Ballet academy

More Than Dance: Kansas Ballet Academy Teaches Hard Work and Perseverance

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – At Kansas Ballet Academy, students learn graceful movements and techniques. But they also learn life lessons.

“It’s not instant gratification,” director Alexander Smirnov said. “You know, it’s a day-to-day, day-to-day job.”

Originally from Russia, Smirnov has danced in countries all over the world and has decades of experience as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. Now he uses his experience to help young dancers in the community.

Like any skill, ballet takes dedication and practice.

“I don’t know how many hours, but I’m here every day except Sunday,” student Brylee Underwood said.

Like Brylee, the students of the academy work hard to perfect their craft.

“Dancers come in and work hard,” Smirnov said. “They perfect a movement over many hours.”

Whether it’s learning a new move or a whole routine, it’s not always easy. But, with time and repetition, it eventually falls into place.

“It feels good to know you’ve finished what you were working on,” Underwood said.

Brylee has big dreams but knows there is a long way to go.

“I want to be a pro when I get older and it’s going to be tough,” Underwood said.

Although it can be difficult, Smirnov always reminds his dancers that if they stay the course, they can achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

“The main thing we try to teach our dancers is to never give up,” Smirnov said. “So just because you don’t get it the first time, you know, you don’t have to give up and say, ‘That’s it, I’m no good.’ Not giving up and being persistent is the main thing in life that will help them be better at everything.

The Kansas Ballet Academy will perform in one of its biggest productions of the year Nutcrackerat the Topeka Performing Arts Center.

The dancers will perform on Saturday December 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday December 22 at 1:00 p.m.

To buy tickets, click HERE.