On Tuesday, November 4, the Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy (TADA) opened at their new location at 18 Southwest Front Street in Milford, moving from their previous space on Walnut Street above Sugar Bee. Co-founder Aimee String says that the new location will provide them with more space to accommodate the academy which has grown by leaps and bounds.
“We still have two studios,” Ms. String explained. “This just gives us much more room for the dancers as we continue to grow. This location is also handicap accessible and we would like to open up some classes for those with disabilities in the future.” Ms. String, who also is an instructor at the dance academy, says that the group wanted to stay in the downtown Milford area due to the support of the local businesses the academy has received since their beginning.
Born from the longest performing company in Milford, Diamond Dance Company, the studio renamed itself in 2013 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. With a focus on Classical Russian Ballet with the addition of Jazz, Modern, and Creative Movement, TADA offers a well rounded foundation of dance principles starting with students as young as two years old. Ms. String said that the company started when parents began asking for a place for dancers to be trained. The group began 15 years ago and has grown tremendously since the initial studio opened.
“Initially, dancers that came into Diamond Dance were not officially trained,” explained Ms. String. “We felt that adding dance classes would be beneficial, and TADA was born from that.” Rehearsals for the annual Nutcracker performance and the Spring recital will be held at the new location, with performances at Milford High School. In addition to providing additional rehearsal space, the new location allows the group to add an additional instructor as well as invite guest instructors for the benefit of the students.
In the new location the academy will continue to honor Tatiana, Co-founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of Diamond Dance. Ms. String said that Tatiana’s story very important to the group’s success.
“Tatiana danced for kings and queens,” Ms. String said. “She has a pretty incredible story. Several of us who teach at the studio now, including myself, were students of hers and we felt it only fitting to honor her.” Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith died September 15, 2011 at the age of 92. After her death, a scholarship fund was set up in her name at the studio to help aspiring dancers.
Currently rehearsing for their annual performance of the Nutcracker, Diamond Dance Company will host their 16th annual performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on the first weekend of December at the Milford Senior High School Auditorium. The public performances this year will be held on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7. As in years past the dance company will also hold two performances for area school children and senior citizens from nearby assisted living facilities on the Friday before the public performance.
The Spring performance will be The Tale of the Little Mermaid and open casting will begin following the Nutcracker performance. Dancers interested in joining TADA can stop by the studios at any time or find them on Facebook. For more information, individuals are encouraged to visit www.tada-ballet.com or call Ms. String at 302-448-9445.