Angels, jesters, candy canes, snowflakes, Chinese and Arabian dancers—see them all in Sea Cliff on December 14 at the Long Island Ballet Academy & Dance's annual Nutcracker. Directed by the school’s founder Irina Lebedeva, the one-hour ballet performance features dancers ages 3 to 18.
“The holiday season is a good excuse to take a child to a show and The Nutcracker is a beautiful one,” says Lebedeva. “The story centers around 9-year-old Clara who dreams about fun, excitement and friends. When her new wooden nutcracker doll comes alive, Clara’s dreams turn into an amazing journey.”
A Ballet Background
Born in Russia, Lebedeva started studying ballet at the age of 5. “Ballet school was a block from our house and I walked by myself to classes where I danced 3 to 5 days a week,” Lebedeva explains. When she was 9, she moved away from home to begin training professionally, at some of the country’s top schools. Lebedeva was a principal dancer at Ballet Festival Moscow.
Lebedeva defected to the United States in 1990 and has danced here ever since. She performed and taught with the Eglevsky Ballet and has led seminars and classes in 28 states.
In 2006, Lebedeva founded the Long Island Ballet Academy, which trains students in the Vaganova method of classical ballet. Ballet stars trained in this leading method include Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Lebedeva is also a ballet coach and choreographer at the Connecticut Ballet.
“Ballet is my life, love, everything,” says Lebedeva. “Classical ballet requires strength, elegance, high technique and a lot of hours and years to become a professional ballerina.”
To purchase Nutcracker tickets, at $10 each, and learn more about the school call 516-801-4393. Performances on December 14 are at 2pm and 5pm.--By Elizabeth Winchester
Irina Lebedeva as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Eglevsky Ballet's Nutcracker at the Tilles Center in 1994.
Students performing in the Long Island Ballet Academy & Dance's 2012 Nutcracker.