The American Dream
My name is Katerina Fedotova and this… is the story of my family and how we came to live our American Dream.
First and foremost, I love and respect my family above all else, and will never be able to thank them entirely for what they have provided me throughout my life. To me; my family has been the most wonderful of confidants, friends, teachers, and role models that one could ever ask for.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine
My sister and I were exposed to their theatrical world from the very beginning. The stage and dressing rooms were our playgrounds. Imagine growing up within the walls of the 150 year historical “Kiev Theater.” Every wall, every corridor, the costumes, the back drops, and crystal chandeliers… all of which were completely fascinating to little girls, who lived on the fairy tale world stage of Russian Ballet.
Coming to America
In the fall of 1996, Vadim accepted an offer to choreograph a 30 minute Nutcracker on ice at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida. During his 3 month stay, Barbara Riggins, former Artistic Director and founder of Southern Ballet Theater (now known as Orlando Ballet) saw Vadim’s production and immediately offered him a resident position. The Company Associates were equally captivated and fascinated by Vadim’s artistic style of ballet choreography; so, they moved swiftly to offer Vadim an executive membership position within their celebrated company. However, accepting such an offer proved to be one of the most difficult decisions he and his family had to make. My parents dedicated their collective lives around building a solid foundation and securing a bright future for my older sister, Darya, and myself. They made the decision to accept the offer and began packing their belongings to move to the United States of America and start anew. Vadim and Irina took a calculated risk; and both became members of Orlando Ballet Theater in 1997.
Irina, because of her talents, fast became the Ballet Mistress and chief training coach for the Orlando Ballet. My sister, Darya Fedotova, and her husband, Sergiy Mikhaylov, became principal dancers for Orlando Ballet Theater as well. I continued to be a student of the art of ballet and performing arts while studying at UCF.
In June of 2000, my family took another huge leap of faith and opened our own ballet school, “Russian Ballet Orlando” at The Plaza Theater, in Downtown Orlando on Bumby Avenue. Without any prior USA business operational experience, we persevered and in December of 2000, we SOLD OUT our first production of the Nutcracker.
Within 3 years Russian Ballet Orlando became one of the top 5 ballet schools in Florida and expanded our operation with a second school in Waterford Lakes, Florida. My parents, Vadim and Irina became the directors of our Waterford Studio, while I became the director of our original Bumby Studio. My sister and her husband launched a third location in Sarasota, FL called School of Russian Ballet. Sarasota is internationally recognized as one of the leading Cities in performing arts. Darya and Sergiy have become the leading ballet instructors in Sarasota.
Over the past 13 years and counting, our family and schools have continuously provided students of the Russian Academy with unique opportunities to perform in professional productions throughout the year, including The Nutcracker, Snow White, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, Coppelia, Gershwin Greats, Hamlet, Tchaikovsky concerts and many more.
Our central focus at the Russian Academy is to teach students the principles of ballet dance while exposing them to the values and culture of performing arts. We offer our students professional Russian Ballet classes, Ballet History, in order for our students to acquire the necessary perspectives of world renowned ballets, dancers, choreographers, composers, and performing arts. For our graduating students, we promote their individual resumes by preparing them for auditions with professional ballet companies. Katerina, Dayrya, Sergiy, Vadim and Irina work with every student individually, training them for principal roles and international competitions. When students graduate from Russian Ballet Orlando, they possess strong resumes with leading roles in professional productions.
At the end of the day, I realize that the reason I wake up every day is to see those little happy faces that run into the studio. When parents drop off their children at the studio, as they’re running inside… I cannot wait for them to share what they’ve learned in school; their exciting weekend or simply their playground stories. I am grateful to my parents every day for giving me the opportunity to teach and pass on what I’ve learned to our youth and future. My parents have instilled in me great examples of success, love and a healthy balance to achieve happiness in my future. Thank you mom and dad!
I realize that our family extends past the four of us, and encompasses the Russian Ballet Orlando family. To all of our wonderful parents, I say…
“Thank you for all of your continued support, dedication, and trust with your child’s future.” - Katerina Fedotova