Once a week, I brush my hair up into a tight bun, slip on my tights and leotard, and tie the laces on my pointe shoes. Once a week, I am fortunate enough to walk only four blocks to one of the highest quality ballet academies in our area. Akhmedova Ballet Academy has only been here a few years, but, in that time, they have proven themselves to be the studio to train at if one desires to be a professional dancer. All of Akhmedova’s professional dancers have gone on to dance with major companies around the world.
Akhmedova Ballet Academy trains young and older girls into becoming professionals. Ballet Intermediate is offered to young girls, such as myself, and the Professional Training Program is designed for serious ballet dancers ages 12–19, and is by audition only. The professional program uses the Vaganova Method, in which some of the world’s greatest ballet dancers — including Nureyev, Makarova, Baryshnikov, Zakharova, Vasiliev, and Osipova — were trained.
My class, Ballet Intermediate, meets every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. We also perform twice a year (the Nutcracker and the spring performance) with the professional students. Classes are kept small so that dancers receive the finest quality ballet training in a “semi-private” training environment that does not exceed eight students.
The director, Jacqueline Akhmedova, teaches the older students, while her daughter, Miss Jasmin, teaches my class. Madame Akhmedova studied in Moscow at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world. She then went on to perform with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Munich State Opera, and the Vienna State Opera. She also received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ballet performance, pedagogy, and choreography.
I asked Madame Akhmedova which is harder, teaching or dancing? She replied, “Dancing is the easiest, because you only focus on yourself, although sometimes it is challenging. Teaching is harder because there are many kids to teach, and each individual has different problems, and different talents. You have to forget about your own career and just concentrate on them.”
Their website, www.akhmedova ballet.org, has registration information and some beautiful pictures of their professional dancers. Their Facebook page has updates about current performances and recent awards; see it at www.facebook.com/ AkhmedovaBallet.
I suggest coming to see our spring performance of Sleeping Beauty on 21 May 2016 at 7:00 p.m. It will be held at the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College in downtown Silver Spring. Whether you have a dancer who is searching for a studio, or you are just a fan of the arts, Akhmedova is a good place to check out.
[Kennedy Jones, age 10, lives on Sutherland Rd. and is a member of the Junior Press Corps at Forest Knolls Elementary School.] ■
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