As part of its programme to promote the Arts in Portugal, the Mirpuri Foundation recently organized a classical-dance Summer Course in Lisbon, with renowned ballet dancer Alla Shirkevich.

The aim of the course was to provide young hopefuls with training in classical Russian ballet. Students received training in dance theory, as well as practical tutoring, and around 70 dancers participate in both intermediate and elementary classes.

Alla Shirkevich was a student of the legendary Feya Balabina and graduated as a dancer at the Vaganova Academy of Leningrad in1965. After graduating, Alla became a dancer at the Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in St Petersburg and, between1965 and 1985, performed solos in ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and the Blue Danube.In 1985 Alla became an assistant to Professor N. Kurgapkina at the Vaganova Academy, where she stayed until 1990, before leaving to take on a series of a principal dancer roles in Canada, Greece, Russia, Taiwan and Korea. After some years as a consultant to the Russian Ballet Company in St.Petersburg, Russia, Alla was invited, in 2012, to become a Master of Ballet at the National Theatre of Belgrade, in Serbia. Alla retains this position today, whilst also spending time teaching at schools in Sweden, Canada, South Korea, Greece, USA, China and Portugal.

Speaking of the recent classes in Portugal, Alla said: “I have worked as a ballerina for 20 years and have taught dance for 30 years, so I have great experience.

“I can tell you that there is great dancing talent in Portugal, and many children have the possibility to enjoy dancing with the talent that they have. All they need to prosper is a little teaching. And this happening in their own city of Lisbon should inspire them further.

“The Mirpuri Foundation should be thanked for its efforts to promote the Arts. I am grateful that they chose to organize these classes, to allow opportunities to so many local young people.

Speaking on behalf of the Mirpuri Foundation, President Paulo Mirpuri said: “We’d like to thank Alla for her work with Portuguese dancers. We are committed to the promotion of artistic talent in Portugal. We have just opened nominations for the next Mirpuri Foundation Dance, Music and Theatre Awards 2020. The inaugural Mirpuri Foundation Gala was a wonderful night, as the worlds of theatre, dance and music came together to deliver an unparalleled cultural extravaganza in the iconic São Carlos Opera House.”