About Metropolitan Ballet Academy & Company
Metropolitan Ballet Academy’s unique emphasis on performing and involving students in the creative process throughout their training curriculum sets it apart from other programs and is producing remarkable results.
Metropolitan Ballet Academy (MBA), named by Pointe Magazine (October/November 2011) as “one of the seven studios nationally producing major talent which has translated into a career in dance,” is a classical ballet school founded in 1996 in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Founder and Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic danced for 10 years with the renowned Pennsylvania Ballet, where she later served as Ballet Mistress. Throughout her professional career of more than 38 years, Vidnovic performed many leading roles in the classical repertory and worked with some of the world’s pre-eminent choreographers. MBA students benefit from her wealth of teaching and performance experience, as well as the school’s access to choreographers, master teachers, costume and lighting specialists, and guest teachers from the international dance community.
Serving children ages 3-18 and many adult students, the MBA curriculum combines professional expertise with a genuine sensitivity to children and an appreciation of the special needs of the young dancer. Lessons in Classical Ballet technique are combined with exercises designed to foster musical awareness. Within a positive and encouraging atmosphere, children are taught to develop their unique artistic qualities.
Metropolitan offers all students high-quality, professional training with an outstanding faculty. Aspects of many schools (Vaganova, Bournonville, Balanchine) are incorporated into the more advanced lessons and supported by the teaching of actual repertoire. Serious students and advanced dancers are encouraged with additional opportunities, including work with nationally-recognized choreographers, performances with Metropolitan Ballet Company and other regional arts companies, participation in Youth America Grand Prix, and more.
In year-round classes, the studio’s summer intensive program, and annual master classes, MBA dancers are exposed to technique and teaching by some the dance world’s most illustrious artists, including Bolshoi artists Denis Gronostayskiy and Natalya Zeiger; New York City Ballet Principal Abi Stafford; world recognized Master Teacher Olga Kostritzky; San Francisco Ballet /Pennsylvania Ballet principals Julie Diana and Zachary Hench, former Pennsylvania Ballet principals Alexander Iziliaev and Riolama Lorenzo; American Ballet Theater/ Twyla Tharp’s John Selya; The Ailey School’s Carlos dos Santos; former San Francisco Ballet/ Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Andre Reyes, former principal of Ballet Hispanico, Pedro Ruiz; and Nacional Ballet de Cuba’s Maria Eugenia Lorenzo and Laura Alonso.
Since 2001, the nonprofit Metropolitan Ballet Company (MBC), comprised of MBA dancers, has earned significant recognition for its high-quality season of performances. MBC annually presents a Family Concert Series of five performances, Variations / Collaborations, a production with Settlement Music School, whose talented young musicians provide live accompaniment for selected dances, and our Spring Showcase. MBC dancers are also seen in the productions of Temple Opera Theater and community events such as the Norristown Arts Hill Festival. In 2010, MBC was recognized as a Regional Honor Company member of Regional Dance America, a national association of ballet companies, where it was consistently selected to perform for the RDA/Northeast Festival’s prestigious Saturday Gala evenings (2005-2011). In 2013 and again this season, MBC will appear as part of Wilmington Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, presented at the DuPont Theater in Wilmington, DE.
From 1999-2012, MBA was the principal interim school providing students for children’s and company roles in Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker. In 2010, 62 MBA students performed, featuring four Metropolitan Boys’ Scholarship students in the leading roles of the Little Prince and Fritz, and 50 girls, including one in the leading role of Marie and three in the company roles of Snow, Flowers, Marzipan, Tea and Hot Chocolate. In 2011, 61 MBA students performed, and Pennsylvania Ballet invited three students from our Boys’ Scholarship Program to tour with the Company for its December performances of The Nutcracker in Ottawa, Canada, where they performed the lead children’s roles of Prince and Fritz. In 2012, as Pennsylvania Ballet transitioned to having their own school, 43 MBA students were featured in Pennsylvania Ballet’s annual Nutcracker, including 9 boys from Metropolitan’s Boys’ Scholarship Program and 34 ladies. In addition, MBA students were chosen to perform in other Pennsylvania Ballet productions, including Peter Pan, The Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Fille Mal Gardeé, Cinderella, Carnival of the Animals and La Sylphide.
MBA students also excel at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest international student ballet scholarship competition. Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic received YAGP’s Outstanding Teacher Award in Philadelphia in 2011 and again in 2013. MBA was presented with the 2012 Outstanding School Award at the Regional Semi-Finals in Philadelphia for the exceptional performances of its pre-professional level students. Since 2002, MBA dancers have regularly captured First, Second and / or Third Place awards at the Regional Semi-Finals. 18 MBA students went on to compete in the YAGP New York City Finals last year (April 2014).
In just the past two years, 53 MBA dancers have been accepted for study at numerous professional programs including American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Ailey School, Juilliard School, Kirov Academy, Harid Conservatory, Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Additionally, MBA alumni have been accepted into company, apprentice, and trainee positions at Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Orlando Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Richmond Ballet, First State Ballet, State Street Ballet, Ballet Austin, Washington Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Minnesota Dance Theater.