina (American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation), Tomoha Terada (KAB student), Yuri Fateev (Mariinsky Ballet), Nikolai Kabaniaev (KAB), Irina Wunder (Dance Instructor, GW University/American University), Maria Shirinkina (Mariinsky Ballet)
Center: Maria Shinikina, Yuri Fateev, Ekaterina Kondaurova (with KAB students)
Left to right: Yuri Fateev (Mariinsky Ballet), Maria Shirinkina (Mariinsky Ballet), Ekaterina Kondaurova (Mariinsky Ballet), Anastasia Koshkina (American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation), Martin Fredmann (KAB Artistic Director/Executive Director)
The event followed on the heels of KAB’s naming Martin Fredmann as Acting Executive Director. Fredmann had been serving as the institution’s Artistic Director and has now added the administrative responsibilities to his artistic function, effective January 1, 2012. In his long and distinguished career in ballet, Fredmann served as the Artistic Director and CEO of the Colorado Ballet for 20 years. He is also the Founder and Director of the Japan Grand Prix ballet competition, now it its tenth year.
The Kirov Academy of Ballet was originally created and sustained during its first 20 years by the support of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Since 2009, KAB has no longer been able to receive the level of financial support that it had before from its founding benefactor. In the face of this new challenge, KAB seized the opportunity to reinvent itself in order to remain in operation in a difficult economic environment.
During this past academic year, Martin Fredmann has been instrumental in creating a new strategy to help increase awareness of the Kirov Academy within the northeast DC neighborhood where the Academy is located. Fredmann developed new audiences for KAB’s bi-annual performance series; established new arts-in-education partnerships with local schools; worked toward further expanding and diversifying the board of directors; sought corporate sponsors; stepped up communications efforts; developed new strategic partnerships; and expanded the Academy’s fundraising and community engagement activities.
Fredmann remains faithful to the treasured tradition of Russian classical ballet training and performance aesthetic, while ensuring that the training is relevant to today’s ballet standard so that graduates continue to receive employment opportunities at the top ballet companies around the world.
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in operation since 1990, KAB’s mission is to provide the best classical, Vaganova-style ballet training to the most talented ballet students seeking professional company careers. It remains the only dedicated ballet academy in the U.S. to offer, in addition to its top notch ballet training, a full academic curriculum with onsite faculty and a resident life program—all under one roof. KAB is accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association.
Kirov Academy graduates have gone on to perform in professional companies throughout the world. Alumni of KAB are currently dancing as Principal Dancers or Soloists at American Ballet Theater, The Royal Ballet in London, Dutch National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, English National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Universal Ballet among other companies. In May, one of Kirov’s most recent graduates, Patricia Zhou, an apprentice with The Royal Ballet in London,
The American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (www.a-rccf.org) is a non-profit organization with a 20-year history and an impressive record of conducting high-profile, bilateral cultural events. With the mission to strengthen U.S. - Russian relations through the arts, establishing a direct dialogue between the two cultures is the cornerstone of cooperation.