While some of my friends are preparing for the Octoberfest on Whiteface Mountain, others (including myself) are enjoying, or in my case also enduring, the art of dance.
Though this North Country of ours seems remote at times—with Burlington, Albany, and Montreal all about 2 hours away—we are fortunate to be a place that attracts artists of all kinds.
Dance instructor Natalia Balina-Zborowska is one such artist. Natalia is a native of Russia, where she studied at the Lidia Gilevich Ballet School in Tobol’isk. After graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts, Ms. Zborowska studied choreography in St. Petersburgh, Russia. She comes to the North Country by way of Louisiana where she furthered her studies at Tulane Univeristy.
Natalia taught ballet and character dance for four years at the New Orleans Ballet Association and also taught at various summer intensives around the New Orleans area.
We are lucky to claim Natalia as a resident of Jay, New York, where she currently teaches dance at The Amos and Julia Ward Theatre as well as in Lake Placid with the School of Ballet. Her focus is teaching children but she also has an adult ballet class on Tuesday and Friday mornings that is open to all—at any level. I am a level 0 but I have a friend who has been coaxing me so I decide to give it a try.
Natalia is forgiving but firm. She is careful not to give instructions that will do harm and is quite aware that everyone’s range of movement is different. She makes us all feel like we have accomplished much in our hour and a half together and she finishes off class with pilates-based exercises. It is an invigorating and inspiring session and I hope I will have the time to return and see how far I can go with this artistic form of exercise.
Natalia hopes to build her programs in Jay, especially her children’s classes. She is working on spreading the word and to get more young people enrolled here in Jay.
Natalia specializes in character dance which she teaches to young dancers at the Lake Placid School of Ballet. Character dance involves teaching various specific steps, ways to position the arms, and other stances that characterize certain cultures—especially useful for those dancers who will be performing in “The Nutcracker Ballet” later this fall.
She is clear in her commands although sometimes her accent gets in the way of understanding instruction the first time around. But she patiently repeats and demonstrates until everyone understands what comes next. She is also happy to meet adult students prior to the start of class to catch them up on steps and movement.
Natalia is in her second year of teaching dance in Jay and her classes run through June with time off for holidays.
For more information on her classes in Jay and other events at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre click through to the Jay Entertainment & Music Society website.
Learn more about cultural events in the Whiteface Region.
Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondack for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.