VALENTINA KOZLOVA was born in Moscow, where she trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School in the Vaganova method.
She was taken into the Bolshoi Ballet Company and rose through the ranks to be made a Principal Dancer, dancing leading roles in all the classical ballets.
In 1979, she defected to the West in search of artistic freedom and the opportunity to see and learn about dance in the western world. She was invited to perform with the world’s major ballet companies, thus establishing her name worldwide.
George Balanchine invited her to perform on Broadway, where she was given the lead role in the Balanchine/Abbott revival of On Your Toes. Balanchine then asked her to join New York City Ballet as a Principal Dancer. She stayed with the company for twelve years, dancing major works of Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins and others.
She founded Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York (VKDCNY) in 2003 as a school for pre-professional students. Ms. Kozlova’s students have joined ballet companies all over the world, in companies such as Boston Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet, some have already been promoted to Principal Dancer positions, Ms. Kozlova has won numerous outstanding teacher awards.
Because Valentina grew up learning Vaganova at the Bolshoi Ballet School, became a Principal Dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet Company and then a Principal Dancer with the New York City Ballet and now has her own school where pure Vaganova training is taught, she is unique. Her reputation as a teacher and coach is unsurpassed; she is passionate in her resolve to maintain the individual styles of Romantic and Classical ballets and passes her extended training and experience to her students.
She founded VKIBC (Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition) in 2011, a prestigious event which has continued to grow into a rendez-vous where young dancers are seen by the highest echelon of international judges in the ballet world, thereby, in some cases, launching their careers.
Ballet luminaries, including Andris Liepa (Russia), Charles Jude (France), Septime Webre (USA), Mikko Nissinen (Finland) head the list. Ms. Kozlova later added the highly successful VKIBC’s Contemporary Dancer and Choreography Competition. A unique merit of the competitions reside in the prizes which do not stress monetary awards but, instead, strive to offer rewards more useful to the competitors’ careers.
Such prizes have included international school scholarships, company contracts, guest appearances at theaters in Moscow’s Kremlin, London, Riga, Seoul and other renowned companies in the world’s Capital cities. Choreographers have been given commissions for new works by companies internationally and many contemporary dancers have made careers as a result of having danced at the competition.