Brighton Ballet Theater, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 1987, in the heart of the Russian-American Cultural District of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York. In a small studio, the first ballet class was taught to five young girls, yet the school quickly bloomed to fifty students, and within a year, more than a hundred-and-fifty students attended.
For the director Irina Roizin, founding a ballet school was a childhood dream. Irina studied Russian character dance and gymnastics in Ukraine, but stopped dancing after she came to the United States at age seventeen. Ten years later, her passion for dance was rekindled as she began to train with two sisters, Rona and Galina Rybak, who had learned the art of ballet from the renowned Agrippina Vaganova.
The old Russian school of ballet and its teaching methods provide the basis for the Vaganova Method of teaching classical ballet.
The Vaganova Method was first developed by Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951). She developed a unique and effective method of training a classical dancer, a method of poetic spirituality, purely Russian cantilena of dancing movements, and of lavishness and conciseness of plastique.
The Vaganova Method has been, and still is developed by her followers.
The method aims at precision, strength and ability, as well as teaching students to dance with their whole body instead of isolating body parts into mechanical, separate movements. Considered excellent, the method is the most common ballet teaching method in Russia and parts of Europe, and is popular in the North America and other parts in the world.
Acknowledged the world over as the foremost training program, The Vaganova Method is known for instilling in its students artistic clarity through the use of the upper body, the acquiring harmonious movements, the widening of expressive range, and for the development of a strong center for adagio and allegro work. More graceful and powerful performances result.
Together, Irina, Galina, and Rona have combined their skills and experience, and created a unique method for working with children as young as two-and-a-half years old. Proven effective, this method assists children in gaining control over their body, prepares them mentally, as well as physically, for ballet classes, and allows children to enter the world of ballet through their imagination.
BBT is trying to restore & revive the heritage and best tradition of
the Russian Dance Culture."
- Dancer Magazine
This method has been used at BBT ever since 1987, and has proved extremely successful in nurturing and developing children-both physically and mentally.
With this introduction method, the school's popularity grew further, and the number of students increased to over four hundred. BBT expanded to The Shorefront "Y", a community center on the boardwalk in Brighton Beach, with larger studios, and started attracting young talented instructors. BBT's reputation as a school that uses a Russian ballet method, and producing a company where alumni move onto dancing careers has attracted a large stream of dancers from the former Soviet Union. The very best teachers, dancers, and choreographer were selected. They brought to BBT invaluable experience from the finest Russian ballet schools and colleges, and most prestigious Russian ballet companies.
Over the years, BBT has witnessed thousands of students blossom. Some of them have become professional dancers, some now study at specialized schools and colleges, while others have utilized their dance education as a creative foundation for other careers.
BBT performs on a regular basis with BBT's Junior Company "Theater for a
Young Audience", and BBT's Russian Folk Dance Company formed with professional
dancers from Russia and Ukraine. New dance classes are added each year to BBT's
curriculum in a continual effort to give children the best affordable dance
education, rich in Russian dance traditions and multicultural diversity.
BBT/School of Russian American Ballet is celebrating now it's fourth year on the
campus of the Kingsborough Community College (Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, New
York). With more that 400 students attending each year, BBT students learn
the art of dance from renowned dancers, teachers an choreographers who have
graduated from the best Russian Ballet Schools and Colleges and performed at the
most prestigious ballet companies of Russia, Ukraine and USA.
BBT's well-rounded curriculum includes ballet using the Vaganova (Russian)
Method as a base, character dance, modern & popular dance, Latin & Ballroom
dance, and international folk dance. Unlike other dance schools in NYC, BBT
provides all children with a unique opportunity to perform full-scale ballets,
with costumes and scenery.