The program of master classes was really intensive and diverse. Especially we remembered our coaches, they were so kind and attentive to us. I’m so grateful for this opportunity to work with so different and amazing teachers!

Kristelle Teeväli, 16 years old, (Estonia)

Ballet lives deep inside my heart.

Liza Sorokina, 6 years old, (Russia)

I came from the USA where I have been dancing since the age of three. Now I’m so happy to take part in Dance Open master classes. For me it’s the best opportunity to charge myself with energy and inspiration!

Katelyn Yang, 15 years old, (USA)

The teachers of the course were excellent and experienced and most important, to the students was offered a sufficient amount of lessons and other activities during the day. Particularly satisfied the students and their teachers were about the opportunity to study character dance which in Finland is a rare treat due to the lack of competent teachers.

Leila Sillantaka, Principal of the Helsingin Tanssiopisto (Finland)

Our students came back in a cheerful mood. For many of them, the Festival has become one of the most important events in their lives.

Michael Wyly, Bossov Ballet School (USA)

I would like to thank everybody for a beautiful time at the festival! All my students who took part in the master classes thoroughly enjoyed them, and were impressively inspired by this work. The spirit and philosophy of the festival impress me very much!

Vera Altunina, International Ballet School (USA)

The trip to St Petersburg was really successful and interesting. The lessons were schooling and the teachers were very good and experienced. All the occasions and program as well as the transports were well organized.The galas were fine, it was nice be able to see skillful dancers. Sometimes it felt that there was too much program and one had to be in a hurry all the time. But better to have a lot of program than no program. As a whole the event was a fine and inspiring experience, hopefully my class is able to participate also next year.

Tiia Tikkala (Finland)

Time passed very quickly. I have spent the most valuable time in my life. The trip did not fail at my expectations. Five times of the master classes were amazing; I gained lots of detailed ballet especially about port de bras. I felt very honored to learn from all the famous teachers. Through Arthur Mitchell, one of the ballet instructors, we all learned how to do combinations of barre on the floor with a thera band. It was very helpful, and I believe if I keep working I will be able to become much better at the ballet. The streets, Downtown, the buildings are all old and historically interesting. They make me feel that I flew to the century of Renaissance. Hotel “Ambassador” was very clean, bright and gave awesome service: Especially, the food – it was fantastic. I enjoyed so much. I was really impressed by the participants of The Gala Concert. The concert opened from the huge and magnificent theatre. All participants were excellent with nothing to say. They gave me too much joy and pleasure. After the Gala Concert which was the last but not the least event, I felt I want to stay more, but as we planned we came back to Canada. This trip is the one that I cannot forget forever, they gave me greatest experience for my future and present. A very appreciate to Ms. Victoria and Mr. Vladimir who provided me this opportunity and took care of us during this wonderful trip.

Jennifer (Canada)

Due to right and detailed organization of the festival we got a lot of attention and love. Thank you.

Alida Pellegrini (Italy)

Seems that my life has come back to normal, but I will never be able to forget that experience that I had at the festival… I cannot describe what I felt in Saint-Petersburg… I cannot find the right words…It seems improbable that I have been there and performed at one of the most famous theaters of the city with such talented dancers. The organization of the festival was excellent to every detail. The organizers (especially, Olga) were ready to any possible change and addition in the participants’ program…it does not happen very often to feel such kind attention and ability to discuss and change.

The performances that we visited were great, and the classes by the maestro Gennady Selyutsky were simply unforgettable! I am incredibly happy that I had these thrilling moments in my life, and once again would like to thank everybody for the work they did.

Eliana Cerasaro (Italy)

Before my departure to the Dance Open I was often asked two questions: “Are 5 days enough to visit such a big city?” What benefit will this short stay bring”?

NO, 5 days are not enough for Saint-Petersburg, and I will come back there for sure to see and learn more!

YES, I learned a lot during my stay. The key word that pops up in my mind is INSPIRATION. Everybody who seriously takes ballet classes knows that a wonder won’t happen in a week. Of course, it is not possible that you come to Saint-Petersburg as a beginner and come back to your country as a professional dancer. But every ballet artist needs to be inspired, and this program will wrap you with this feeling! Staying in Saint-Petersburg where Petipa, Tchaikovsky, Fokin, Stravinsky and many other people who represent the ballet art of 19th and 20th centuries worked will undoubtedly becomes unforgettable for you. A couple of years ago this program would have been possibly realized with numerous problems and difficulties, but now you are getting it all perfectly arranged.

The organizers of the Festival let us have unforgettable impressions while visiting the sights of the city. There are no enough words to describe the beauty of the Hermitage and the sunset above the frozen Neva. So, don’t miss it!

