Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer
Edouard began his dance career at age 10 with the Kiev State Ballet Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. Director Irina Yakimova singled him out for the lead role of a young boy in the ballet Malchish-Kibalchish. It was the renowned choreographer of Malchish-Kibalchish, Varvara Mey, who then fully recognized Edouard’s talent. Mey had been a student of Agrippina Vaganova and was a former prima ballerina, ballet instructor and author who danced with the Kirov Ballet for many years and went on to teach many of Russian ballet's biggest stars at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet.
After graduating from the Kiev State Ballet Academy, where he studied under ballet greats such as Vladimir Denisenko, Vladimir Shtefan, Valery Kovtun, Irina Bulatova and others, Edouard joined the Vronski Kiev Classical Ballet Company as a soloist at age 18. He also danced as a soloist for the Ukrainian State Theater of Classical Ballet, Kiev Jewish Theater, and Ballet Ciudad Dance Company in Barcelona, Spain. He joined Brighton Ballet Theater (BBT) in 1995 as a dancer, followed by teaching dance as well as producing and choreographing dances. He has produced numerous performances, including children’s ballets such as Aria, Sunrise, Ugly Duckling and others. His travels around the world inspired Edouard to create BBT’s own version of The Nutcracker, transforming the classic tale from a fantasy of sweets to a celebration of international culture and dance. In 2012, he was invited to feature his work at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Edouard teaches in the Pre-professional (Advanced) Division for students ages 6-18 years-old at BBT, where he is known for his particular talent in working with young people and creating original choreography for them. All students must go through an audition process in order to participate in Edouard’s classes. Edouard has both a superb grounding in the fundamentals of technique and a keen ability to nurture the artistry and ability required for the highest levels of dance.
1995 - Edouard Kouchnarev joins Brighton Ballet Theater as a dancer. BBT stages first major Nutcracker performance.
2000 - The Nutcracker. An original choreography. “A Winter Fairy Tale” departs from the traditional Nutcracker Ballet by portraying the beautiful international diversity of the world by representing the countries of Spain,
Nigeria, China, India, France, and Russia. The ballet culminates in the Land of Freedom rather than the traditional Land of Sweets.
2002 - Four Seasons “Mavka”. An original choreography. This original 30-minute ballet is inspired by the famous Ukrainian novel “Song of the Woods.” The ballet is set to the music of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons music. Performed by six professional dancers and 70 BBT/School of Russian American dancers. In this enchanting and mystical tale, Mother Nature and her daughter Mavka fights against the evil magic of the wicked Gypsy Witch. In creating this piece, Kouchnarev created a ballet that celebrates the rich history, culture and magic nature of Ukraine, while using classical music in a tribute to the forces and elements of our natural world.
2002 - The Radish. The Radish, pronounced Repka in Russian, is an ancient Russian folk-tale that has been retold to children for hundreds of years. BBT's original ballet honoring Russian, Ukrainian, Gypsy, Jewish musical and dance traditions.
2003 - The Nanny’s Story - “Tchaikovsky Children’s Album”. An original choreography. “The Children’s Album” is a cycle of 24 piece that Pytor Tchaikovsky wrote for his beloved nephew Volodia when the boy was learning to play the piano.
2004 - The Ugly Duckling. Performed by 20 professional dancers and 50 BBT advanced division students. This ballet tells us the timeless tale of the transformation of the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, all the while teaching children the invaluable lesson of inner beauty.
2005 - Sunrise. An original choreography.
Sunrise is a ballet inspired by the poetry of music. The ballet explores the symbolic connection between dance and the hidden world of nature and the movement and spirit of trees, the sun, and the rain.
2006 - Orchestra. A one-act new and original ballet production featuring the popular music of M. Ravel. “Orchestra” features professional dancers and students from BBT/School of Russian American Ballet. Both the young and the mature dancers of Brighton Ballet Theater recreate not only the voices of the instruments through the art of dance, but also transfer the characteristics of the musicians themselves; each of which have their own personal weaknesses and strengths. The main goal of the production is to prove that a large company is especially in need of a wise and powerful leader, who is capable of
unifying the people.
2007 - Aria. An original contemporary ballet. Conceived as a poetic tribute to womanhood, the classical and modern dance composition moves through five stages of a woman’s life, praising her strength, sacrifice, compassion and enduring love.
2009 - The Enormous Turnip “The Radish”.
Now Brighton Ballet Theater/School of Russian American ballet has created an original ballet honoring Russian, Ukrainian, Gypsy, Jewish musical and dance traditions. Along with Russian orchestra accompaniment, the ballet features seven professional dancers and 70 BBT students. The folk ballet also includes artists from the Ukrainian Dance Ensemble "Iskra" and live folk music by “Russian Carnival” and "The Golden Rooster” a children’s singing company.
2013 - Edouard Kouchnarev's choreography of Peter Tchaikovsky's "Children's Album"
premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of
Music (BAM), Brooklyn, NY in June, 2013.
2018 - Ballet - Premiere "Cinderella". Full-scale ballet “Cinderella,” which is inspired by the bright, colorful and magical fairytale of the same name, created by Edouard Kouchnarev. This story of family ties, jealousy, kindness and forgiveness can instill in young audiences an understanding of how to relate to other people and the world in general in a positive, constructive way.
2019 - Renewed Ballet "Sunrise". The stunning costumes feature an array of colors in celebration of nature.