Second American Dancer to Join a Russian Ballet Company

Keenan Kampa joins The Mariinsky Ballet - Second American Dancer to Join Russian Ballet. Image: Video excerpt.

Keenan Kampa has become the second American dancer to join a Russian ballet company.

Who is the second American dancer to join a Russian ballet company?

Keenan Kampa, a member of the Boston Ballet and a rare American to attend the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, is joining the Mariinsky Ballet.The Mariinsky said Ms. Kampa, 22, was becoming the first American in its ranks.

She starts June 2012. The announcement follows the news last year that David Hallberg was joining the Bolshoi Ballet, the first American to become a principal dancer there.

Ms. Kampa, from Reston, Va., attended summer programs at the Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theater in New York as well as master classes at the Kennedy Center. The Mariinsky said she was also the first American to receive a degree from the Vaganova, a storied school that produced George Balanchine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev and Anna Pavlova, among other prominent dancers.

Complete New York Times article source.

Keenan Kampa Interview

Back in August 2009, Seventeen Magazine interviewed Ms. Kampa about being accepted to the presigious Russian ballet school Vaganova Ballet Academy. Here’s a brief portion of that interview:

At the age of 18, Keenan Kampa became the first American dancer to be invited to attend the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Established in 1738, the school has produced many of the most famous ballet dancers in the world, including Mikhail Baryshnikov and is associated with the world-class Mariinsky Ballet.

Keenan began taking classes with her sisters when she was four. “We tried gymnastics, we tried sports, we tried ballet,” says Keenan. “Ballet was just the thing that we really loved.” She learned classical Russian at the Conservatory Ballet in Reston, Virgina. She caught the eye of the master from the Kirov Ballet who was teaching her master class at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. “After the class,” says Keenan, “he just held me aside and said ‘wait, wait, stay here’ until he got the interpreter to come over.” The teacher was impressed by her dancing and wanted her join the school. A few days later, she was formally invited to join the Academy by the director of the company. “I was just awestruck.”

Keenan has spent the past two school years studying in Russia, and will graduate this coming spring. She hopes to one day join a Russian company, but for now, she’s focused on graduating.

Seventeen Magazine link to interview.

Courtesy of YouTube.

Dance Spirit Magazine referred to Keenan as:

“quietly magnetic performer with intelligence and class.”

Ms. Kampa’s dream has become a reality. Becoming the second american dancer to join a Russian ballet company is quite an accomplishment for a young ballerina. We will follow her career as it continues to flourish. We look forward to being a witness to her certain rise to stardom.

Do you know an aspiring ballerina? Click “Share” and “Like” to inspire them to follow their dancing dreams.

About Romy Macias, Senior Editor

Romy danced with the Ballet Clasico de Queretaro Fernando Jhones for 10 years having reached 1st soloist position. She presently takes on character roles and teaches at the company's junior academy. This site is a testament to her passion for classical ballet. You're invited to be part of our community and join in the joy for this amazing art form.

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