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Swan Lake Ballet Studio

Swan Lake Ballet Studio

Since she started classical ballet lessons at a very young age, Ganna Kotenko has found plenty of inspiration in the lifelong hobby and art form.

However, for the Crimea, Ukraine native, there was one ballet teacher in her home country who truly inspired Kotenko to do something with ballet.

The teacher--who continued to give lessons until the age of 80--died two years ago. And at the suggestion of her mother, Kotenko has decided to carry on her former teacher's legacy.

Kotenko opened Swan Lake Ballet Studio in May 2012 in Building 13 of Banbury Place. She teaches classical ballet for ages five to eight, nine to twelve and a few older students.

"The main idea was to open up a classical ballet studio because classical ballet is my main skill," Kotenko said.

Now a ballet master, Kotenko practiced ballet four to six hours per day, eventually winning first place at the Pearl of Crimea festival in Forok, Ukraine, where ballet is a major tradition.

Kotenko, 23, moved to the United States at age 14 and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Houston. She also performed with the Bay Area Houston Ballet Theater. Since relocating to Eau Claire roughly five years ago, Kotenko earned a degree in math at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a minor in dance.

Kotenko said she hopes to pass some of her skills on to up-and-coming dancers. Her lessons begin with the very basics for younger students. As the dancers get older, Kotenko shares parts of her dance repertoire, which includes "Nutcracker," "Carmen," "Swan Lake" and "Don Quizote."

Credit: Rob Hanson, Leader-Telegram

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