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Faculty Biographies

Vlada K
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Vlada Kysselova

Ballet 3B, 4A, 4B, 5, Pointe 5, Variations 4B, 5

Vlada Kysselova, also the Artistic Director of International Ballet’s pre-professional company, is originally from Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated from the Kiev State College of Choreography and holds a bachelor’s degree from Kiev National Linguistics University and a master’s degree with honors in Dance Pedagogy and Choreography from the Ukrainian Academy of Dance at International Slavic University. She danced and toured as a soloist with the National Theater of Opera and Ballet in Kiev, Ukraine, and as a principal dancer with Kiev Theatre of Classical Ballet and Ballet Classique de Paris in France before immigrating to the United States in 2001.

Since May 2004, Vlada has choreographed and staged full-length productions for International Ballet such as Francesca da Rimini, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Lady and the Hooligan, Giselle, La Sylphide, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Paquita, and numerous short works including original choreography for the South CarolinaRegional Ballet festival, as well as numerous collaborative works with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. A founding instructor for International Ballet Academy since its inception in 2003, she has coached and traveled with students for such prestigious ballet competitions as Youth America Grand Prix (Regional and NYC Finals), Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition (Kiev, Ukraine), and the USA International Ballet Competition (Jackson, MS), and her students have received multiple top placements, including “Regional Grand Prix,” in YAGP regional as well as NYC final competitions, and Most Outstanding School in 2008.

Victoria Y

Victoria Yanchuk

Ballet 3B, 4, 5, Pointe 4, 5, Variations 3B

Ms. Yanchuck graduated from Kiev Ballet Academy, Ukraine. In her career as a dancer she has performed a large repertoire of roles both nationally and internationally. She has worked with Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theater of Ukraine, Vadim Pisarev Russian Ballet and the Russian Ballet Company of Delaware. Ms. Yanchuck has also toured with the Soviet ballet troupe, “Stars of Russian Ballet” and has performed at the Nervi International Ballet Stars Festival in Genoa, Italy.

Ms. Yanchuck began teaching ballet in 1996 when she joined Nevada Festival Ballet Company of Reno. In 2011, she joined Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC as a Summer Preparatory Program Instructor, where she taught Historical Dance and Preparatory Ballet.  Ms. Yanchuk still regularly teaches audition classes as well as summer program courses for the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC. Ms. Yanchuck completed the professional program “Method of Classical Dance Teaching” at the Vagonova Ballet Academy in Russia in March 2018.

Irina U

Irina Ushakova

Ballet 5,Variations 4A

Irina Ushakova received her training from the Perm State Ballet School and was a principal dancer for 19 years for major ballet companies both in Russia and in the United States. Ms. Ushakova is a Bronze and Silver Medal winner in two international ballet competitions. Her repertory includes many classical ballet roles, Balanchine choreography, contemporary works, and modern performances.

In 1989, she toured the United States with the Donetsk Ballet, followed by a tour of Israel and Turkey with the Bolshoi Ballet.  Since 2002, Ms.Ushakova has been a faculty member of the Dance department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, South Carolina, where she is known for her staging of many character and classical ballet works. In 2007, she graduated from Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University (Russia) with a Master’s Degree in Dance and Education.

Liz Blackwood

Liz Blackwood

Ballet 1, 2B, 3A, SPG, Adult Ballet, Adult Program Director 

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Liz Blackwood studied with Josée Beauséjour in Montreal, Canada where she successfully passed dancer and teacher exams with the Cecchetti Society of Canada. While in Montréal, she also worked with Odette Lalonde, Suzanne Plante, Victoria Yakobov, and other renowned teachers. She has attended workshops at Canada’s National Ballet School, l’École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Richmond Ballet, and other locations. She’s worked with numerous schools and choreographed dances for productions including The Wizard of Oz and La Boutique Fantasque.