Benjamin Zilaga (Switzerland)

The Dance Open Ballet Festival gave me that rare possibility to feel myself as a small part, a drop in that enormous ocean called DANCE; meet new friends from other parts of the planet who loves the same that I do; get inspired from working at everyday ballet classes and seeing performances at Saint-Petersburg Theaters, feel happiness and freedom while communicating through international ballet language.

Maria Kulikova (Estonia)

Thank you for an amazing experience. My daughter Natalia was so happy and excited. I know she’ll bring home great memories and experiences of all aspects that will nurture her not just in ballet/dance but in cultural aspects as well. The caring and attentions of all Dance Open members was beyond words. Special thanks and appreciation to Natalie, Alexandra and Alicia whom were taking care of us all the time, and assuring we had all we need it. It was a beautiful experience in all aspects. I hope we can participate again in the near future.

Luciana (Panama)

I am impressed by the excellent organization of the Festival. My students do not have illusions on who will become a professional dancer and who will not – they have come here to broaden their horizons and take part in the master classes with interest and joy. They have truly enjoyed the Gala. Thank you once again for the organization of this unique Festival! I hope I will come back to the Dance Open very soon.

Alan Foley, Cork City Ballet School (Ireland)

The trip was very pleasing! The lessons were great and this year we already were capable to choose suitable teachers. The level of the dancers was lower this year but it did not bother us. The trips from the hotel to the studio and from the studio to the restaurant were well organized. The only bothering thing was the temperature of the studios. It was almost +20 C outside and the elements underneath the bars were boiling hot. All in all there was a very good atmosphere during the trip.

Anna Westerholm (Finland)

I would like to thank everybody (especially, project coordinator –Olga Belenkis) for hospitality and excellent organization of the festival. My daughter Maria Vittoria and I spent a wonderful time and had an unforgettable experience, because the festival gave us a possibility to be taught by the outstanding teacher Lyubov Kunakova, and attend the class of admirable Alla Osipenko. My daughter did not want to come back home to Italy!

Carola Teti (Italy)

I really enjoyed the trip. We had Ballet Classes every day and we had performance. I loved Ballet classes in St. Petersburg. Everyday different teachers taught us. Students were beautiful dancers. I was happy to join them. I was excited before class every time. I did not want to come back to Canada actually because I loved those classes so much. Other day we went to sightseeing and watching Ballet. There were a lot of beautiful buildings. Ballet concert was amazing. I saw many beautiful ballerinas. We could watch concert two days. I was so happy. I had good experience in St. Petersburg.

Akane (Canada)

The trip was really successful and rewarding! We got again many new experiences and were able to go and see three nights of ballet and visit the famous Mariinski Theatre- that was magnificent! The lessons were challenging, but in a good way, we were able to follow. It was nice that we Finns had our own character lessons organized. The week went by really quickly and I would not have wanted to return to cold Finland.

Ruusa Vuori (Finland)

Based on the reviews of all the parents, for my daughter Ann Dirham and other children the festival became a life-time experience. They did not have any problem or complain within the festival. Thank you for this surprising hospitality. I would love to share my experience with other groups who are planning their visit for April. And Iam thankful that every visa has an expiry date, otherwise my daughter would not want to come back home!

Helen Dirham (USA)

It has been an incredible pleasure to have an opportunity to bring 6 students of mine from the Northwest Ballet Theatre to Saint- Petersburg to take part in your program. They got so much at this festival, and I was tremendously moved by the work of the coaches that gave master classes. I also how warmly we were treated... Thank you for awarding me for choreographic achievements, I did not expect that, and it inspired my students a lot. I am going to bring more students to the festival in the future. Thank you again!

John Bishop, Artistic Director of the Northwest Ballet Theatre (USA)

It was my first trip to St. Petersburg. Master classes were with famous ballet teachers. Students were long legs and very skinny and beautiful faces. First time I was very nervous. However, students and teachers were kind to me. I had pleasant and enjoyable lessons. On April 14 there was a performance. I danced Kittori Variation. The audience finished every variation with a great cheer aroused. I was happy to perform. Other performances were so amazing. I was so impressed.

St. Petersburg has many beautiful buildings and pretty shops. I spent great time!!!! I love St. Petersburg.

Konatsu (Canada)

I am very glad that I participated at the Master classes of the Dance Open Festival in April 18-24.2003. Our stay in Saint-Petersburg was unforgettable due to the beauty of the city and excellent organization of the festival. I will recommend the festival to my friends and students. I hope to see you again,

Alice Cooper (Canada)

This course is already famous of its excellent lessons, given by masters of Russian ballet tradition. It is very much valued by our students and also their teachers here. Also the performances in Mikkeli and the Gala performance in Savonlinna and meeting other dancers gives the possibility to exchange valuable knowledge of the ballet tradition.

Sanna Leino, Vice Principal of the Espoon Tanssiopisto (Finland)

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