The Michigan Ballet Academy announces Ms. Irina Vassileni as its new Artistic Director to succeed Nikoloz Makhateli in overseeing the school, producing full-length ballets, and continuing the rigorous Vaganova training for which it is known. Mr. Makhateli has led the Michigan Ballet Academy as its Artistic Director for four years. After leading the Michigan Ballet Academy as Artistic Director for four years, Mr. Makhateli will be retiring at the end of August and moving back to his home country of Georgia where his family resides. On July 27, 2018, at 6 p.m., following the Summer Intensive student performance, the staff and Board of Directors of the academy will be holding a farewell reception in honor of Mr. Makhateli. The student performance and the reception will take place at the studios of the Michigan Ballet Academy, 1595 Galbraith Ave, SE, Grand Rapids.
Ms. Vassileni is a well-known instructor and re-stager of classical ballet. She is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, a former Bolshoi Ballet dancer, and holds a BFA degree in Methodology of Classical ballet and Choreography. Ms. Vassileni began her training by entering the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow at the age of 10. After graduating with honors, she was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet Company, touring worldwide and performing with the company in ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, Spartacus, Paquita, and the entire classical and contemporary repertoire.
Ms. Vassileni is passionate about handing down the knowledge she received from her training and professional career at the Bolshoi to a new generation of dancers and students. She believes that every student, regardless of aspirations, can benefit from the discipline of classical ballet and the skills and life-knowledge that is gained from the study of ballet. “My goal,” she says, is to impart the very best training to all of my students in a systematic way.”
Joining Ms. Vassileni as Ballet Master will be Mr. Chien-Ming Lin. Mr. Lin has an M.A. in Teaching Dance with a concentration in ABT Pedagogy from NYU Steinhardt. He is also certified in all levels of the ABT National Training Curriculum. From August 2010 through August 2017, Mr. Lin was Ballet Master and Program Director at a studio in Iowa. For the past year, Mr. Lin has been teaching at several schools in the New York area. Mr. Lin, who began his dance training in both ballet and traditional dance in Taipei, Taiwan, is also an accomplished traditional Chinese dancer and was selected for best technique award at the 2000 National Chinese Dance Competition in Taiwan.
Mr. Lin shares Ms. Vassileni’s belief that every student can benefit from the discipline of classical ballet and the skills and life-knowledge that is gained from the study of ballet. Mr. Lin’s teaching vision “is to cultivate dancers who are well-rounded artists, appreciating the work ethic, beauty, and rich history behind various dance forms and cultures.”