"Since dance is a part of that beauty,
I would like to help conserve that
pure unadorned academism..."
Founded in 1977 by Vladimir Dokoudovsky, New York Conservatory of Dance has been a Manhattan institution for classic ballet. For over thirty years, the school has offered classes to more than three thousand students – many of whom have gone on to become successful dancers, teachers, and choreographers. Elisa Monte, Liliane Montevecchi, Leslie Caron, Agnes DeMille, Valerie Harper, Lesley Ann Warren and Sono Osato are among the many who have studied at the New York Conservatory of Dance. The original location on West 56th Street was home to the school for a decade. In 1990, the New York Conservatory of Dance relocated to its current location on East 31st Street and was eventually renamed the Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance in honor of its founder, Vladimir Dokoudovsky, who passed away in 1998.
Vladimir Dokoudovsky was born to Russian parents in Monte Carlo in 1919. He studied with the renowned ballet mistress Olga Preobrajenska in Studio Wacker, Paris and soon was teaching her beginner and intermediate classes.
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Born in St. Petersburg where she studied at the ImperialBalletSchool, graduating in 1889 to join the Mariinsky Theatre.
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A Letter from the Founder, Vladimir Dokoudovsky
OCTOBER 2nd, 1977
Dear Friends, teachers, dancers, and students,
It is my pleasure and privilege to announce the opening of the New York Conservatory of Dance. As Artistic Director, I would like to dedicate it to Mme. Olga Preobrajenska, a truly great teacher to whom so many, myself included, are indebted; to Colonel W de Basil Director of the Monte Carlo-Ballet Russe (later known as thc Original Ballet Russe), and finally to the second wave of dance pioneers, my colleagues of the thirties and forties.
Few things are more rewarding for a teacher than to see a student improving. But, to me the reward is even greater when I observe that the student understands the logic of the traditional academic training. During my twenty-eight years of teaching in New York City, I have seen varied styles of the dance come and go; many were based on exaggeration, which is often mistaken for beauty. It is my view however that simplicity is purity purity is beauty and beauty may one day save the world. Since dance is a part of that beauty, I would like to help conserve that pure unadorned academism which in the past has fostered so many outstanding artists.
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Thirty years ago I wrote, "Dance which is now recognized as a major art, should be obligatory in every school curriculum. Aesthetically, it helps us to better understand sculpture, painting, drama, and music, for it contains all these art forms. In addition, dance is a coordination of movement and a discipline for the reflexes, which are so important to physical health and natural development of the mind."
Therefore, this is why, besides graded classes, the Conservatory will offer as many ''open classes" as possible, as I do not believe that one can judge who will or will not be a dancer. The exercise of such judgments in the past would have deprived the world of some of its greatest dancers, teachers, and choreographers.
Furthermore I have observed that numerous professional dancers come from outside New York City. (Recipients of scholarships, visitors in transit, or seekers of success), and that no matter how much polish these dancers may achieve here, they owe their basic instruction to excellent teachers. Consequently, it has occurred to me that it would be appropriate, finances allowing, to invite these instructors as guest teachers.
Once a year I would like to hold a competition for students 14 to 16 years of age with prominent people in the field as judges. The winners would be recipients of the Olga Preobrajenska Scholarship for girls and the Colonel W. de Basil Scholarship for boys, entitling them to a year's free tuition at the school of their choice.
To sum up, the policy of the New York Conservatory of Dance will be:
1. To maintain the traditions of academic training. 2. To invite guest teachers from all over the world. 3. To provide the winners of the annual competition among 14 to 16 years-olds with a year's Scholarship to the dance school of their choice.
Later, we will video tape the Maryinsky-Preobrajenska method making it available to all those interested: Also to organize a performing group and videotape ballets and excerpts of ballets from the thirties and forties, some of which are great works now destined for oblivion.
If you agree that these are worthwhile goals, we ask for your good wishes. Even if all our plans may not be realized, one thing is certain: God willing, we will keep on dancing!
WITH HEARTFELT THANKS,
Most Sincerely Yours,
New York Conservatory of Dance
The Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance prohibits discrimination inclusive of all areas of diversity including, but not limited to, race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or age.
How to Get to Us
440 Lafayette between Astor Place & East 4th Street
Vladimir Dokoudovsky, Founder
Patricia Dokoudovsky, Director