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The Legacy of Russian Ballet

We at Diamond Dance continue to reflect and honor our beloved co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, an amazing woman whose personal life story is every bit as incredible as her career as a professional ballerina.  Tatiana was carried away from her birthplace: Odessa, Russia, as an infant in a hatbox. In Yugoslavia, she refused to be a part of the communist movement, and as a result of that decision, was thrown into prison during the prime of her career. She was forced to flee a second country and lifestyle.  Nothing could stop Tatiana’s passion for performing and sharing her love of ballet. It never mattered if she were dancing for royalty, or teaching in a simple one room studio, the joy of sharing her passion was evident.  In the late 1940’s, Tatiana worked, while a ‘displaced person’ in a refugee encampment in Trieste, Italy, to provide instruction to young dancers: staging productions, creating costumes, and bringing joy to others in what most would consider the bleakest of times.  Everywhere she went, Tatiana left others with a new appreciation of dance.  Within months of migrating to her fourth and final country, the USA, Tatiana set up a little studio once again building her legacy.  Her visionary ideas soon convinced others that Ohio needed a ballet company, and so, The Ballet Met was founded.  How fortunate are we, that Delaware was Tatiana’s residence of choice for the latter part of her life.  Again, she would build up a ballet company,  move on to build another, and yet another.  Tatiana’s final ballet company endeavor:  Diamond Dance. While it is impossible to comprehend just how many thousands of families were impacted, just by knowing Tatiana, the outpouring of comfort and stories after her passing have given us a glimpse.

As we complete our current season and begin planning our next, we commit ourselves to sharing Tatiana’s choreography, with her granddaughter Misty Yencer, in her role as our Director, striving to ‘make my Grandmother proud.’  And so, Tatiana’s legacy continues…

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