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    Ave Maria Academy of Ballet opens in Old Ashburn

    The Ave Maria Academy of Ballet recently opened in Old Ashburn at 20722 Ashburn Road. The ballet studio is led by Maria-Monica Koo. Courtesy Photo
    Bringing classical ballet training for students of all levels, the Ave Maria Academy of Ballet recently opened in Old Ashburn.

    Located next to Carolina Bros. at 20722 Ashburn Road, the ballet studio is led by Maria-Monica Koo. Koo has been trained in the Vaganova method and has over 30 years of experience studying ballet. She was most recently the founder and artistic director of the Gainesville Ballet School.

    “I am very happy and excited to open a studio in Ashburn,” Koo said.

    Koo has trained intensively with Kirov Ballet’s famous ballerina, Alla Sizova and she has had the honor to work with such great ballet leaders and artistic directors as Oleg Vinogradov, Yelena Vinogradova, Alla Sizova, Nikolai Morozov, Ludmilla Morkovina and Rudolph Kharatian.

    The new studio’s interior was renovated to have state-of-the-art flooring for ballet classes, complete with three studios, two on the first floor and one on the second floor.

    “It looks beautiful. It is right in the center of Ashburn and very easy to get here,” Koo said.

    First of tap for Koo’s new students will be to prepare for the academy’s presentation of “The Nutcracker,” which will be in December. There will also be a show in the spring, which has not yet been determined, Koo said.

    Koo explained that many schools boast Vaganova training, the most prominent being the Vaganova Academy of Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia and its sister school, the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C.

    The Vaganova method focuses on whole body line from feet to head emphasizing on the theory that the detailed movements come from the core. This emphasis on core stability and strength in the back and arm smoothness allows perfect coordination with fluid head and arm movement.

    Koo said this is why the Vaganova method has produced many of this century’s most exceptional ballerinas including Pavlova, Baryshnikov, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Makarova and Alla Sizova.

    Classes are available for ages 2 to adult and begin Sept. 8. Visit avemariaballet.org or call 703-723-7771 for more information.

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