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Director & Advisors

Founder and Director of the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet. Featured as Dance Magazine’s Great American Teacher. First Recipient of honorary degree from the Isadora Duncan International Institute to teach Isadora Duncan to children. She received her extensive training in Europe with Joan Lawson of the Royal Ballet and in the United States she completed the Vaganova (Russian) Grades with Madame Vilu Vecsey. She is the author of And They Danced On, a collection of stories from the various artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Markarova to name a few. Created a children’s dress line called the Anna Pavlova Collection. Designed a bendable cloth doll, complete with dance accessories as a teaching aid for children.

Former Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the Kirov Ballet; favorite partner of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev, Irina Kolpakova is widely recognized as one of the finest ballerinas of the last half-century. Ms. Kolpakova was the last pupil of Agrippina Vaganova, architect of the famed Vaganova System of modern ballet education. She joined the Kirov in 1950 and danced leading roles in all the major ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Stone Flower, Legend of Love, The Creation of the World, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphides, Othello, Giselle, Cinderella, Don Quixote, and La Bayadère. She was the undisputed star of the Kirov’s first tours to the United States in 1961 and 1964, enchanting audiences as the Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, a role in which she was regarded as the definitive interpreter of our time.Ms. Kolpakova has garnered many prestigious awards including the rarely bestowed People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, and the Paris-based Anna Pavlova Prize. She is a remarkable teacher and coach, and has served as a jurist in international ballet competitions in Russia, Japan, and the United States

As a Premier Danseur of the Kirov Ballet, Mr. Semenov danced leading roles in many major ballets such as Romeo and Julie, Giselle, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. After retiring from the stage, he became a master pedagogue at the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Theater, teaching the daily class for soloists and coaching those dancers in leading roles. From 1970 to 1972 Mr. Semenov was the Kirov Ballet’s Artistic Director as well as its Principal Teacher. Concurrently he also served as Principal Faculty at St. Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet from 1964 to 1997, training two generations of male Kirov dancers. In the course of his career he was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, the country’s highest artistic honor. Currently he is a guest teacher and coach for American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet.