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Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre Brings Classical Russian Ballet to Michigan

By Marina Jokic

Founder and Artistic Director Carol Radovic, who is well versed in the Vaganova method of ballet pedagogy, works tirelessly to impart her knowledge to her students. Having studied ballet assiduously for over sixty years, traveling frequently to Moscow, Perm, and St. Petersburg, Radovic found herself enthralled by Russian classical ballet, its movements and form. "It is the world gold standard for classical ballet, which is known for its discipline, intelligence and emotive qualities," she says of the Vaganova method.

To Radovic, classical ballet is one of the most poignant art forms because it incorporates music while demanding the intelligence to understand the emotive qualities of movement. Indeed, the performance must emotionally elevate spectators beyond the mundane routines of their everyday lives and transform them in a way.

Radovic wanted to ensure she was trained by the best so she studied with some of the most eminent Russian dancers in the world. She trained in New York first, where she fell in love with the Russian method of ballet and its teachers. Later, after already having a school and company, she met Jurgen Schneider and Janina Cunova, studied the Vaganova pedagogy with them and traveled around, teaching others in their seminars. Radovic then continued her training at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. Today, Radovic runs cultural exchange programs that bring Russian teachers to the U.S. and send some of her best budding pupils to Russia.

Before opening her nonprofit, Radovic was able to establish the private C.A.S. Ballet Theatre School in 1977, which shares residence with Ann Arbor Ballet. In partnership with her daughter Kathryn Scharp and friend Kristine Konz, Radovic worked hard to bring their dream to life.

Ann Arbor Ballet has done many benefits for St. Joseph Hospital, Mott Children's Hospital, the local Humane Society, and other beloved charities in the city. "I feel since we use only our finest local, paid performers that this makes us a unique member of this community," says Radovic.

"We do not own our own theatre, of course, only a large studio on 307 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor, where the school trains the dancers, and the company rehearses ballets," adds Radovic. The ballet company has performed at the notable Power Center for the Performing Arts and at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.  Several prominent ballets choreographed by Ms. Radovic include Cinderella, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Carmen, The Nightingale, Beauty and the Beast, Dracula, Carnival of the Animals, and many other full length and short works as well.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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