International Ballet is hosting a ribbon cutting event on Friday, October 25 at 3:45 pm at 2172 River Road in Greer. The ribbon cutting celebrates the unveiling of International Ballet’s brand new 10,000 square foot training and rehearsal space, the Somerville Center. The building boasts the Somerville name in honor of International Ballet’s biggest supporters, Graham and Greta Somerville. Inside the Somerville Center is the 2,300 square foot Halsey Studio, named for Jack and Sandy Halsey, another significant donor family to the non-profit.

Attending the event will be Greer Mayor Rick Danner along with Graham and Greta Somerville, International Ballet President and Founder Lena Forster, Executive Director Sarah Shoemaker, Artistic Director Vlada Kysselvoa, along with International Ballet dancers, students, friends and family members. The ribbon cutting is free and will be followed by a short open house where the public is welcome to come tour the new facility.

About International Ballet

Classical ballet’s roots are in 15th century Europe, when it was a popular art form for royalty. As the art spread throughout the world, it found a stronghold in Russia where strict discipline and dedicated training have produced many of the beloved classics such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Since its founding in 2003, International Ballet has sought to preserve the beauty of these classics and strives to replicate them and represent the original, bringing classical ballet to a modern world.

President and Founder Lena Forster started International Ballet in 2003 with her husband Jurgen Forster and Ukrainian dancers Hennadii Bespechnyi and Vlada Kysselova. Forster received her training at the prestigious School of American Ballet, official school of New York City Ballet under George Balanchine and was selected to join the inaugural class of dancers at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Bespechnyi studied under Juris Kapralis (an instructor of Mikhail Baryshnikov) at the Riga State College of Choreography, Latvia, and Kysselova received her training at the Kiev State College of Choreography, Ukraine – both having received Master’s degrees from the Ukrainian Academy of Dance, International Slavic University, as well as performing and touring extensively with companies such as the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Ukraine) and Ballet Classique de Paris (France).

With this introductory talent and continued adherence to traditional roots, International Ballet is now known in the Upstate for performing many of the classics, bringing productions such as The Nutcracker, Giselle, Coppelia, and Don Quixote to the Greenville, South Carolina community as a Peace Center Resident Company.  Now led by Executive Director Sarah Shoemaker and Artistic Director Vlada Kysselova, International Ballet is also active in the community, performing annually at events like Artisphere, as a guest company with The Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and in local schools and communities. International Ballet maintains several outreach programs including its Special Needs and Scholarship programs, and Storytime Ballet with the Greenville County Library. In July 2018 the non-profit entity International Ballet acquired the affiliated school, International Ballet Academy, from Forster. International Ballet is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

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International Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following partners:

South Carolina Arts Commission

Greenville Metro Arts Council

Greta & Graham Somerville

Halsey Family Foundation

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