Hi! I’m Amy Russell, the Owner and Artistic Director of Ballet Kalamazoo. I wanted to introduce myself and give you some background on myself and why I created Ballet Kalamazoo.
When I was 4 years old, I went to a ballet class with my friend. I saw a poster of a ballerina in a beautiful pink tutu tying her pointe shoe ribbons. I remember being instantly fascinated. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a ballerina and was willing to do anything to achieve that goal. My friend eventually quit ballet, but I continue to this day, now 35 years old.
Throughout my 30+ years’ experience, I have been blessed with many wonderful moments. I’ve had the opportunity to dance great roles like Odette, Giselle, Swanhilda and Kitri. I was blessed with amazing teachers as well as some who tested me in unexpected ways. I want to share my experience with others and build on all those wonderful moments - being the lead in Swan Lake, dancing in the Corps de Ballet with my best friends, along with challenging moments. Moments when my feet were so bruised and blistered I could barely put my pointe shoe on but did any way. As I learned from great prima ballerinas, a true artist works through pain because the show must go on.
I created Ballet Kalamazoo to teach and inspire young dancers. Through Ballet Kalamazoo, I have an incredible opportunity to mentor each dancer, improving self-esteem while building ability. Classical ballet training teaches strength, determination, commitment, goal-setting, discipline, teamwork, artistry, leadership, and responsibility. Classical ballet prepares dancers to overcome challenges through focus and dedication. I truly believe dance is beneficial to everyone. Whether the young dancer is destined to be a professional ballerina or a doctor; learning dance bestows tools to succeed in life.
I teach from my heart. I search for the individual gifts in my students and strive to bring out their best in all they do. My students drive my motivation and passion. Each day, I am excited thinking about new things I can teach them. Every day, I reflect on the happiness I feel teaching my students classical ballet and seeing them gain confidence and skill. It is truly my purpose in life.
Classical ballet has been around since the 15th century and has withstood the test of time. Ballet grows and changes to adapt with current trends, but ballet’s great traditions remain. I love and respect the enduring beauty of the dance form and am proud to be a part of classical ballet’s new generation.
I am so excited about Ballet Kalamazoo. It is new. It is small. It is personal. It will not be like the other dance schools you may know. It is just me, Amy Russell sharing with others my passion, knowledge and love for ballet as an art form.
I am committed to continuing education and am currently getting my next certification, Levels 4 & 5 with American Ballet Theatre National Teacher Training Curriculum. This past April, I traveled to Seattle and attended Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Teacher Training Intensive. It is such a gift to be able to learn from the best ballet companies in the world and bring back technique and knowledge to Kalamazoo.
I hope you will join me on this new adventure. I can promise you that you will always receive my 100% commitment, heart and passion. I also know that Ballet Kalamazoo won’t be for everyone and that is OK, too. If you are willing to be a part of a new, start-up dance company, I invite you to Ballet Kalamazoo.
At Ballet Kalamazoo, you will find a dance studio filled with kind, friendly, welcoming dancers and families. Together, we can pave a new way to learn dance in our community.
Welcome! We are Ballet Kalamazoo!
All the best,