Neoclassical ballet

Kingsport Ballet will pay tribute to its outgoing artistic director | Sunday stories

KINGSPORT — After 20 years with Kingsport Ballet and more than 60 years contributing to the field of classical ballet around the world, Valeria Sinyavskaya is retiring.

Kingsport Ballet Company will celebrate Sinyavskaya’s legacy and achievements with several events throughout the month of May, starting with the Ballet and Bubbly fundraiser at Allandale Mansion on Friday, May 6. The event raises funds for Kingsport Ballet’s outreach programs and features a silent auction, live dance and music performances, heavy appetizers, champagne and wine. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling 423-378-3967.

Sinyavskaya was recruited in 2001 from Tokyo, Japan by executive director Bertina Dew. She started with Kingsport Ballet in January 2002. Three months later she staged “The Sleeping Beauty”. During its 20-year tenure, Kingsport Ballet has staged all of Tchaikovsky’s classics as well as other works, both classical and neo-classical. She trained students who became dance professionals, enrolled in university dance programs, and taught ballet in other parts of the country. Graham Barnes, a pupil of Kingsport Ballet for most of his formative years and an alumnus of Sinyavskaya, is preparing to continue his studies abroad with the Royal Danish Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet this summer.

Originally from Ukraine, Sinyavskaya has had a full performing career as a prima ballerina with the Novosibirsk Theater and Ballet Opera, touring around the world and as a guest for the Bolshoi Theatre. Her performing career shifted to teaching when she moved to Florida in the early 1990s and then did not return to her company in Russia. She began teaching and directing in Orlando, Gainesville and Vero Beach, during which time she also taught Sasha De Sola, then 10, while directing “The Sleeping Beauty” with the Orlando Ballet. De Sola is now a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet.

Sinyavskaya will also be honored at Kingsport Ballet’s Spring Concert Showcase on May 19 at the Wellmont Performing Arts Center on the Northeast State campus in Blountville and May 27-28 at the Tribute Gala, which will be presented in her honor.

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The tribute gala, which will also be held at the Wellmont Performing Arts Center, will feature the third act of “Sleeping Beauty” and a mixed repertoire act, showing the work of company members and guest artists in ballet, characterful and contemporary dance.

The tribute gala, under the direction of acting artistic director Leonid Flegmatov, will feature a number of artists that Sinyavskaya has brought to Kingsport over the years to perform and teach. It will also include a special tribute from some who cannot attend or dance in person. Kingsport Ballet plans to thank alumni and former teachers at gala performances.

Nicole Moyer of the San Francisco Ballet and Sergii Sydorskyi of the Classical Ballet Academy in Denver are set to perform Aurora and the Prince’s wedding pas de deux. Also joining the cast will be Lyvan Verdecia with Ballet Hispanico and Mary Kate Reynolds, formerly with Pennsylvania Ballet. The two dancers have already been invited by Kingsport Ballet.

Gala tickets are $23 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $12 for children 5 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 423-378-3967. For more details, email [email protected]

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