International Dancers Teach Art Of Ballet

Megan Van Dyke is new to South Mississippi, but not to the arts. She is thrilled to be learning ballet from the masters.

"People come from all over the world from New York, from Russia, from Europe, and we get to learn and it's neat because there's different parts of ballet, and so we learn each part, and for me, I get to learn Russian too," Van Dyke said.

Megan is one of many students taking part in the Russian ballet summer program, which is now more of an international program.

"I'm very particular about teachers. So I found various special teachers. One teacher is from Brazil, one teacher from Ukraine, and one teacher from Russia besides me. His name is Alexander Shapavolov," Biloxi City ballet director Val Salnikov said.

Salnikov believes ballet is one of the best forms of communication, which is why he brings in some of the world's top communicators.

But this one week program is more than just learning the various styles of ballet from different countries.

"They do learn what is character dance, what is choreography. As a ballet dancer, they're learning ballet dance from such good teachers, they are learning how to be a good teacher," Salnikov said.

And one of those students who may have that star ballerina quality is Rachel Ladner, who enjoying this workshop as much as she is learning.

"I get to meet like a lot of really great dancers and I got to learn a lot of stuff and questions that I've never realized before," Ladner said.

Obviously, a program that is designed to keep a dancer "on pointe".

The dancers will show off all they have learned from the pros this week in a small recital at the dance school on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m.

It is free and open to the public.