GBA’s Spring 2017 Fruit Fundraiser


Please consider buying healthy and delicious oranges and grapefruits from a top quality grower in Florida while supporting the GBA mission to be the best classical ballet training program in the area.

Thank you for supporting our school.

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First Snow 2016 GBA Annual Gala Fundraiser – Tickets Now Available


Tickets Now Available – Please call the GBA Office at 914-305-4377.

The Board of Directors of the Greenwich Ballet Academy
Cordially invite you to

First Snow 2016 is an Elegant Celebration of Our Russian Heritage
In support of our
 Nutcracker Ballet 2016 Production

With honored guests

Irina Dvorovenko & Maxim Beloserkovsky


Saturday, November 5th
7:00pm to 10:00pm


At the home of Your Hostess

Regina Kudoyarova


R.S.V.P. by October 15th. Cocktail attire


First Snow is our annual gala fundraiser to support the Nutcracker production. The event is an elegant cocktail party with delicious Russian food, “Nutcracker sweets,” and every year a highlight of Russian culture. Supporters of this event will also receive premium Nutcracker tickets before they are released to the public. Please RSVP today by calling the GBA office at 914-305-4377, to guarantee the best seats. We look forward to seeing you there!



GBA Nutcracker Ballet 2016 Performance Tickets – On Sale NOW!


Tickets for the GBA Nutcracker 2016 Ballet Performance are now available!


The Greenwich Ballet Academy

The Nutcracker

at White Plains Performing Arts Center

Yuri Vodolaga
Artistic Director

Saturday, December 3, 2016 ~ 2PM Matinee
Saturday, December 3, 2016 ~ 7PM Evening
Sunday, December 4, 2016 ~ 2PM Matinee

$100 | $75 | $50 | $30

All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.





“Tutu Chic” Benefit for GBA On November 18, 2016 – Tickets Now Available

Tutu Chic!

An Evening of ballet, fashion & shopping
To benefit Greenwich Ballet Academy
Friday, November 18 7:30 pm

Tickets $75

TutuChic GBA Benefit

Greenwich Ballet Academy Director Offers “My heart and my soul”

Photo: Bob Luckey Jr. / Hearst Connecticut Media

Photo: Bob Luckey Jr. / Hearst Connecticut Media

Yuri Vodolaga, the artistic director at the Greenwich Ballet Academy, born in Kiev and trained there and in Russia, is not one to coddle the rising dancers who are in his charge.

“First of all, it is discipline,” he said when asked about what makes ballet such an irresistible lifelong challenge.

At 56 years old, Vodolaga brims with energy during a conversation, checking frequent texts from his students updating him on their acceptances to colleges. He is reluctant to talk about himself, but when asked, he discusses his contribution to the academy and his recently won honor, the “Outstanding Teacher” award from the Boston regional competition of the Youth American Grand Prix.

“They know my professionalism,” he said. “It’s honest work — my heart and my soul — that I am giving to them.”

Leaders of the academy, which is actually based in Port Chester, but also holds classes at the Greenwich Arts Center, say the students appreciate Vodolaga’s strict ethic, delivered with a sense of humor.

“Children have a radar for honesty and they respond very well to it,” said Marisol Rivera Thurman, board chairman of the academy, and the mother of one of its recent graduates. “We’re in a society where they’re used to being ‘great’ and ‘fantastic’ at everything and getting a trophy just for standing on a stage. That doesn’t happen at G.B.A. They know they have earned it through their own hard work whatever praise comes their way.”

Photo: Bob Luckey Jr. / Hearst Connecticut Media

Photo: Bob Luckey Jr. / Hearst Connecticut Media

In his earlier years, Vodolaga graduated from the Kiev State Ballet Academy and joined the Kiev State Ballet Theater. He later received his master’s degree in teaching from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. In 1993, after touring the United States, he chose to stay.
He had, he said, “no money, no food. We came, and I decided I have nothing to lose.”

In the United States, he amassed an extensive string of teaching experience, and has been a guest teacher at the San Francisco Ballet, Baton Rouge Ballet, Connecticut Ballet among others, according to the school.

He took over as artistic director of the Greenwich Ballet Academy in 2006, but still is in demand elsewhere, Rivera Thurman said. In 2014, when renowned ballerina Natalia Osipova was rehearsing to dance in “Don Quixote” at the Royal Ballet in London, she had Vodolaga flown to London to help her train.

“I think there are only a handful of people in the world who are like Yuri who have his training and his experience,” said Christina Volkwein, a board member of the school. The combination of the world-class training, the dance and teaching experience made him an ideal fit for the academy that seeks to offer students top training without making almost daily trips to New York City.

The training is aimed at launching the dancers on to professional careers — or at least achieving that level of accomplishment, even if they choose other vocations. Rivera Thurman’s daughter Olivia recently graduated as a co-salutatorian at the Convent of the Sacred Heart school in Greenwich and will go to Harvard University in the fall, Rivera Thurman said.

The board president said her daughter wrote the essays for her college applications about Vodolaga, and that training at the dance school six days a week taught her how much she could accomplish.
“That’s where she learned the most important lessons about perseverance and about excellence,” she said.

When Vodolaga received the “Outstanding Teacher” award in Boston, it was one of several accomplishments that the school boasted. Three students from the academy emerged to go on to the Youth American Grand Prix finals in New York City, where they competed against students from schools from Japan to Brazil.

Explaining the success, Vodolaga said, “They like our clean academic style.”
He was happy to receive the award, he said, but when asked about it, he again turned the talk to his students.

“My pleasure is to teach and see how they rise,” he said.

GBA board members boast that Vodolaga not only teaches, he choreographs. In order to obtain his degree at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, he had to learn to stage the classic ballets — Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Bayadare and others, they said.

