Elizabeth Shipiatsky is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Classical Ballet of Colorado. Ms. Shipiatsky trained at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Upon graduation, she was invited to dance with the Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theater. She then completed a Master's Degree in Choreography with the Leningrad State Conservatory (Russia) in 1989. Ms. Shipiatsky has choreographed for major ballet companies in Europe and North America, including the Kirov Ballet and the Vaganova Academy. Several of her original ballets have been adopted by the Vaganova Academy as part of its curriculum and are being performed by Vaganova Academy dancers all over the world.
Maestro Pyotr Gusev launched Ms. Shipiatsky’s career as a ballet mistress by inviting her to assist him in staging Le Corsair for the Kirov Ballet. Since then, Ms. Shipiatsky has staged classical ballet repertoire for a number of major ballet theaters and companies including the Kirov Ballet, Vaganova Ballet Academy, Academy of the Russian Ballet, Kuibyshev Opera and Ballet Theater, Brighton Ballet Theater, Minnesota Classical Ballet, and Colorado Ballet. Ms. Shipiatsky served as a Principal Choreographer and Associate Director of Colorado Ballet II, and as a faculty member of DanceAspen and Colorado Ballet.
The quality of Ms. Shipiatsky’s instruction is reflected in the success of her students, many of whom have been accepted to prestigious dance schools in the U.S. and abroad, such as the Vaganova Ballet Academy (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Kirov Academy of Ballet (Washington D.C.), School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet, Arizona Ballet, Bolshoi Summer Intensive (New York), Bolshoi Academy (Moscow, Russia), American Ballet Theater, and Juilliard. Several of her former students are professional dancers with companies including Colorado Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. Ms. Shipiatsky was the well-deserved recipient of the Outstanding Teacher award at the Denver Regional Youth America Grand Prix in 2012 and, under her direction, CBC was deemed the YAGP Outstanding School in 2013.
Born into an artistic family (both parents were Principal dancers), Ms. Tyukova’s first appearance on stage was at the young age of 5 in the opera Chio Chio San and she loved every minute of it.
In 1990, Ms. Tyukova was enrolled in the Perm State Ballet Academy where she studied and graduated under Ninel Silvanovich who had been a direct student of Agrippina Vaganova.
At the beginning of her professional career, Ms. Tyukova was invited to be a model for the famous Russian theatrical designer, Alla Kozhenkova. In 1998, she joined the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre and danced in their classical repertoire and toured extensively around the world.
In 2001, Ms. Tyukova moved to the United States and was hired to dance for Ballet Internationale under the artistic direction of Eldar Aliev. It was during this time that she was working with Irina Kolpakova, one of the greatest ballerinas during the Soviet era. She also was lucky to be trained with well known teachers Vladilen Semionov and Tatiana Pali. Maria danced as a soloist in Carmen, La Fille mal gardee, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle, Phaedra, Nutcracker, La Corsaire and many other performances . She toured to Los Angeles, New York, Detroit in the US and also to Canada, Taiwan, China and Korea. Ms. Tyukova performed with Opera Detroit and was a Guest Artist with University Ballet, Korea performing in New York and Washington in La Bayadere.
From 2003-2005, Ms. Tyukova worked at the Pan American Skating Arena in Indianapolis, IN with world-class figure skating coach, Serguei Zaitsev. She began working as a figure skating coach while in Russia under the direction of her in-laws, who are both world famous Russian coaches. To this day, Maria enjoys training many figure skaters in Colorado. In 2006, she joined the Cincinnati Ballet where she danced in both their classical and contemporary pieces alongside Val Caniparoli, former San Francisco Principal Dancer and Bart Cook, former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer and “repetiteur “for the George Balanchine Trust and the Robbins Rights Trust.
In 2007, Maria moved to Colorado where she worked with the Colorado Ballet Academy until she opened Classical Ballet of Colorado (CBC). Since opening CBC, she has enjoyed receiving the honor of Youth America Grand Prix’s (YAGP) Outstanding School Award in both 2013 and 2016 and has had several of her students place in YAGP’s Classical Categories, including taking 1st Place and 3rd Place. Several of her students have also received top awards at the Denver Ballet Guild Competition, including 2nd Place, 4th Place and the coveted David Parvin Award for Outstanding Artist in 2015. In 2017, Maria was honored with the YAGP Outstanding Teacher Award and her student, Roxy Slavin, was awarded the Hope Award.
Ms. Tyukova and her husband, Alexei Tyukov (Principal Dancer at Colorado Ballet), are the proud parents of their son, Adrian.
Ms. Vassileni is a well-known instructor and re-stager of classical ballet. She is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, a former Bolshoi Ballet dancer and holds a BFA degree in Methodology of Classical Ballet and Choreography from the State Academy of Slavonic Culture in Moscow, Russia. She has also studied yoga, body conditioning and related holistic practices in depth, integrating her knowledge of dance with the ideas of both ancient and modern disciplines.
Irina began her training by entering the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow at the age 10. After graduating with honors in 1979, she was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet, touring worldwide and performing with the company in ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Spartacus, Paquita and the many other classical and contemporary works from Bolshoi's vast repertoire.
While still performing with the Bolshoi Ballet, she chose to pursue a higher degree education by attending the National Institute of Theatrical Arts studying instruction and restaging of classical ballet as well as other disciplines. Later she advanced her studies to receive a BFA in Methodology of Classical Ballet and Choreography. In 1990, Ms. Vassileni moved to the United States and was invited to become Ballet Mistress and Director of Education for Ballet Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa. She held the position from 1991 to 1997 and in 1998 moved to Long Island, New York where she opened her own school - Russian Ballet School. Throughout her career as an instructor, she has taught master classes, teaching seminars and participated in lectures and workshops with professional schools, universities and companies nationwide.