Ms. Blackwood most recently taught for Ballet Spartanburg before returning to International Ballet Academy in 2015, where she teaches many intermediate level classes, including pre-pointe training, beginning pointe, as well as Open Adult classes and IB Summer Camps.

© Jerry Finley Photography

Josha W

Josha Williams

Mommy & Me, Pre-Ballet, Ballet 1, 2A, Adult Ballet,
Trainee Program Director

Josha Williams has been a dance educator in the Greenville community for the past 15 years. After completing her formal dance training at North Carolina School of the Arts, she returned to her hometown to begin her professional dancing career with Carolina Ballet Theatre in 2004 and teaching for Barbara Selvy’s School of Carolina Ballet Theatre. She continued training under the direction of Hernan Justo and the mentorship of Anita Pacylowski Justo, while dancing and teaching. One of the highlights of her career was having the opportunity to work with Alonzo King and to perform his originally choreographed piece, “MAP.”

Josha served as one of Carolina Ballet Theatre’s lead teachers for the outreach programs as well as an independent teaching artist in Greenville County Schools for over seven years. She has taught many levels but is best known for her love of teaching tiny ballerinas and specialized adult ballet/strengthening classes. Josha’s passion for exercise, fitness, and overall wellness is now stronger than ever. She currently works as an instructor for Greenville’s Pure Barre and has been since it’s opening in 2012. Josha is thrilled to start this coming year at International Ballet Academy teaching young ballerinas.

Lydia Sanders

Lydia Sanders

Ballet 2A, 2B, 3A

Lydia Sanders was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She began her serious ballet training at the USC Dance Conservatory, under the guidance of Susan Anderson and Stacey Calvert. She continued formally training at Southeastern School of Ballet, studying under Hillary Krieger-Toth and Gabor Toth and at International Ballet Academy under Vlada Kysselova, Irina Ushakova, and Victoria Yanchuck. Lydia has attended summer programs with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Charlotte Ballet. Lydia graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2018 with a BA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a Psychology minor. In the USC Dance Company, she performed in several works by George Balanchine, including the principal role in Walpurgisnachtand soloist roles in Raymonda, Who Cares, andStars and Stripes. Lydia also danced the title role as the Firebird in Susan Anderson’s production of The Firebird.Post-graduation she joined Virginia National Ballet, where she danced a variety of soloist roles in choreography by artistic director Rafik Hegab. Lydia will be joining Ballet Spartanburg for the 2019-2020 season.

In addition to dancing herself, Lydia has a passion for teaching and is thrilled to be joining IBA’s faculty this year. She has been cultivating her love of teaching since she was 14 and has not stopped since, working as a teacher for Aletheia Dance Inc., Southeastern School of Ballet, USC Dance Conservatory, and Virginia National Ballet School. Lydia has experience working with students from the age of 2-20 and is excited to share her knowledge in an environment that shaped her into the person she is at International Ballet Academy.

Lauren R
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Lauren Russ

Pre-Ballet A, B, Ballet 1

Lauren Russ received her training at International Ballet under Vlada Kysselova, Victoria Yanchuck, and Irina Ushakova. She danced five seasons with the IB company. She has performed in The Nutcracker as Spanish, Snow, and Waltz of the Flowers, in the Waltz of the Hours and Czardas in Coppélia, and in numerous mainstage performances, as well as in community outreach events such as Storytime Ballet at the Greenville County Library. Lauren attended  Ballet Magnificat's Summer Dance Intensive in Jackson, MS, and volunteered and performed at Greenville's Artisphere. She is a student at Bob Jones University. 

