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Help the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC!

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Although KAB is known around the world for producing professional-level ballet dancers, many people in the DC area are unaware of the Kirov Academy of Ballet. By Getting to the Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University's 1,500 seat world-class venue, we will increase awareness of the school in the Washington, DC community so that we can secure coveted funding from individual donors, build an endowment for scholarships and reaffirm our spot as one of the top classical ballet academies in the world, for generations to come.

Please help support the Kirov Academy and the presentation of true Russian classical ballet. Watch the video, read the story, and check out awesome perks here:


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I've looked at the indigogo proposal.

The goal is to produce "La Sylphide" Act II and "Allegro Brilliante" by the students at the Kirov Academy on 23-25 May. The campaign runs until 4 June.

Since it's Indigogo, there's a choice of getting funding for a lower cost only if the campaign reaches its goal or to pay a higher percentage but keep whatever is pledged (less costs) if the project doesn't meet its goal. This project has chosen the latter.

An incentive to pledge is that the perk for $25 (or more) is a DVD of the performance.

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If the year-end performance in 2013 is anything like the one in 2012 (Giselle Act II and Valse-Fantaisie, etc.), then I endorse it 100%. The academy has numerous outstanding students but I'd pay a particularly close watch on Riho Sakamoto, who was Giselle last year and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty a couple of months ago. Riho aside, any company that takes on Allegro Brillante must be at a certain high level, as all ten dancers in that work must be of 'soloist' calibre to do it justice.

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We allow ballet-related projects on Kickstarter and Indigogo to be posted in this sub-forum. We allow other arts- and dance-related projects to be posted to the "Modern and Other Dance" and "Other Arts" forum. There's no pressure or expectation that anyone will pledge to fund these projects or even click through to see what the project is.

If anyone has a question about whether a subject is valid or a post is acceptable, please use the "Report" button rather than discussing it on the board. If we feel the topic/post is inappropriate, we will address the issue.

There are many professional dancers who have graduated from the Kirov Academy. It is one of a handful of pre-professional schools, like Harid, Rock School, and CPYB, that are not associated with major companies but whose performances are valid for discussion on Ballet Alert!

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Angelica, not just Hee Seo...many current and past ABT stars (and stars in many other troupes, worldwide). Even if they did not graduate at KAB/UBA, many now-famous professionals 'passed through' KAB/UBA, such as Joy Womack, currently the first American female member of the Bolshoi Ballet corps! (Joy is listed among the junior corps in 'Coppelia Waltz' on the DVD of the KAB's Spring 2008 performances...as is India Rose, who many know as a top student at the Kirkland Academy in NY.)

Mr. Rasta Thomas, who did graduate from KAB/UBA in the late '90s, became the first American on the regular roster of the Mariinsky Ballet, in 2000, invited by then-AD Makhar Vasiyev. (No, Keenan Kampa was not the first American...but first American female, yes.)

The person who posted seems to be in-the-clear, seeing that the admin responded.

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The Unif. Church is much more 'hands off' than in the early days of the Academy. (Even back then, they were barely visible, except at graduation time, when 'the family' would fly in for performances. The atmosphere was always 'Russia' and not 'Korea.' No religious indoctrination whatsoever...or even mention, from what I've heard.) The big change now is that funding by the Unif. Church has dropped-off significantly, maybe even down to zero? The only family member on the current board is, I think, the ballerina Julia Moon, who trained at the Vaganova in Leningrad. So now the school is experiencing a big 'Welcome to Reality': they now have to (gasp!) raise funds to maintain the school, like all other ballet/arts institutions in the USA.

In the 'Flooded-in-Cash Days' there was little reason to open doors and even say 'hello' to the community. The academy was like a sacrosanct little piece of Russia in DC. No outside performances. No repertoire beyond Russian/Soviet classics. Emphasis on grooming future winners of medals at the big competitions - creating soloists, not corps members. The physical criteria to get into the school -- and I was privileged to have attended an audition day in August when kids were scrutinized for selection -- used to be like the Vaganova Academy...just as one sees in the Children of Theater Street film with measuring of bones, observing the bone structure of family members, tugging at little kids' limbs to measure flexibility, etc!

