Dance student Alexandra (Sasha) Gutman has been working on “Le Corsaire,” a ballet about swashbuckling pirates, a freed slave girl and a shipwreck, for about three years.
Sometimes it takes that long to really grasp a work of dance or a role and make it your own, she said.
But on Sept. 28, Gutman and other dance students from the Akhmedova Ballet Academy (ABA) will present an excerpt from the ballet, composed by Adolphe Adams, as part of a 10-15-minute ballet/contemporary dance demonstration.
The demonstration, in turn, is part of a celebration of the academy’s move to a new, expanded location in downtown Silver Spring after several years on Colesville Road near Four Corners.
Aside from a variation from “Le Corsaire,” the demo also will include variations from “La Esmeralda” by Cesara Pugni and “La Fille Mal Gardee” by Peter Ludwig Hertel, as well as the Tarantella, a folk dance. Dancers from the Professional Training Program of the dance academy, of which Gutman is one, perform each dance segment during the performance.
“I will be in the Tarantula and playing the narrator from ‘Le Corsaire,’” she said of the demonstration.
The demonstration will be repeated three times during a three-hour grand opening marking the school’s formal relocation, said Jacqueline Akhmedova, founder and artistic director of the academy.
Also featured will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Chamber of Commerce, refreshments, a silent auction and a photo session with ABA dancers.
The new space, which sits above Whole Foods, is considerably larger than the old one; it includes two airy studios with professional Harlequin sprung floors. It also has the benefit of proximity to public transportation, such as the Metro, said Akhmedova.
Gutman, 18, said she was drawn to study at ABA by its reputation as a school of quality. It also aims to help secure a position in the dance world by placing its dancers into professional ballet companies. The academy also provides artistic mentoring, career guidance and preparation for dance competitions.
The academy aims to offer what Akhmedova considers “the finest quality ballet training,” utilizing the Vaganova Method. A ballet technique and training system devised by the Russian dancer and pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova (1879–1951), it emphasizes dancing with expression, yet without injuries. Such dancers used the method like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Maya Plisetskaya and other stars of Russian classical ballet.
Akhmedova graduated with honors from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the Ukrainian Academy of Dance in Kiev, after which she entered the world of European classical dance performance.
Gutman studied at the Bolshoi Ballet before coming to Akhmedova Ballet Academy, which offers classes to students from 8 and up. Professional Training Program students range in age from 14-19. Aside from her own intensive training, Gutman teaches a class of nine-year-olds.
“I love the teaching,” she said.
Gutman’s “unrealistic dream, in her words, is to dance professionally at the prestigious Bolshoi. However, she is not picky as Gutman said she would dance at any place for any company, including in Europe.
In addition to its annual performance of the complete “The Nutcracker,” Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite, at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, Akhmedova Ballet Company frequently performs in community settings. It is offering upcoming shows on Oct. 10 and Dec. 7 at the Schweinhaut Senior Center and an appearance in the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade on Nov. 23.
Tickets for the MCCAC production of “The Nutcracker” go on sale this month.
The grand opening takes place at Akhmedova Ballet Academy’s new headquarters, 8505 Fenton Street, Suite 206, Silver Spring. www.akhmedovaballet.org. 301-593-6262.