The Mariinsky Ballet, one of Russia’s oldest companies, officially welcomed local ballerina Keenan Kampa, as the first American to join the company.

Ballerina Keenan Kampa, first American to join Mariinsky Ballet (Photo by Gene Schiavone)

The news that Kampa, who grew up in Reston, was taking this historic step, circulated last week during the company’s engagement at the Kennedy Center. And Kampa told the Washington Post and WRC/Channel 4 that she was honored. A video of her dancing follows.

Fateev described how the match came together:

“A few years ago we were giving a Master Class at the Kennedy Center and after the class Ballet Master Gennady Seliutsky asked Keenan to come and study at the Vaganova Ballet Academy,” he remembered. Kampa finished the studies at the Vaganova and then joined the Boston Ballet. During a visit to Russia last summer, Kampa, Fateev and Seliutsky re-connected. “Keenan is talented and because she was trained at our school there will be no problems having her integrate into our company. She will be dancing with the company as well as given solo opportunities,” said Fateev.