Elena Glurdjidze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia and trained at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St-Petersburg. In 2002 Elena joined English National Ballet as a Principal ballerina and was promoted in 2007 to Lead Principal ballerina.
Her repertoire included, amongst many others, principal roles in Giselle, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, Coppélia, Manon, The Snow Queen, Chopiniana, Etudes, Schéhérazade, Tchaikovsky pas de deux, The Dying Swan and Alice in Wonderland.
In 2009 Elena was nominated for Best Female Dancer at the Critics’ Circle Awards. Won both the 2007 and 2008 Ballet.co.uk Audience Poll for Best Female Dancer, won Best Partner Award at 7th Perm Open Competition in 2002 and in 1997 won the Bronze Medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. In 1998 she won the 8th Paris International Competition of Soloists. In 2009 Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director of Chanel, created a tutu for Fokine’s The Dancing Swan which he fitted exclusively for Elena at Chanel’s headquarters in Paris forming part of the Company’s tribute to The Ballets Russes staged at Sadler’s Wells.
In 2011 British Fashion Designer Giles Deacon created a tutu based on the Black Swan which once again was exclusively designed and created for her.
Her final performance with English National Ballet was as Odette/Odile in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake at the London Coliseum on 18 January 2015, the role she first danced with the Company in 2002.
Following her retirement from dancing professionally, Elena and fellow Vaganova Academy graduate Olga Semenova, embarked upon an Internationally acclaimed Easter and Summer Intensive programme, based at Sadlers Wells Theatre in London.
In 2017 Elena joined forces once again with Olga Semenova to create a brand new Vocational style ballet school for pupils aged from 4-19 years old, based on the Vaganova Method of ballet training. Pupils at Masters of Ballet Academy train up to six days a week in ballet, contemporary and Pas de Deux.
Their West London school has grown in a year and a half to over 100 pupils, with former pupils in the last year alone gaining places at prestigious schools such as The Royal Ballet School (Richmond, UK), The Vaganova Academy (St. Petersburg, Russia), English National Ballet School (London, UK), Paris Opera Ballet (Paris, France) and Central School of Ballet (London, UK).
Olga moved from St.Petersburg to London when Lady Sainsbury invited her to study at The Benesh Institute of Choreology. There she pioneered an exam based Character syllabus for students up to 18 years old, and trained teachers to implement this.
Olga also helped to develop a Vaganova based Syllabus for the Senior school at Central School of Ballet.
Olga trained as a professional ballet dancer at St.Petersburg's prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy, Alma Mater of many of today's international ballet stars. Interestingly, her mother was one of the last students to study under the great Vaganova. After a ballet career Olga completed a four years professional teaching/coaching course at the Vaganova Ballet Academy and was awarded the PDTC Diploma with Distinction and MA ( Hons).
Olga taught ballet for Junior and Pre-graduation classes at The Vaganova Ballet Academy. Her former student are now dancing in leading Russian and International Companies.
In London she has taught at different ballet schools and professionals ballet companies as a Ballet Mistress.
Currently Olga is teaching at English National Ballet School and Central School of Ballet and Russian Imperial Ballet School.
Olga is one of most highly regarded Character tutor in the UK.
Also she is a Character and Ballet guest teacher at different school in the UK and Abroad.Olga is adept in Ballet, Character and Contemporary choreography.
Ambasidor of ARBTA (Honorary), Honorary Advisor of Vaganova Method at Hong Kong Youth Ballet Academy.
"Olga Semenova is clearly not only knowledgeable but inspirational".
Amanda Jennings " Dance Europe"
" Olga Semenova's choreography of "Gypsy Dance" showed the impressive skills of the schools's youngest students"
Laura Dodge " Dancing Times"
" ....audience were treated to one or two unusual character dances taught by Olga Semenova"
David Mead, "Ballet Europe Reviews".
Galina Enikeeva is Headteacher of Junior Ballet Classes at Vaganova Ballet Academy. Galina trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy and joined The Theatre of Choreographic Miniatures in St.Petersburg. Promoted to First Soloist very soon after graduation. Her repertoire included a wide range of principal roles. With the company, Galina danced around the world with great success.
After her ballet career, Galina completing Vaganova Academy Professional Teaching Course, and taking up her current position as Junior Ballet teacher.
Also, Galina gives practice stage classes for children to dance in the Mariinsky Theatre. She has been teaching at the Vaganova Academy for over 20 years.
Her former students are now dancing in leading Russian and international companies. She has given numerous masterclasses in Japan, Denmark, Italy, Spain and other countries. We have a great opportunity to work with Galina Enikeeva as a guest teacher.
Sara Knight is a graduate of England's Royal Ballet School, an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance (A.R.A.D.), graduate of the Royal Ballet School Teacher's Training Course (R.B.S. Dip. TTC.) and first British graduate of Russia's Vaganova (Kirov) Ballet Academy. Sara is a recipient of the Royal Ballet Special Award for Excellence personally awarded by Dame Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet.
Upon graduation, Sara was accepted to the Eifman Ballet Theatre. She remained in Russia and danced with Leningrad State Ballet Theatre and The Russian Ballet of St. Petersburg. In the West, she danced with England's Northern Ballet Theatre, European Ballet of London, Boston Ballet and was Principal Dancer with Configuration Dance and the Rebecca Rice Dance Company, USA.
Sara has been invited to teach worldwide including Boston Ballet Company, Boston Ballet School, Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education, Cincinnati Ballet School, Laban Centre London, Northern Ballet Theatre of England, Arts Educational School of the UK, Boston Conservatory, and The International Festival of France. Sara has also served as Ballet Mistress for both London's Central School of Ballet and Ellison Ballet of NYC. She was the Artistic Director for the Ballet School of Stamford as well as the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Greenwich Ballet Academy.
In September 2010, Sara founded SLK Ballet. “A school for gifted dancers to prepare for a career as a professional dancer”. SLK Ballet has an annual exchange with both Central Ballet and English National Ballet School in London, UK. Sara continues to teach worldwide.
Meelis Pakri is originally from Estonia and is a graduate of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Following his graduation, Meelis. Pakri danced with Estonian National Ballet as a principal dancer and taught partnering and technique classes at the Tallinn State Ballet School. During that time, he also performed as a principal guest artist at the International Ballet Festival in Havana, Cuba; and for the National Theatre of Macedonia in Skopje, Yugoslavia. In 1991, at the invitation of then-artistic-director Martin Friedmann, Meelis. Pakri joined Colorado Ballet as a principal dancer. Over the next ten years, he performed numerous classical and contemporary roles, including Albrecht in Giselle, the title role in George Balanchine’s Apollo, Basilio in Don Quixote, the principal male in Balanchine’s Rubies, and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake. Meelis. Pakri was also a frequent guest performer in Estonia and Japan. In 1998, he performed as a guest artist with the Martha Graham Dance Company in the role of the Husbandman in Appalachian Spring at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Meelis Pakri retired from dancing in 2001 and, for the next five years, served as ballet master of Colorado Ballet. In 2005, he received critical acclaim for staging The Sleeping Beauty for the Company. In 2006, Meelis. Pakri joined the faculty of The Royal Ballet Upper School in London, England, where he remained until August 2013. During his tenure, Meelis Pakri’s students won prizes at the Youth America Grand Prix and Young British Dancer of the Year competitions. Prior to joining HARID’s faculty, Melise Pakri was ballet master at Houston Ballet. He remains active as a guest teacher.