Artistic Director, Choreographer, Master Teacher, Ballet Teacher at Boitsov Classical Ballet School, Former Principal Dancer

At the age of 3, Madame Elizabeth Boitsov started her dance career under the direction of her mother, a professional ballerina. At the age of 9, she passed a nationwide audition and was selected among 2,000 students to attend the State Ballet Schools of Poznan (Poland) and Moscow (Russia), where she would begin preparation to become a professional ballet dancer. Upon graduation from ballet school, with a Bachelors of Arts degree and the title, "Professional Dancer", she started the career of a professional ballerina at the age of 18. She distinguished herself as a professional dancer in Russia and Poland in traditional classical repertoire which included the following: "Don Quixote", "Giselle", "Les Sylphides", "Swan Lake", "Sleeping Beauty", and "The Fountain of Bakhschisarai". On an international scholarship, she advanced to the State Bolshoi Theatre University of Theatrical Arts (GITIS) in Moscow, Russia, where she earned her Master of Arts Degrees in Ballet Teaching and Choreography. Here she studied with some of the great masters of the Bolshoi Theatre, including Lepishinska, Shatin, Siemionova, Slavska, Talankina, Tarasov, Tkachenko, Yakovitska, and Zacharov. In Russia, where ballet is revered as a national treasure, artists are held to an uncompromising standard of excellence. It is from this tradition that Mme. Boitsov comes to us. Click to read more...

Dancer, Alumnus, Ballet Teacher at Boitsov Classical Ballet School

Cheryl D. Barnes began her dance career in Chicago with African and Modern dance companies. Wanting to pursue a career in classical dance, she was recommended to the Boitsov Classical Ballet School where she was accepted to study with Mme. Boitsov and where she graduated from in June 1988. Parallet to her studies at Boistov Classical Ballet School, Ms. Barnes completed her Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After participating in the Boitsov Classical Ballet Company's national audition, she was accepted as a founding member of the Company in September 1988. She has danced many featured roles including Pas de Deux from the Wedding Scene in the ballet "Don Quixote", "Bluebird" Pas de Deux from the ballet "Sleeping Beauty", Nocturne, Waltez, and Mazurka from the ballet "Les Sylphides", Kitri's Variations from the ballet "Don Quixote", and the leading role of the Witch in Mme. Boitsov's original ballet "Hansel and Gretel". Highlight of her performing career include the dance scene "Masquerade" in the 20th Century Fox movie "Only the Lonely", choreographed by Mme. Boitsov and performed by the Boitsov Classical Ballet Company. Ms. Barnes performed Vocal, Solo, Ensemble, and the Period dance styles in a "Fats Waller Revue" at the Chicago Cultural Center, Solo-Modern Ballet at the Newberry Library Dedication, Dance Specialty and Dance Caption for the musical revuew, "Song Diva" at the DuSable Museum, and a featured Pas de Deux choreographed by Mercedes Ellington. Ms. Barnes was recently nominated by the Black Theater Alliance for "Best Solo Dance" for her performance of the "Russian Bride" solo variation, choreographed by Mme. Boitsov with music by P. Tchaikovsky, in a theater production - World Dance 2000 NAJWA Dance Corps. Ms. Barnes also has choreographed selected pieces for the Catholic Scholl System in Chicago and the Midwest. While dancing with Boitsov Classical Ballet Company, Ms. Barnes was also trained by Mme. Boitsov to teach classical ballet in the russian Vaganova-Tarasov Technique. Currently, Ms. Barnes maintains her position as Solo Dancer for Boitsov Classical Ballet Company, Ballet Teacher of Boitsov Classical Ballet School, and is Ballet Mistress and Company member of NAJWA Dance Corps.

Dancer, Alumnus, Ballet Teacher at Boitsov Classical Ballet School

Mary Ellen Coates enrolled at Boitsov Classical Ballet School in December 1989 at the age of 4 under the direction of Mme. Boitsov. In July 2007, she graduated from the Boitsov Classical Ballet School with the title of "Professional Classical Ballet Dancer". In September 2007, Miss Coates was accepted as a member of the Boitsov Classical Ballet Company. During the course of her ballet studies, Miss Coates was accepted to participate in the B.C.B.S. Teacher Intern Program based on her leadership qualities and predisposition to working with children. Since 2003, Miss Coates was promoted to the position of teaching children six and seven years of age. Specially for the 25th Anniversary performance, "Hansel and Gretel", and for the "Soiree de Gala" 5th Graduation Performance, Miss Coates was chosen to be the assistant to the choreographer, Mme. Boitsov, specificially for the children's dances. Miss Coates is also a high school graduate with honors and is planning to pursue a college degree.

