History of Virginia Ballet Company and School
Virginia Ballet Company and School is dedicated to the Russian tradition of ballet that originated with the Imperial Ballet School of St. Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great in 1738. Today the Russian method is best known as the Vaganova method, named after one of Russia’s great 20th Century ballerinas and teachers. The Vaganova method is known for producing technically powerful dancers with incredible strength, flexibility, and stamina, all focused on artistic expression. This training has produced some of the most famous dancers in history: Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova. Virginia Ballet Company and School’s founding directors Oleg Tupine and Tatiana Rousseau both received their early training from the Paris schools of Princess Egorova Troubetskoy and of Olga Preobrajenska, who were trained at the Imperial Ballet School with Vaganova. Virginia Ballet Company and School is committed to continuing its students’ education in classical Russian ballet technique and contemporary trends and providing performances held throughout the community.
More than sixty-four years ago the nucleus of the Virginia Ballet Company and School was established to provide classical dance education of the highest quality and to stage performances of exceptional artistic merit in the Washington Metropolitan area. In 1965, a group of seven interested individuals, joining with the talents of Tania Rousseau and Oleg Tupine as Artistic Directors, formed a Board of Directors that incorporated Virginia Ballet Company and School as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Board of Directors accepted the responsibility of managing the operation of the company and school and, with other volunteer members, formed a nucleus to assist the Artistic Directors.
Originally, Virginia Ballet was located near the center of Annandale, Virginia, attracting students from a wide cross-section of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. The school grew rapidly and, moved to a larger facility in Springfield, Virginia, where it continued to grow for 30 years. In October 2000 Virginia Ballet moved to its present location, a new state-of–the-art facility in Fairfax, Virginia, near Burke Centre. The facility was designed with three large studios to provide classrooms, rehearsal space, and accommodation for future growth.
Virginia Ballet is unique in its thoroughly traditional productions of classical ballet for student performance and offers its students the rare opportunity to dance major roles in full-length classical ballets. This has been made possible by Ms. Rousseau’s extraordinary talent for adapting original choreography. When Tania Rousseau came to Northern Virginia in 1948, the region was just beginning its extraordinary growth. Virginia Ballet was a catalyst in this cultural expansion and has grown with and contributed to the incomparably rich artistic heritage that now exists.