MBA 2019 Summer Intensive Guest Artist Bios
Valentina Barsukova (June 17 - 21)
Valentina received her Vaganova ballet training in the Ukraine beginning with the Kharkov Ballet School and graduating from Kiev Academy of Ballet. She danced professionally with the Kharkov Ballet Theatre performing in productions including Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Sone of the Forest, Carmen, Don Quixote, and Nutcracker.
During her time as a professional dancer, Valentina furthered her studies receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Choreography and a Masters Degree in engineering.
In 1994, Valentina moved to the United States and taught for Geiger Classical Ballet Academy, and Big City Dance Center. She then taught for Juliana’s Academy of Dance staging and choreographing ballet productions including Chipollino, Doctor Dolittle, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow Queen. In 2002, Valentina became a U.S. citizen.
Miss V, as she is affectionately addressed by her students, has had many dancers qualify for the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) New York City Finals in groups and as soloists earning her two YAGP Outstanding Teacher Awards. Her students have been accepted into residential programs—Bolshoi Ballet Academy; Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC; Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet; Miami City Ballet School; Pacific Northwest Ballet School; Canada’s National Ballet School; The Rock School for Dance Education; The Ailey School, Official School of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater—and countless summer intensives… many having been accepted with partial or full scholarships for both residential and intensive programs.
Valentina is extremely proud of the students she’s fostered and who have gone on to work professionally in companies including Stanislavsky Theatre (Moscow), Miami City Ballet (Miami), and Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York).
Samantha Shelton (June 24 - 28)
SAMANTHA SHELTON received her professional training from the Joffrey Ballet in New York and in Michigan with Rose Marie Floyd. She also studied in London with Anita Young (Royal Ballet) and at the Cecchetti International program in England. For the past twenty years, she has been on the ballet faculty for American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, currently directed by Kate Lydon, setting ABT repertoire and choreographing new ballets for the final performances. Currently, she is on faculty for the ABT Summer Intensives at the University of Texas, Austin, under the direction of Wes Chapman, former ABT principal and also travels the country as an adjudicator for the ABT National Audition Tour, selecting dancers for training programs in New York, Texas, California and Alabama. Samantha has also taught at the ABT program at the University of Alabama, directed by Carla Stallings and the Detroit Opera House/Wayne State University, directed by Alaine Haubert. She has choreographed and taught for the professional ballet programs at the Walnut Hill School in Boston, directed by former ABT principal,Michael Owen, Ballet Tennessee, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, and Interlochen Arts Academy. She has performed extensively in both classical and contemporary ballets, including the Grand Pas from Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, also principal roles in Giselle and Raymonda. In her guest artist performances, she has partnered with Craig Salstein (of ABT), Arch Higgins (New York City Ballet) and Christopher Stowell (San Francisco Ballet) among many others. Samantha holds an M.F.A in Dance from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded a Rackham Thesis grant, and a B.A. in Political Science also from the University of Michigan. She has also done graduate work at New York University in Performing Arts Administration with internships in development, PR and marketing at Carnegie Hall and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. For six years, she served on the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance Alumni Society Board of Governors and in May 2012 spent three weeks in Taiwan, teaching and presenting a piece of choreography for Tainan University. She is certified through the American Ballet Theatre National Curriculum Training Program and in August of 2014, co-taught the ABT NTC with Harriet Clark, at the Detroit Opera House. Most recently, she re-staged and choreographed Swan Lake for the West Michigan Youth Ballet, with Artistic Director Stephen Sanford and Laura Berman (former Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet). Samantha is also currently a Professor of Ballet at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI.