Born in Chelyabensk, Russia, Elena Manakhova began her ballet training at the age of six in Chelyabensk. After studying with Balentina Khabereu at the Art School, Elena attended the world famous Kirov Ballet Academy and Vaganova Academy and was one of the dancers in the 249th graduating class of the Academy. After graduating, she became principal dancer for the Donestsk Ballet Theater. In 1987 she received the Medal of Honor at the Ukranian International Ballet competition. Later, she became Prima Ballerina with National Ballet of the Republic of Komi.
In 1993, Elena came to America and danced with the International Ballet Company in New Jersey where she worked and trained under Alla Osipenko (Russian Prima Ballerina - Kirov Ballet) and Irina Kolpakova (Russian Prima Ballerina - Kirov Ballet). Elena also became a member of the Russian Ballet Theatre of Delaware where she danced works by Robert La Fosse, Daniel Baudendistel, Leslie Browne, and Lev Assoulak.
Her career has brought her many performances as prima ballerina in the following ballets: Swan Lake - Odette, Odile, Nutcracker - Clara, Sugar Plum, Arabian, Snow, and Spanish, Giselle - Giselle, Myrta, Chopiniana - 7th Waltz, Mazurkas, Prelude, La Sylphide, Carmen Suite- Carmen, Le Corsaire - Pas d'Esclave, Don Quixote- Kitri, Mercedes, Dying Swan, Coppelia - Swanilda, Paquita, Sleeping Beauty- Fairies, Esmeralda- Esmeralda, and many others.
Elena was a Guest Artist with Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre in 1997-2001, and became Artistic Director for ESBT in 2001. During her tenure as director, she has added to the repertory at ESBT through her stagings of Sleeping Beauty, Chopiniana (also known as Les Sylphides), Paquita, and original works of "Bolero" (to Ravel's score) and Alice in Wonderland.
Elena holds a Master's Degree in Teacher of Classical Ballet, Vaganova Style, and Choreography from Cheyabinsk State Pedagogical University in Russia.
Shelby began her training studying with Betty Webster and Elena Manakhova-Amy. She was a member of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre and perform principal roles. She attended summer intensives at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. and Maryland Youth Ballet. She has received scholarships from the Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council and Maryland Council for Dance.Following graduation, Shelby moved to New York City to pursue a B.F.A. degree in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College. There she had the opportunity to perform works by Jessica Lang, Pascal Rioult, Igal Perry, and Katie Langan. Professionally, she has performed with Peconic Ballet Theatre, DanceCore Performing Arts, Ballet Ambassadors, and Continuum Contemporary/Ballet. While in New York, she taught as an assistant teacher for the JKO School, the Official School of American Ballet Theatre.
Jazz and Tap Faculty Specialist
Christina began her training at the Salisbury Studio of Dance under the tutelage of Betty Webster. She performed as a member of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre as well with Broadway Etc., a studio affiliated troupe that had the privilege of performing at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. She is a graduate of Salisbury University and recently guest taught a tap masterclass series onstage at Holloway Hall Auditorium. Christina has taught tap at the Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center and also assisted their Musical Theater Faculty Director. Christina is both our jazz and tap faculty specialist.
BRITNI DREHMER ILZUK
Young Dancer Faculty
A native of Salisbury and graduate of the Salisbury Studio of Dance, Britni has been on faculty at the Salisbury Dance Academy since 2004. She performed as a member of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre and has received additional training in theatre, music, and voice. As a Young Dancer faculty, she teaches ballet, tap, and jazz, and recently graduated from Worwic Community College with an Associates in Early Childhood Education. Her classes emphasize learning proper technique, while also inspiring students to express themselves, use their imaginations, and most importantly, have fun. In addition to teaching, Britni is also the pianist for Delmar Christian Center, where she works as a youth leader.