More than dance: Kansas Ballet Academy teaches hard work, perseverance

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — At the Kansas Ballet Academy, students learn graceful movements and techniques. But they’re also learning life lessons.

“It’s not instant gratification,” said Director Alexander Smirnov. “You know, it’s every day, day-to-day work.”

Originally from Russia, Smirnov has danced in countries all around the world and has decades of experience as a dancer, instructor and choreographer. Now, he’s using his experience to help young dancers in the community.

Like any skill, ballet takes dedication and practice.

“I don’t know how many hours, but I’m here every single day except Sunday,” said student Brylee Underwood.”

Like Brylee, students at the academy work hard to perfect their craft.

“The dancers coming in and work hard,” said Smirnov. “They’re perfecting one movement for many many hours.”

Whether it’s learning a new move or a whole routine, it doesn’t always come easy. But, with time and repetition, it eventually comes together.

“It just feels good to know that you completed what you’ve been working on,” said Underwood.

Brylee has big dreams but knows there’s a long road ahead.

“I want to be a professional when I get older and it’s going to be hard,” Underwood said.

While it may be challenging, Smirnov always reminds his dancers that if they stay the course, they can achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

“The main thing that we try to teach our dancers is never give up,” said Smirnov. “So, just because you don’t get it the first time, you know, you don’t have to give up and say ‘That’s it, I’m not good.’ By not giving up and being persistent, that’s the main thing in life that will help them to be better at anything.”

The Kansas Ballet Academy will be performing in one of its biggest productions of the year The Nutcracker, at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

The dancers will be performing on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 1:00 p.m.

To purchase tickets, click HERE.

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