When the Moon-Pak Family cut funding around 2009, there was a sudden need to 'open up' and be less elite in every way. The Board and senior staff became more diverse. The first non-Russian to lead the artistic staff, Martin Fredmann, came on-board ca 2011/2012. The students now include all healthy body types and various levels of technical competence. Teaching standards are still high but no longer just the emphasis on the Russo-Soviet rep. Kids now learn to be great corps members, not just solo stars...like in The Real World! The in-house academic program is now accredited to grant high school diplomas, with high standards in teaching non-dance subjects. The elite and secretive walls have tumbled. IMO, they are now worthy of funding by the community. How can anybody knock such a noble 'democratic' principle?

re. Fdtn's name: It is still 'Universal Ballet Fdtn' just because the school used to be called Universal Ballet Academy for a while, until the Moon-Pak Family funding ended or dwindled to very little. When the name of the school officially went back to 'Kirov Acad,' the foundation's name remained what it was before. There are probably legalities involved in altering a foundation's name? I'm guessing that a change of name is in the works.

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I attended yesterday's KAB graduation (year-end) performances - a double header consisting of the 2PM matinee at KAB's hqs (many excerpts from mostly-Russian ballets), followed by the performance at Lisner Auditorium (Sylphide A2, Allegro Brillante and two other works). The academy students outdid themselves this year. At the matinee, I was particularly impressed by the long lines and finesse of graduate Debora Davis as Odette in the White Swan PDD. Other highlights at the 2PM show:

Paquita male solo danced by technically wondrous Kazuki Yagi

Sleeping Beauty Aurora/Desire PDD - Mara Nascimento (reminding me of Vishneva at her graduation in 1995) and the elegant & tall Oscar Frame

Le Corsaire Medore/Ali pdd - Mariko Toguchi and Hibiki Takada - both extraordinary

Don Q pdd - Sakura Oka and Kota Fujishima. Special kudos to Ms Oka for her composure in the 32 -- actually 40 or so - fouettes in the coda...she began the fouettes in silence and the music did not begin until the 8th fouette...and she cranked out 32 full fouettes after the music began!

The evening show was amazingly good. Sylphide A2, in the Bournonville-via-Russia edition (!), starred Riho Sakamoto as the Sylph, with extraordinary ballon and secure pirouettes-en-attitude. The handsome and tall Emerson Moose was quite impressive as James. The Sylphs were beautifully unified. Zane Winders was an effective Madge, if a bit over the top in parts.

Adrienne Bot and James Folsom led a fine rendition of Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, staged by John Clifford.

My top kudos of the night, however, go to the youngest of the field -- Ms. Kanon Kimora (age 12) and Mr. Hyuma Kiyosawa (age 11 - eleven!) in a classical pdd d'occasion by Nikolai Kabaniaev, to Mozart's Andante from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. All I can say: Osipova and Vasiliev in miniature. BRAVI! (Even in the final work of the night - a 30-minute center-class to show off every level of the academy - Kimora and Kiyosawa stood out among 60+ dancers crowding the stage.)

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I also attended the Saturday, May 25 evening performance and thought that Riho Sakamoto, Kanon Kimora, and Hyuma Kiyosawa were standouts. Riho has been consistently impressive for years, and I am looking forward to seeing how her career develops in the future.

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Riho is only 15. I've seen her dance prominent roles in three such annual performances, including Giselle last year. Imagine what she'll be like two or three years from now, when she graduates. I hope that her wonderful trajectory continues. beg.gif

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I just received the following notification:

We want to let you know that ‘
Getting to the Lisner
’ has completed funding. They raised $40,711.00 including your contribution!

It was a campaign that earned whatever it raised less fees, even if it didn't meet its $75K target. I did some more poking, and because they are a verified 501 © 3 organization, and this is verified by Indiegogo and noted on the project page, they get a 25% fee discount.

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I don't recall ever hearing about a City Ballet dancer spending time at the Kirov Academy.

The author doesn't specifically say that that any Kirov Academy students eventually joined NYCB, just a company like ABT or NYCB.

"Nearly all landed at top companies like American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet."



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