Dancer, Modern Dance (Graham) Teacher at Boitsov Classical Ballet School

Marshall Merrick Mitchell began taking dance classes while majoring in biology at Illinois State University. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree, he returned to Chicago and started taking classes with Julian Swain, who also suggested that he take ballet classes. Later, Mr. Swain invited Merrick to dance with his Company, Inner City Dance Theatre. Yearning for more, Merrick auditioned for Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre, where he danced featured roles under the artistic direction of Joseph Holmes and Randy Duncan. While dancing in Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre, he sought out the Boitsov Classical Ballet School to continue studying ballet. Mme. Boitsov offered him a role in her production of her full-length ballet, "Pinocchio". Merrick has appeared in numerous productions in the Chicago area as a guest artist with Bryant Ballet, Columbia College, Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts, Dance for Life, Duke Ellington's musical revue "Jump for Joy", Luster Product "Man Hunt of the Year Awards", and "The Amoco 100th Anniversary Celebration". Merrick studied Martha Graham Technique under teachers who were taught by Martha Graham and who danced in her company. Merrick continues to perfect his Graham technique under the direction of Paul Sanasardo, a former Graham Company member. He is certified in Beginning and Intermediate Pilates Mat and trains in Pilates with Linda Spriggs. Merrick feels the term "Jack of trades" fits him well. Currently, Merrick is a veteran member of the Joel Hall Dancers and teaches Graham-based modern classes at the Joel Hall Dance Center and the Boitsov Classical Ballet School. Merrick also teaches science in the Chicago Public School system and is a very active member of his church. Merrick is blessed and thankful to able to continue to share his craft with the audience.

Dancer, Alumnus, Ballet Teacher at Boitsov Classical Ballet School

Michelina Vrlec enrolled at Boitsov Classical Ballet School in 1992 (Ms. Barnes, Teacher). In 1994 Miss Vrlec continued her training under the direction of Mme. Elizabeth Boitsov. In December of 2002, she graduated from the Boitsov Classical Ballet School with the title of "Professional Classical Ballet Dancer". In January of 2003, Miss Vrlec was accepted as a member of the Boitsov Classical Ballet Company. Miss Vrlec's roles in the traditional classical repertoire include Solo Waltz and Nocturne from the ballet "Les Sylphides", Giselle's Variation from the ballet "Giselle", Peasant Girl's Variation (Act I) from Peasant Pas De Deux from the ballet "Giselle", Kitri's Variation (Act I) from the ballet "Don Quixote", Pas De Deux and Raymonda's Variation (Act III) from the ballet "Raymonda", Odile's Variation from the ballet "Swan Lake", Princess Aurora's Variation (Act I) from the ballet "Sleeping Beauty", as well as orifinal works created by Mme. Elizabeth Boitsov, including the leading role of the Blue Fairy from the ballet "Pinocchio" and solo dance of the Fortune Teller from "Gypsy Passion".

Dancer, Flamenco Dance Teacher at Boitsov Classical Ballet School

Carolina Xavier moved from Brazil to Chicago in 2002 to begin her flamenco studies with Wendy Clinard and the Clinard Dance Theatre. Here, she attended flamenco studies technique, training, and choreography taught by Wendy Clinard. Carolina also has attended workshops given by visiting artists from Spain. With a Brazilian "party personality", Carolina identifies with the "chico" forms, such as tangos, guajiras, and bulerias in flamenco, and she finds a way to be playful and have fun with the complex art form. Currently, Carolina collaborates and performs with "Las Guitarras de Espana". Carolina is also a member and teacher of the Flamenco Arts Center. She also teaches flamenco at Boitsov Classical Ballet School and specially prepared the School's 2007 Graduating Class in the subject of Flamenco Dance. She also teaches at Kelly High School for the "After Achool Matters" program. In addition to her flamenco dancing career and teaching, Carolina studies classical ballet at Boitsov Classical Ballet School under the direction of Mme. Boitsov. Carolina also studied Architecture for three years in Brazil and after five years she is in the process of completing her Architecture Degree here in Chicago.