© Jerry Finley Photography

Jessica Springer

Pre Ballet A, B, Ballet 2

Jessica Springer was raised in Central Florida and began her Classical Ballet training at Southern Ballet Theatre. From there she spent five years at the Russian Academy of Ballet and studied under Iryna Depler in the Vaganova Method of Ballet. Jessica has danced as a soloist and in the Corps under the direction of world-renowned artists and performed in numerous Ballets with Ballet Fedotov, Central Florida Ballet and Orlando City Ballet. Among her favorites are Giselle, Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella. Jessica has been teaching ballet for seventeen years and has taught for many reputable schools in Central Florida. She has experience teaching all levels of Ballet, from Mommy and Me through Adults. Jessica has extensive experience teaching young children; she has taught for fourteen years at the Orlando Ballet School, working with the Young Dancers Division and as a teacher for the STEPS outreach program. Jessica is passionate about helping children develop a solid foundation in Ballet and she hopes to nourish in them a love for Ballet and music that will benefit them a for lifetime.

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Naina D
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Naina Dewan

Contemporary 3A/3B

Naina Dewan is a dance educator, choreographer, researcher, and certified Alexander Technique teacher based in Greenville. She earned her B.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Dance from the State University of New York at Geneseo. She earned her national teacher certification in Alexander Technique from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City, where she also studied clinical social work at New York University. She completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance at Hollins University in 2018. Naina specializes in teaching contemporary, improvisation, and release techniques that enhance fluidity and freedom of movement. She has served on the faculties of Berkshire Dance Theatre (Massachusetts), SC Governor's School for Arts & Humanities, International Ballet Academy, Converse University, and Carolina Dance Collaborative. In 2013, she founded Naina Dewan Dance Company, a part-time contemporary dance company whose projects have included performances at Clemson, Furman, Converse, Savannah College of Art & Design, TEDx Greenville, Greenville County Museum of Art, Artisphere, and choreographing for Disney Hyperion’s Serafina and the Splintered Heart book trailer with a cast of IBA dancers. Naina is currently the Director of the Fine Arts Center at Senior Action in Greenville and serves on the Thesis Advisory Committee for Hollins University's MFA Dance Program. She is thrilled to rejoin IBA’s faculty and looks forward to teaching its talented students.

Carissa K

Carissa Kubitz

Jazz 3A/3B, Guest Choreographer

Carissa Kubitz began dancing at 3 and began teaching 20 years ago. She toured Europe with a youth ballet company, filmed for an Apple iPod commercial & was on the dance team for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers (during Lebron James’ second season!). She lived in Los Angeles to further her dance training and has also studied extensively in New York City. She is certified from the Finis Jhung’s teacher training program, a certified WuDang Qigong teacher & has over 200 hours of teacher training with Yin Yoga master Douglas Johnson of Mahapatha Yoga. She moved to Greenville, SC from Atlanta where she had been teaching competitive & pre-professional dance for 10 years. Her students have placed in overalls at national competitions and can be seen dancing in movies, commercials, music videos and for professional sports teams. She is excited to work with the dancers of International Ballet.

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Uriah Boyd

Contemporary 4/5

Uriah Boyd is an interdisciplinary performance artist from Portland, Oregon. Her primary artistic mediums are dance and music, which she often integrates in live performance. She began her dance training in 2006, studying jazz, tap, ballet and modern. In 2009 she enrolled in Jefferson High School, a performing arts school with a renowned pre-professional dance training program. While at Jefferson High, she met a filmmaker and began working on a documentary with her older sister entitled Soar. The film focuses on their relationship as siblings, dancers, and creative partners. Soar was released in 2014 and has aired on PBS internationally. It is still in syndication today. After graduating high school and releasing Soar, Uriah began dancing professionally. She performed and toured with numerous dance companies and collectives in Portland and the greater NW, most notably, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. Uriah was a founding member of Rejoice! and it was during her time with the company that she began training in folkloric dances of the African Diaspora, which has become a large influence in her movement to this day. She began teaching in 2016 and has led contemporary dance workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest, in Mexico and Peru. Uriah travels often and enjoys connecting to new communities by way of movement and music. In recent years, music and aerial dance have become more prominent creative focuses for Uriah. She’s working on more intentionally integrating her music and movement practices, and spends most of her time engaged in creative play. Uriah is currently based in Greenville, SC and has found a warm home in the live music and contemporary dance communities here.

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