Alexei Tyukov graduated with honors from the Perm State Ballet Academy in 1995, and danced with the Perm State Ballet Theatre that same year. In 1999, he won the Gold Medal in the Senior Men’s Division at the Arabesque Competition in Perm and was awarded the Mikhail Arnopolsky Prize for the most talented competition participant. He was a Principal with Ballet Internationale Indianapolis, where he performed leading roles in Phaedra, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Firebird, Carmen and Thousand and One Nights. He has danced throughout the world, including in Taiwan, China, Canada and Germany. In 2006, he joined Cincinnati Ballet as a Principal and performed classical and contemporary works including Plan to B, The Bridge and Bakers Dozen. Mr. Tyukov has also participated in numerous galas including Le Gala Des Etoiles in Montreal, Stars of the 21st Century in Paris, Stars of the Mariinski in Germany and the International Gala in South Korea. Mr. Tyukov has also guested with the Russian Company, performing Natalia Makarova’s Swan Lake and was a guest artist in Cincinnati Ballet’s production of Thousand and One Nights. The New York Times said of Tyukov, “In Swan Lake, Alexei Tyukov broke the audience’s hearts as much as Odette’s in his eloquent portrayal of an all too-human Siegfried.” Mr. Tyukov joined Colorado Ballet as a Principal in 2007.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Kimberly Chmielewski graduated magna cum laude from The University of Iowa, receiving her BFA and Honors in Dance and Sociology. While at The University of Iowa, Ms. Chmielewski was a member of Iowa’s elite touring company, Dancers in Company, for three consecutive years, and had the privilege of working with choreographers such as: Jaime Camarena, Harrison McEldowney, Gina Patterson, Julie Bour, Nina Watt, Karen Burns, and all faculty members at Iowa. Other outstanding performance achievements at Iowa include: featured dancer in the resetting of José Limón’s “Psalm,” soloist in a new work created by Joanna Rosenthal-Read, soloist in Michael Medcalf’s “Hearthside,” and a cast member in former Trisha Brown dancer, Melinda Myers’, “Green Rooms.” Ms. Chmielewski was also one of twelve students sent to represent The University of Iowa in a cultural exchange and performance with Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, Mexico.
Currently dancing for Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Apex Dance, Moraporvida Contemporary Dance, and multiple free-lance projects, Ms. Chmielewski previously danced for Kim Robards Dance and Dance Co. Collective. She spent time in New York City under the artistic advisory of The Joffrey Ballet School's Artistic Director, George de la Peña. She began her training under Judith Svalander, Greg Begley, and Altin Naska, director of S.P.A.C.E. Dance Company in Chicago and the Dance Chicago Festival. During past summers, Kimberly has attended Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet School, and Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre’s summer intensives on scholarships. As well as dancing professionally, Ms. Chmielewski also teaches dance and loves the creative intuition and positivity her students constantly supply to her passion of the art form.
Maureen Breeze began her professional career in the apprenticeship program with Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre and the Murray Louis Dance Company. She performed as a member and/or guest artist with many modern dance companies including: Sara Pearson & CO and Stephen Kaplowitz & Dancers in New York, The Pat Graney Company and Co-Motion Dance in Seattle, and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Jan Justis Dance, and the Hannah Kahn Dance Company in Denver. She was the founder and artistic director of JUMPSTART/Dance Works where her choreography was funded by the Colorado Council on the Arts (in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts), the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the Denver Foundation, The McCormick Tribune Foundation, and other granting agencies. Prior to running her own company, Ms. Breeze owned and directed Dance Centre Seattle, a studio for professional contemporary dancers. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Claremont McKenna College in California where she studied International Economics and Mathematics. In addition to being on faculty at Classical Ballet of Colorado, Ms. Breeze teaches and choreographs at the Denver School of the Arts.
Jazz & Youth Ballet Instructor
Theresa Berger, originally from Ankeny, Iowa, began dancing at the age of seven under the direction of Nancy Moore Overturff. Trained in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap and musical theater, Ms. Berger is a versatile dancer and teacher. Theresa has spent many summers studying on scholarship at prestigious schools including The Joffrey Ballet School NYC, American Ballet Theater, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago and Dance Masters of America. Ms. Berger studied dance at the University of Iowa under direction of George de la Pena where she performed in pieces choreographed by Alan Sener, Deanna Carter, Armando Duarte, and Johanna Kirk among others. She moved to Denver where she danced with Kim Robards Dance and Moraporvida Contemporary Dance. Currently dancing with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Theresa is also on faculty at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance school and at Denver School of the Arts. Theresa has a true love and passion for teaching and is thrilled to be on faculty at Classical Ballet of Colorado where the talent and heart of the students is inspiring.
Youth Ballet Substitute Instructor
Katherine Grace-Shamburek trained under Elizabeth Shipiatsky from 2007 to 2013, then studied at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia, under Ludmila Kovaleva and Tatiana Udalenkova, graduating in 2015. Katherine is the recipient of a number of honors and awards. She studied on partial scholarship at the summer intensive of the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in New York. She was the recipient of a prestigious scholarship sponsored by the US Department of State to study ballet and Russian language and culture at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, during the summer of 2011. She won first place in 2012 at both the Youth America Grand Prix Denver semi-final and the Denver Ballet Guild Young Dancer’s Competition. In 2014, Katherine was named as an Outstanding Female Dancer at the conclusion of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive.