RUBY student invited to competition finals
Radford University Ballet Youth (RUBY) had a student invited to the Youth America Grand Prix finals, a large international ballet competition.
RUBY was co-founded by College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) then Department of Dance Chair and current CVPA Dean Margaret Devaney and Associate Professor of Dance Inessa Plekhanova in 2006. It began as a way to properly train young dancers in Radford’s production of the “Nutcracker,” but it quickly evolved into a children’s program that includes creative movement, jazz, tap and advanced ballet. RUBY participants are given the opportunity to participate in Radford University Ballet Theatre productions, such as “The Nutcracker” and “An Evening of Ballet.”
The program received National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) accreditation in fall of 2015 along with the Department of Dance at Radford University. To prepare students for the rigor of competition, RUBY uses an international method to train students.
“The curriculum of the RUBY program is based on the syllabus of the world-renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia,” Plekhanova said. “This rigorous training is celebrated for producing dancers with the perfect combination of physical strength and grace.”
Audrey Bucy, age 12, represented RUBY in the Youth America Grand Prix this year. The talented and hard-working youth works with Department of Dance Professor Aleksey Plekhanov.
The Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals took place in Philadelphia on Jan. 13. This round of the competition had 150 students participate in each division and hosted more than 50 ballet schools from around the world. Bucy performed a classical ballet variation from “Raymonda” and a contemporary solo “Circus in the Dream,” an original composition created and choreographed by Department of Dance Assistant Professor Ji-Eun Lee.
Bucy was invited to the finals for the Youth America Grand Prix for her performance on “Circus in the Dream,” which takes place in New York City each April.
In order to be ready for the event, Bucy must often practice outside of her normal RUBY sessions.
“Besides her regular dance schedule of three sessions a week, Audrey had to meet with her coaches on a more frequent basis, often during school breaks and holidays, to prepare her competition program,” Plekhanova said.
RUBY – which goes into competition against larger programs at each event – isn’t a stranger to success at the international level. Lindy Mesmer was a gold medal winner of the 2014 Youth America Grand Prix international ballet competition and won the Grand Prix award – given to the top junior dancer – at the Youth America Grand Prix semi-final in Philadelphia in 2016.
The NASD-accredited curriculum features two principle faculty members Galina Vorotynova and Plekhanov – both graduates of Vaganova Ballet Academy – and four Radford University dance majors teach RUBY pre-ballet, tap, jazz and adult dance classes.