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 board of directors of the Michigan Ballet Academy. MBA was incorporated as a non-profit arts organization on June 1, 2011. The Michigan Ballet Academy held its first class in the newly renovated facility at 1595 Galbraith Ave on September 26, 2011. Just 3 months after opening, MBA mounted its first full-length ballet production, Akop Akopian's The Nutcracker at the beautiful East Grand Rapids Performing Arts Center. By September of 2012, enrollment had doubled and the original two ballet studios had grown to three. Starting in the first year of operation, members of each graduating class from MBA have gone on to begin professional careers in dance or benefit from scholarships to study dance in college. In April of 2014, 5 MBA students participated in the New York finals of the Youth America Grand Prix competition. In September 2014, MBA welcomed its second and current artistic director, Nikoloz Makhateli.
Our mission is to deliver the highest quality ballet training 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.