Returning to the birthplace of Russian ballet and home of Founders Ekaterina and Anton, the 2019 intensive featured teachers Elena Bazhenova (Honoured Artist of Russia) for character class, Anatoly Sidorov for pas de deux class, and Aleksandr Stepin for acting classes. Students and teachers from countries all over the world (including Estonia, Costa Rica, Germany, Italy, Australia, Argentina, Singapore, Canada and the United States) came together in St. Petersburg to study the Vaganova technique and experience the art, history, and culture of the city. In addition to working extremely hard in classes, participants took excursions to the backstage of the Mariinsky Theatre and Hermitage Museum, as well as participated in bus and boat tours around the city. The program was an immense technical, cultural and personal growth experience for all. [Read one of our participants’ experience here.]


At the 2018 NYC intensive, students performed excerpts from the famed ballet La Bayadere, in addition to our regular Vaganova technique classes. Students applied skills from technique class to variations, and gained valuable corps work skills, such as musicality and spacial vigilance. Even though our international teachers faced unforeseen visa difficulties, founders Ekaterina Shchelkanova and Anton Boytsov nonetheless worked relentlessly to teach all classes from 12-8pm, 6 days a week. It was a pleasure to see the tremendous growth, understanding, and joy in all of our students, which made this program an impressive success!


Our 2017 Summer Intensive and Teacher’s Training returned to Riga, Latvia. There are many reasons that we appreciate this beautiful capital for a summer training site. For one, Mikhail Baryshnikov was born, raised, and trained here. Furthermore, it was thrilling to have Professor Irina Trofimova join us once again. A Vaganova graduate and professor, she holds the distinction of having been trained to teach by Professor Agrippina Vaganova herself. Read more about our amazing friends, mentors and instructors.


Our 2016 Summer Intensive and Teacher’s Training returned to New York City with some exciting additional features. For example, we were honored to have Sir Cyril Atanasoff of the Paris Opera bring his perspective to our program for the first time. He will join us again for our training in Riga, Latvia in 2017. It was also a honor and delight to include in our teaching staff, our teacher of Pas de Deux from when we attended Vaganova Ballet Academy, Anatoly Sidorov.

A unique aspect of our 2016 summer training was the beginning of our rehearsal for Open World Dance Foundation’s production of full length ballet: “Cinderella“, which included Principal Dancer Misty Copeland from American Ballet Theatre participating in our program and working alongside our advanced students.


“With immense satisfaction and gratitude to our mentors, colleagues, students and their teachers and parents, we look back to our Summer Intensive 2015 in NYC! We thank each and every one of you who came to join us and who made this experience a truly unique one! As always, our goal was to broaden participants’ personal and professional horizons and to plant seeds to help them grow into devoted patrons of the world’s art and culture.” 

– Open World Dance Foundation Founder, Ekaterina Shchelkanova

Bringing our program to the United States, specifically New York City was our ultimate grand goal, and we did it! We had a full program with 50 students and 15 teachers. Our three levels of students came from across the United States, representing 17 states from Alaska to Florida and from ten countries. This makes the experience much broader than ballet training. Our dancers included our proteges – Tatiana Koltsova, a Russian orphan, and Edvin Jakonis, a talented young boy from Lithuania, who we began coaching at last year’s summer intensive. It was extremely gratifying to see so many people and nationalities united by dance at our summer intensive, which made the Open World Ballet Foundation’s mission came into fruition!


Students from seven countries attended two weeks of training in Riga, Latvia at the Riga Choreography School. Teachers included Ludmila Safronova, Elena Sherstneva, Anton Boytsov, Aleksandr Stepin and Lazaro Carreño. This beautiful city, the birthplace of foundation friend, Mikhail Baryshnikov was the perfect backdrop.


Training in St. Petersburg is a dream for many international dancers. Students from five countries trained at the studios of Leonid Yakobson’s company with master teachers Ludmila Safronova, Irina Kolpakova, Vladilen Semenov, Elena Shertsneva, Olga Provennaya, and Lazaro Carreño.


Our first summer program was held in Sochi on the shores of the black sea at the studios of the Winter Theater. Teachers included Irina Trofimova and Lazaro Carreño. Just following the intensive, Russian orphan, Tatiana Koltsova was accepted to Vaganova Academy.