Ballet academy

Michigan Ballet Academy names new artistic director

The Michigan Ballet Academy has hired a former Bolshoi dancer as its new artistic director.

Irina Vassileni will succeed Nikoloz Makhateli to oversee the school, produce full ballets and continue the rigorous Vaganova training for which she is known.

The Michigan Ballet Academy is a ballet training school in Forest Hills, located at 1595 Galbraith Ave. SE.

Makhateli led the academy as artistic director for four years and plans to retire at the end of August.

Vassileni is a well-known instructor and re-director of classical ballet. She graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and received a bachelor’s degree in classical ballet and choreography methodology.

She began her training by entering the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow at the age of 10. After graduating with honors, she was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet Company, touring around the world and performing with the company in such ballets as “Swan Lake”, “Giselle”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker”.

Vassileni said she believes that every student, regardless of their aspirations, can benefit from the discipline of classical ballet and the life skills and insights gained from studying it.

“My goal is to give all my students the best education in a systematic way,” she said.

Joining Vassileni as ballet master will be Chien-Ming Lin. Lin earned a master’s degree in dance education with a concentration in pedagogy from American Ballet Theater at New York University-Steinhardt. He is also certified at all levels of the ABT National Training Program.

Lin shares Vassileni’s belief that every student can benefit from the discipline of classical ballet. Her vision for teaching is “to develop dancers who are well-rounded artists, appreciating the work ethic, beauty, and rich history behind diverse dance forms and cultures.”