“One of his strengths is putting the performances together and getting them to be (danced) exquisitely,” Rivera Thurman said. “It’s just remarkable how clean and precise the performances are.”

Read the entire article at

GBA Receives Top Honors at YAGP

Aidan Buss

Aidan Buss

Sterling Performances from Aidan Buss and Lee Melton at Youth America Grand Prix Boston Regionals Result in Top Awards, with Three Dancers Invited to NYC Finals

Students from the Greenwich Ballet Academy (GBA) showed professionalism, talent, style and grace as they took top honors at the Boston Youth America Grand Prix. Out of more than 100 highly accomplished dancers from across the country competing in each category, students and faculty from GBA took awards in four categories.

Lee Melton

Lee Melton

Aidan Buss, age 13 and from Old Greenwich, won first place in the Junior Classical Dance Category for Men and Women. GBA’s Lee Melton, age 14 from Darien, placed in the Top 12 in the Junior Classical Dance Category. Aidan also placed Top 12 in the Contemporary Dance Category.

GBA’s Artistic Director Yuri Vodolaga was recognized in Boston as well, taking home the award for Outstanding Teacher. Mr. Vodolaga graduated from the State Ballet Academy in Ukraine and received his Masters in teaching at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, and he was a member of the Kiev State Ballet Theatre. “It is a great honor for me to receive this acknowledgement,” said Mr. Vodolaga. “It is my great pleasure to be able to offer instruction and guidance to these highly talented dancers, and I know they will go on to achieve great success in the future.”

Aidan, Lee as well as 12 year-old Ruth Schultz of Ossining, NY have received the highly coveted invitation to go to New York City for the YAGP Finals competition, to be held April 22 through 29. “I am so excited at the prospect of being able to dance at the YAGP Finals in New York,” said Aidan. “It is a great opportunity to meet some of the world’s best dancers as well as leaders from some of the world’s greatest ballet schools. I am thrilled and honored to be given this chance to represent Greenwich Ballet Academy.”

“It was such a valuable experience for me to be able to dance at the John Hancock Hall in Boston,” said Lee. “Everyone there was so talented, and it was an inspiration to be a part of it.”

The much anticipated New York event will host top ballet students from around the world. Contestants in the Finals are seen by directors and representatives of some of the world’s leading dance companies, and over 250 YAGP alumni have joined over 50 dance companies around the world. At the New York competition, grand prize winners will receive scholarships and valuable contracts to some of the most prestigious dance companies in the world.

“We’re proud of Aidan, Lee, and Ruth’s accomplishments, and are excited to see them represent the Greenwich community, Westchester and Fairfield counties,” said Marisol Thurman, Chairman of the Board of GBA. “Students throughout the area are fortunate to have access to world-class ballet training, and the fact that our students can compete at an international level is an incredible accomplishment for our dancers as well as our renowned faculty.”

Youth America Grand Prix holds competitions in 17 U.S. cities and six international locations, with each season culminating in the week-long Finals in New York City, where more than 1,200 of the world’s best dancers compete for top honors.

GBA Offers Ballet Open Auditions and YAGP Showcase

Yuri Vodolaga, Artistic Director. GBA Summer Intensive participants receive the personalized instruction of ballet master instructors

Yuri Vodolaga, Artistic Director. GBA Summer Intensive participants receive the personalized instruction of ballet master instructors

The Greenwich Ballet Academy (GBA) Summer Intensive programs invites students ages 8-17 who are interested in strengthening ballet technique with pre-professional classical ballet training, to audition for the Greenwich Ballet Academy (GBA) Summer Intensive programs at their upcoming Open Auditions.

The auditions begin at 1 p.m. March 12th at the GBA studios at 181 Westchester Ave. in Port Chester, New York. Also at noon on March 12, ahead of auditions and open to current students and summer Intensive audition guests, GBA will offer an informal showcase of competition dances performed by current GBA students in preparation for the upcoming prestigious Youth American Grand Prix. Included will be Aidan Buss, Lee Melton, Emma Kelly and Ruth Schulz who earned spots in the top ten at the recent Connecticut Classic ballet competition.

The showcase will highlight the exceptional work of GBA’s award-winning faculty – Mr. Yuri Vodolaga, Ms. Oksana Konobeyeva, Ms. Olga Gershanok and Ms. Nadia Zhivotenko who will teach the summer Intensives. GBA is the premiere ballet academy in Westchester and Fairfield county and the crown jewels of its program are GBA’s highly trained and dedicated faculty – who have had successful careers in classical ballet at the highest levels, including the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.

Lee Melton, 5th place in Connecticut Classic, will be featured at the YAGP showcase

Lee Melton, 5th place in Connecticut Classic, will be featured at the YAGP showcase

“We’re fortunate to have exceptional professionals on the GBA faculty,” said Marisol Rivera Thurman, Board Chairman at GBA. “They have the appreciative eye and the technical know-how to move dancers along the continuum of skills required to become true ballet artists. GBA students go on to professional careers in dance or to dance programs at the best universities in the country.”

GBA’s Summer Intensive program includes training in pre-pointe, pointe, technique, repertory, character, modern and Pilates. The three-week session culminates in an impressive in-studio ballet performance where the dancers will showcase their progress for parents and guests.

“I was so impressed with our daughter’s progress after last year’s GBA Summer Intensive,” said Alessandra Messineo Long of Riverside, CT. “When I saw her dance in the performance after the three-week program, she looked like she had gained six months’ worth of dance instruction and progress. More importantly, her love of classical ballet was more on fire than ever. The group of girls and boys attracted to GBAs programs are incredibly hard-working and the culture really promotes that work and a lovely camaraderie as well.”

For Summer Intensive audition reservations and additional information, contact GBA at (914) 305-4377 or e-mail