On Monday, September 9 Diamond Dance Studio in downtown Milford will re-open its doors as the newly named Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy (TADA). TADA is named in honor of Delaware dance legend, the late Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith who was a professional ballerina in Russia and a beloved dance teacher in Delaware for decades.
The Diamond Dance Company will pause to reflect and honor their beloved co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, an amazing woman whose personal life story is every bit as incredible as her career as a professional ballerina. Tatiana was carried away from her birthplace: Odessa, Russia, as an infant in a hatbox. In Yugoslavia, she refused to be a part of the communist movement, and as a result of that decision, was thrown into prison during the prime of her career. She was forced to flee a second country and lifestyle.
Nothing could stop Tatiana’s passion for performing and sharing her love of ballet. It never mattered if she were dancing for royalty, or teaching in a simple one room studio, the joy of sharing her passion was evident. In the late 1940’s, Tatiana worked, while a ‘displaced person’ in a refuge encampment in Trieste, Italy, to provide instruction to young dancers: staging productions, creating costumes, and bringing joy to others in what most would consider the bleakest of times. Everywhere she went, Tatiana left others with a new appreciation of dance.
Within months of migrating to her fourth and final country, the United States, Tatiana set up a little studio once again building her legacy. Her visionary ideas soon convinced others that Ohio needed a ballet company, and so, The Ballet Met was founded. How fortunate for the Diamond Dance Company that Delaware was Tatiana’s residence of choice for the latter part of her life. Again, she would build up a ballet company, move on to build another, and yet another. Tatiana’s final ballet company endeavor was Diamond Dance.
“The scope of Tatiana’s effect on the dance world is so impressive. Many of her students are still dancing professionally and teaching today including some of our staff including Aimee Voshell String and Misty Yencer who is also Tatiana’s granddaughter,” commented Carie DeBaca, TADA Business Manager. By opening this studio in her name, we hope to continue her legacy for many more decades.”
The Dance school has been in operation for a year under the name of Diamond Dance Studio and is well known for its classical ballet performances of the Nutcracker and the Wizard of Oz. “People already know that our company does amazing classical ballet productions but we want them to also know that those productions begin with quality classical Russian ballet training which we offer in a loving, family oriented environment,” says Aimee Voshell String, TADA Director.
The dance school will also be adding a series of Master classes, taught by dance professionals in order to expose the advanced dancers to a variety of styles of dance and teaching. Additionally, TADA hopes to offer classes in the near future geared specifically towards children with Autism.
“I know that my grandmother would be proud of the efforts we have put into re-opening the dance school in her name and to making it great. The passion and excitement that the TADA staff has for our students is unparalleled,” stated Misty Yencer, dance instructor and granddaughter of Akinfieva. “This is a really proud moment.”
The Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy is located at 44 N. Walnut Street, on the second floor, in downtown Milford. Anyone interested in obtaining more information about classes is welcome to attend an Open House on September 3 and September 5 from 5 to 7pm or can request more information via TADAballet@gmail.com.