Local ballet company folds

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A professional ballet company that formed in the wake of Ballet Internationale's collapse has closed its own doors.

Indiana Ballet Co. and its affiliated Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana informed its supporters and students in a letter dated March 31 that the combined organization would fold immediately.

"It is with great regret and deep sorrow that due to the determination that our organization is no longer financially viable, the Board of Directors has elected to close the Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana and the Indiana Ballet Company, effective immediately," Board President Denise Holder said in the letter.

The letter was supplied to IBJ by a ballet company supporter. Holder could not reached for comment. The company directed questions to info@indianaballetcompany.com.

Ballet Internationale was the city's professional ballet company until it folded suddenly in late 2005 after 32 years.

Alyona Yakovleva, who had taught for the Clara R. Noyes Academy of Ballet Internationale, and her husband, Russ Smith, started the new company four years ago. Yakovleva was artistic director, and Smith was executive director. Last year, Smith left the ballet to work with a start-up organization.

Indiana Ballet Co. appears to have struggled to overcome financial liabilities dating to its founding. In her own letter to academy students, Yakovleva said, "the Board and I fully admit the seriousness of the mistakes we made in our founding years." She went on to add that she hopes to see a new organization started under new leadership.


  • Quality of Ballet
    yes it is sad that so many are quick to devour and grab this opportunity to promote their own agendas.....this is an example of how a city allows something good to go and settles for less. This is also an example of why Indy doesn't hold up to other cities when it comes to the arts.
  • Shame
    What a bunch of pirhanas!
    • No comparison
      There is nothing here in Indianapolis that compares to the Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana in terms of the quality of training. It is sad. What a loss. Too bad Indianapolis can't keep something like this going.
    • Professional ballet training
      There is a professional training option besides what RBAI used to offer, and what the re-formed entity may try to offer again. The Indianapolis School of Ballet (ISB) is providing training based on American Classical technique developed by George Balanchine. It is another philosophy of movement that stands next to Vaganova technique in the ballet world, and one that is highly valued by professional companies worldwide. A city the size of Indianapolis should be able to support dancers seeking a variety of training. There clearly is room for all philosophies and training techniques, and the market is bearing this out.

      Dancers trained at ISB are experiencing success placing into elite university-level dance programs, landing professional positions, and are dancing beyond their years in distinctively artistic, professional-quality productions. ISB is pointing toward a professional presence, but only in the most fiscally responsible manner and when the time is right. Come see for yourselves May 22-23 when "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is performed at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater. Tickets online at www.indyballet.org.
    • Hometown Ballet

      It looks like they are going to continue to be able to offer the pre-professional training under a viable and proven business model. Their first attempt was simply due out of necessity to help take care of those left after Ballet Internationale closed. It never had a solid chance of making it. This time it seems as if it's being run by a successful local businessman with Ms. Yakovleva holding the artistic reigns. It sounds great. What a blessing to the young dancers who aspire to be professionals. There is no other training in Indy that compares. One can't expect to have the technique of a pro if only taking lessons a 1-3 or 4 times a week! It's not just quantity either, it's quality...world class quality. I'm excited to see their opening ballet...they've not disappointed when I've seen previous ballets!

      Also, the company trained and hired Hoosier natives Tuesday Mayhew, Rachel Phipps, Abigail Matthews, Maryann Schaefer, and Iowa-transferred/Hoosier-trained Hailey Agran. How about supporting this fabulous company that is training and then hiring Hoosier dancers?! Something to get excited about is here!
      • Continue!
        When things seem to "go wrong", it may be a divine nudge to "change and continue"... There are still wonderful options in Indianapolis for ballet (gratefully). ISB downtown has a great program. Our family studies with TBC (The Ballet Theater of Carmel). We love the ABT cirricum, the Artistic Director and assistant are a joy to work with, and the classes seem to make my children choose moore. I hope you all find your next chapter and ...continue!!
      • Second to Amy
        Yes, sad that another arts organization needed to fold. I will second that Ballet Theater of Carmel can provide excellent classes. www.ballettheaterofcarmel.org
      • This is so sad...
        We are very sorry to hear of yet another art organization failing in these tough economic times. Especially after Ballet Intl went under several years past. This is especially traumatic for the dancers; there is such a terrible void to fill. Please come over and try some classes at Ballet Theatre of Carmel: www.BalletTheatreOfCarmel.org; you are most welcome!
      • Ballet still exists in Indianapolis
        It is a shame to see another arts organization suffer collapse in these tough times, but ballet still thrives in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis School of Ballet under the artistic direction of Victoria Lyras has beautiful studios in downtown Indianapolis with academic year and summer programming. Enrollment is ongoing and another round of Summer Intensive auditions will take place Sunday afternoon April 18. Students and guest artists perform two main stage productions each year. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be presented May 22-23 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Theater. More info at www.indyballet.org.
      • So Sorry to hear this!
        My daughter and I are very sad that this has happened. She had tremendous growth as a dancer through this company's summer intensives that inspired her to continue to study ballet. The instructors as well as the dancers at this studio opened their hearts and their home to my daughter for two summers straight. We will miss them!
      • What a shame
        My wife and I enjoyed their presentation of The Nutcracker 2 years go. The performance was very good and it wil be a shame to see another ballet company have to close down.

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