Metropolitan Ballet Academy of Jenkintown, PA Named One of Top Seven National Studios by Pointe Magazine
October 4th, 2011 |
Training young dancers ages 3–18 in the Philadelphia region for 15 years, Metropolitan Ballet is recognized for producing major talent and launching careers in dance.
Metropolitan Ballet Academy (MBA) has been recognized by Pointe magazine as one of the top seven ballet studios in America producing major talent. In “The Hometown Advantage,” an article by Ashley Rivers appearing in the magazine’s October/November 2011 issue, MBA is noted for its high-caliber faculty, rigorous performing schedule, alumni, and acclaimed Boys’ Scholarship Program. Focusing on the world of ballet, Pointe is written for professional and aspiring dancers worldwide.
Founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic, MBA is a classical ballet studio in Jenkintown (Abington Township), Pennsylvania serving youth ages 3–18 and many adult students. Prior to founding MBA, Vidnovic danced for 10 years with the renowned Pennsylvania Ballet, where she later served as Ballet Mistress. Throughout her professional career of more than 30 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.
In year-round classes, the studio’s summer intensive program, and master classes, MBA dancers are exposed to technique and teaching by some the dance world’s most illustrious artists, including Pennsylvania Ballet’s Martha Chamberlain, William DeGregory, Jeffrey Gribler, Alexander Iziliaev, Riolama Lorenzo, and Arantxa Ochoa; The Ailey School’s Carlos dos Santos; Parsons Dance Company’s Steven Vaughn; American Ballet Theater/Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School Principal Franco De Vita, former principal of Ballet Hispanico; Pedro Ruiz; and Nacional Ballet de Cuba’s Maria Eugenia Lorenzo.
Since 2005, the nonprofit Metropolitan Ballet Company (MBC), comprised of MBA dancers, has earned significant recognition for its performances at the prestigious Regional Dance America Festival. MBA students also excel at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest international student ballet scholarship competition, where at the 2011 Regional Semi-Finals in Philadelphia, PA and Torrington, CT, MBA students captured the top honor of Senior Grand Prix, as well as Second and Third Place awards. 18 MBA students went on to perform in the YAGP Finals in New York City, where one dancer advanced to the prestigious final round, and the MBA Children’s Ensemble placed in the Top 12. Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic also received the 2011 Outstanding Teacher Award in Philadelphia.
For the past 12 years, MBA students have danced many roles in Pennsylvania Ballet’s performances of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.” Of the six schools whose students are invited to participate in this traditional, seasonal event, Metropolitan Ballet continues to provide the majority of young dancers, including boys from Metropolitan’s Boys’ Scholarship Program. Last year, 62 MBA students performed, featuring four boys 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 dancers are scheduled to perform, and Pennsylvania Ballet has invited three students from the Boys’ Scholarship Program to tour with the Company for its December performances of The Nutcracker in Ottawa, Canada, where the students will perform the lead children’s roles of Prince and Fritz.
MBA dancers are regularly accepted for study at numerous professional programs including American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Ailey School, Boston Ballet, Juilliard, Kirov Academy, Harid Conservatory, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Additionally, MBA alumnae have been accepted into company, apprentice, and trainee programs at Pennsylvania Ballet, Orlando Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, Richmond Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, First State Ballet and State Street Ballet. MBA graduates presently pursuing professional dance careers include:
- Phoebe Gavula (Glenside) joined Pennsylvania Ballet 2 in Spring 2011;
- Melissa Gelfin (Jenkintown) joined Florida’s Orlando Ballet, where she was promoted from the second company to a full company member;
- Sarah Mettin (Glenside) is performing with TAKE Dance Company in New York City and received the 2011 Northeast Regional Dance America festival’s Emerging Choreographer award;
- Andrea D’Annunzio (Conshohocken) joined the trainee program at American Repertory Ballet in Princeton, New Jersey;
- Molly Rooney (Dresher) joined the trainee program at First State Ballet in Delaware.