History of the School
Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy (DKCBA) was founded in 2006 by Dmitri and Jennifer Kulev, past principal dancers at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. DKCBA focuses on training dancers in the Russian Vaganova method. Under the direction of Dmitri and Jennifer’s focus to maintain the highest standards of Russian ballet, the dancers soon began to receive numerous awards in various national and international dance competitions.
Today the academy has grown to offer dance training from the pre-ballet to professional level in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, contemporary, character and lyrical. Also, home to the Orange County Ballet Theater (OCBT), students at DKCBA are given performance opportunities in and around Orange County.
DKCBA provides students with the highest quality instruction. This training is evident in the many awards the students of DKCBA continue to receive at various national and international dance competitions. Students from DKCBA have been accepted to prestigious ballet programs such as the Royal Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Washington Ballet, Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Kirov Academy in Washington D.C., American Ballet Theatre, Harid Conservatory, the Briansky School and the Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensive in New York.
Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, the official ballet school of Orange County Ballet Theatre, is committed to providing Orange County communities with quality dance instruction promoting the highest standards of Russian technique, integrity and professionalism. We strive to infuse our students with discipline, focus and a lifelong appreciation of the fine art of dance in a nurturing and confidence building atmosphere.
- Dance training from pre-ballet to pre-professional
- Classical ballet program with an emphasis on the Russian Vaganova method
- Home of the Orange County Ballet Theater
- Self-discipline and ability to focus on “learning and practice”
- Competitive dance teams in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary
Philosophy & Technique
The Vaganova technique is taught at all levels of the school. Through this classic Russian training, DKCBA focuses on proper placement and technique in an age-appropriate manner. In addition to emphasizing movement of arms, legs and torso together in perfect harmony, the Vaganova technique instills self-discipline and the ability to focus on “learning and practice” for all dancers.
DKCBA also offers classes in Character, Pas de Deux and Repertoire and believes it is important to expose students to a variety of dance vocabularies in order to prepare them for maximum opportunities for a professional dance career. Ballet training is supplemented with tap, jazz, lyrical and modern dance and master classes in all genres.
DKCBA students are evaluated on artistry, physicality, maturity and technical ability for acceptance into the school. Placement is determined by the Artistic Directors, and new students must schedule an audition for placement in a particular level or division.
The Vaganova method of classical ballet encourages dancing with the entire body. Dancers trained by the Vaganova method have high jumps and powerful turns, aided by the use of the arms. Many movements of the Vaganova technique require dancers to remain in the air for as long as possible to give them an illusion of floating through the air, which requires great flexibility and extension.
A strong torso is a necessity for the Vaganova method, as the torso forms the foundation of all movements. The Vaganova method is evident in the technique of Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. Baryshnikov is well-known for his extremely high, practically effortless leaps into the air.