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Dance with Us

Student Dancers Share the Stage with Russian Pros!

50,000+ American Children Receive Arts Enrichment from Moscow Ballet

Moscow Ballet’s 2012 20th Anniversary tour of the Great Russian Nutcracker celebrated 50,000+ student dancers performing side-by-side with the Russian company of 40 in the Dance with Us program. A generation of ballet students has had the rare opportunity of auditioning, rehearsing, and performing with a professional, international touring ballet company. Click here to read about 15 year old Maggi Steele’s first experience with the Moscow Ballet “Dance with Us” program from auditioning to performing with the professional company.

Pictured here: Student dancers audition in Aberdeen WA.

Dance with Us includes partnerships with ballet studios in each tour city, which are carefully developed by Mary Gianonne Talmi, co-producer of Moscow Ballet’s North American tours. Moscow Ballet Audition Directors audition children in each city, rehearse with them for several days, and leave the local Host Studio to rehearse the children for 6 weeks prior to the performance. Studio owners are pleased to offer students personal exposure to the highly trained Russian dancers and to the professional performance experience. Cathy Napolitano-Mucci, of Dance Center North in Syracuse NY, hosted auditions for the first Great Russian Nutcracker tour in 1993. She remarks, “I know from watching my students grow and advance since the very first Moscow Ballet tour, that this is one of the most significant experiences a young dancer can have. It lifts them up and humbles them all at the same time.”


Below: Moscow Ballet's Svetlana Todinova leads youth auditions in North Charleston SC.

Talmi, a Juilliard School graduate and pioneer of the regional dance movement, developed Dance with Us with the intent to bring this unique opportunity to students and studios in regional markets. The program is 100% underwritten by Moscow Ballet and includes administration, international and national transportation for Russian ballet dancers as well as their salaries and living expenses (when not provided by local host families). There is no instruction fee charged, but Moscow Ballet requires a minimum $50 Participation Fee from all youth dancers who are cast in the performance; this fee helps cover costume maintenance and other related administrative costs.

Right: In costume, ready for her role in Great Russian Nutcracker in Little Rock AR.

In addition to Dance with Us, Talmi developed other programming that provides a continuum of experiences extending over a 6-month period. Earlier children’s programming includes the 1984 “Cynthia Gregory Celebration Tour,” and “Just Say No” campaign as it’s official message, chaired by First Lady Nancy Reagan. Moscow Ballet’s Russian-Cultural Ballet program was produced in nine museums and art institutions across the US. Later, Cinderella Around the World dance and literacy program accompanied Moscow Ballet's 2004 North American tour of Cinderella. The “First International Glasnost Festival Tour” included symposiums, screenings, poetry readings, and more for students and the public at Dartmouth, Yale, and other colleges. Today, Moscow Ballet also offers children New Horizons: A Children’s Program for Life, addressing diet, exercise, and creative expression through interactive experiences with Moscow Ballet dancers. To read more click here.


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