At the conclusion of our first year of our newly formalized Elite Training Program, we are elated that three of our students have already been offered contracts!

Throughout the year, our first six Elite Training dancers trained, traveled and performed with us. We began in Houston, where participants danced featured roles in our premier of “Cinderella,” and then joined us in Florida and at our Winter Workshop in New York. A few continued on with us to Russia, which led to auditions with companies there.

We celebrate two of our students joining the Yacobson Ballet Company, one of the leading companies in Russia. They will start their first season at the Mariinsky Theatre, where Yacobson Company will have its season’s opening performances. In the fall, they will tour with the company to Japan, followed by trips to France, Luxembourg, Germany, Monaco and many other countries. A third student will be joining the school of the famous Moiseyev Company of Moscow, Russia. We know that this is just the beginning of many more successes to come!


It is with incredible happiness that I share of the beginning of a new journey in my life. For as long as I can remember, Russia was always an unattainable dream for me but with the support and guidance of the Open World Dance Foundation, I have received a contract with the Yacobson Ballet Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia and it will become my new home!

After performing in the foundation’s premiere of Cinderella, I went on to take part in an elite training with Ms. Ekaterina Shchelkanova and Mr. Anton Boytsov. We began at the very beginning, all the way back to two hands, facing the barre. Through only three months of their training and with lots of hard work and determination, Ms. Shchelkanova and Mr. Boytsov gave me a foundation in the Vaganova technique that I am able to continue to work and grow from and instilled in me an understanding of the true beauty of this classical art form and the importance of it’s perseverance.

It is through the ELITE TRAINING I received from the Open World Dance Foundation, that my unattainable dream finally became within reach. Although it is beginning of a new journey in my life, it is only a continuation of my journey with the Open World Dance Foundation, for I completely support and believe in the invaluable teaching and the incredible importance of what this foundation gives.

– Katia Raj, Elite Training student and current company member of Yakobson Ballet

The Open World Dance Foundation has changed my life in every way! I first met Ms. Shchelkanova and Mr. Boystov two years ago and was invited to their 2016 summer program in New York City. It was the most incredible and exciting program that I have ever participated in!  After that summer, I only wanted to continue my training with the Open World Dance Foundation and so I followed Ms. Shchelkanova and Mr. Boystov to Houston, Florida, and now to Russia. Here in Russia, they gave me the incredible opportunity to take classes at the Bolshoi Theatre as well as to audition with the Yacobson Ballet. I am incredibly happy to have received a contract here with the Yacobson Ballet in St. Petersburg and I will be moving to Russia and begin working at the company this July.  None of this would have ever happened without the Open World Dance Foundation and I really cannot express how happy and thankful I am!!

– Evandro Bossle Jr., Elite Training student and current company member of Yakobson Ballet

If anyone had asked me a year ago if I thought I would ever go to Russia to audition for the Moiseyev school, I would’ve said it is crazy!! Growing up, I didn’t dare to dream of dancing in Russia because I did not think it was possible, at least not for a girl like me from a small town in Virginia! But Ms. Ekaterina and Mr. Anton gave me the confidence to pursue such a wild dream and now I have an incredible journey ahead of me, one that will shape my life forever! I am forever grateful! Truly!

– Sara Petrosian, Elite Training student and current student of Moiseyev Academy

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