Manassas Ballet Theatre is like a cerberus, with three heads each working together to spread the love of dance. The most prominent head is the ballet company itself: 24 dancers who put on four series of public performances annually at the Hylton Performing Arts Center's dramatically modern hall. Then there's the Manassas Ballet Theatre Orchestra, which provides live accompaniment to each of these performances. Last is the Manassas Ballet Academy, which uses the Vaganova methodology to teach college-bound students and future pro dancers to express themselves via movement instead of snappy catch phrases.
The Northern Virginia Youth Ballet has distinguished itself as one of the only ways local youth can work with acclaimed guest artists and nationally renowned choreographers while wearing leotards. The company realized dream of Yuri Nikitenko, the founder of the Academy of Russian Ballet and a dancer recognized across the former Soviet Union and the United States alike. Graduates of the school have gone on to perform with such legendary institutions at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow, and they regularly place among the top finalists at the Youth America Grand Prix.
Since 1971, Maryland Youth Ballet's team of trained instructors has helped both amateur dancers and aspiring Baryshnikovs hone their skills with a range of comprehensive classes. True beginners can begin their swan transformations during the introductory series, which covers fundamental barre exercises and promotes proper alignment, molting, and musicality. More experienced students can drop into one of the studio's ongoing sessions that range from jazz- and Broadway-style routines to Horton-based modern movement. Adult classes are open to ages 13 and older, and all participants must bring their own ballet flats or oversize bunny slippers.