In the spring of 2011, a group of people with a common vision to create the best possible ballet training school in West Michigan approached Akop and Gaiane Akopian, former principal dancers with the Grand Rapids Ballet, and together they formed the Michigan Ballet Academy. Since the first year, students from each graduating class have gone on to begin professional careers in dance or benefit from scholarships to study dance in college. In September 2014, MBA welcomed its second Artistic Director, Nikoloz Makhateli, under whose direction MBA premiered many new original works by Mr. Makhateli, and graduated more than half a dozen students who are currently dancing professionally.
Upon Mr. Makhateli’s retirement in 2018, Former Bolshoi Ballet dancer, Irina Vassileni, transitioned to become MBA’s third Artistic Director.
Our mission is to provide world class ballet training using the principles and aesthetics of the Vaganova Method taught by professionally trained faculty in an atmosphere of creativity, challenge, encouragement and integrity.
We share a collective aspiration to enrich the lives of children and adults in our community through the beauty and discipline of classical ballet training and performance.
Statement of Beliefs
We believe that:
- Learning through the arts inspires joy, opens doors to self-discovery, and builds bridges to life-long learning
- The classical tradition of the Vaganova Technique is best suited to develop superior technical skills and artistry in children and youth
- All students can benefit from a toned body, mental discipline, advanced coordination, artistry, and gracefulness
- Our school is a place where dance, art, music, drama, and history intersect
- Our school seeks to produce not only superior dancers but exemplary human beings
- Our school seeks to foster an inclusive and welcoming community where each student can grow and reach their potential in a caring, wholesome, and supportive environment
- Our school embraces creative risk-taking through the development and production of new choreography
- All young people deserve access to the arts, and thus we actively seek scholarship funds so no one is denied admittance to our school
- In order to stay focused on our mission, we seek to forge partnerships and collaboration with K-12 schools and universities, home school organizations, gymnastics and ice skating schools, and other arts institutions in our community
- The arts promote peace in our world, and so we seek to create exchange programs throughout the country and world where our young artists can serve as ambassadors of this community
- The arts are irreplaceable avenues for expressing the full measure of what it is to be human, and we advocate for the arts in all of our lives.