Founder and Executive Director
Irina founded Brighton Ballet Theater (BBT) in 1987, thereby fulfilling a childhood dream to teach dance and have her own school in America. She studied Russian character dance and gymnastics in Ukraine, including training at the Lvov Circus School, and was a soloist with the Ukrainian National Folk Dance Companies “Yunost” and “Mria” before immigrating to the United States. After arriving in the US, Irina was a student of Galina Rybak and Rona Rybak; the sisters were both students of Agrippina Vaganova and Galina danced at the renowned Bolshoi Theater in Moscow whereas Rona taught at the Moscow Choreographic School. Irina also studied with Celia Marino, who was a principal dancer with Ballet Nacional de Venezuela and long-time faculty member with The Ailey School.
At BBT, Irina is responsible for training new teachers as well as creating the curriculum and methodology used both at BBT and in public school partnerships such as art residencies, after-school programs, and dance education for children with special needs. She also takes a special interest in costuming at BBT since her mother was a seamstress. Irina brings her passion, professionalism, and commitment to every aspect of the BBT experience.