Arts Post
Posted at 05:42 PM ET, 01/18/2012

Local dancer Keenan Kampa to join the Mariinsky Ballet

Keenan Kampa, a member of the Boston Ballet who grew up in Reston, is joining the Mariinsky Ballet.

The esteemed Russian company is expected to officially announce her appointment during its appearances at the Kennedy Center this week. Kampa is the first American to join the historic company.
Keenan Kampa, of Reston, Va., is joining the Mariinsky Ballet

In this month’s issue Dance Magazine named her one of “25 to Watch” in 2012.

The invitation from Mariinsky came last summer when she was in St. Petersburg. “I went there to visit. I wasn’t thinking I could audition. I was rehearsing a pas de deux and the director came in and watched,” said Kampa Wednesday during a break in rehearsals at the Boston Ballet.

In Russia, she said, she learned to appreciate the hard work and the response from the audience. “It’s the whole atmosphere over there. The culture is so involved with the arts. The audience knows what they are watching and they respect the work. The teachers are exacting. It is the most exciting place to be for ballet,” said Kampa.

Kampa, 22, was the first American to receive a full Russian diploma from the Vaganova Ballet Academy. The school trained George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova. It was at a master program at the Kennedy Center in 2007 where she was offered the opportunity with the Vaganova’s rigorous academy. She trained there for three years. She joins the Mariinsky in June.

A video of Kampa follows.

Growing up Kampa trained at the Conservatory Ballet in Reston under Julia Cziller Redick. For her academic studies, she was home-schooled.

Her talents were noticed early and in 2006 she won a gold medal at the National Youth Ballet Competition.

Kampa joined the Boston Ballet in 2010. This spring she is appearing in “Don Quixote” as the Queen of the Dryads at the Boston Opera House.

Dance Magazine described her as “a stunning paradox of star quality. At 5’ 8” the lithe beauty moves with the efficiency of a ballerina far shorter. And within her delicate, angelic presence lies an edginess and attack--an intrigue worthy of Mona Lisa--that makes her irresistible to watch.”

By  |  05:42 PM ET, 01/18/2012

 
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