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Get The Ink Out: Dancing with commitment

December 03, 2010|By Jamie Rowe

Devyn, who started dancing at the same time as Sam, almost quit three years ago, but then he got serious.

"Dmitri pushes you a lot," he said. "He'll make you do something 50 times in class." But, he said, the students really learn the techniques.

In fact, the theme of a strong, but caring teacher came up with each student.

"Dmitri is very nice and really cares about his students," Mason said. "He puts everything into us."

"I'm happy to contribute to this school," Patrick said. "I'm learning a lot from Dmitri, [his wife] Jennifer and the other coaches."

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In speaking to the Maries at the same time and then the Snow Queens at the same time, I picked up very quickly that the studio isn't just teaching technique. It gives the students a chance to make friends, feel at home and grow as people.

The girls laughed and shared inside jokes, proving they are comfortable with each other.

Dmitri was kind enough to give me a front row seat for rehearsals Wednesday night. The students are right. They are amazing, but not just for what they can do in pointe shoes or ballet flats, which was certainly impressive. Beyond that, they have poise, grace and a thirst for life that's incredibly rare to find.

I'll be at Saturday night's show and I hope to see you there.

Web Editor JAMIE ROWE can be reached at (714) 966-4634 or jamie.rowe@latimes.com. Squee loves his new jungle gym, generally known as the Christmas tree, although he still doesn't understand why Mom yells when he knocks it over.

If You Go

What: "The Nutcracker" featuring Tiit Helimets

Who: Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy with the Orange County Ballet Theatre

When: Noon and 6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Northwood Performing Arts Theatre, Irvine

Cost: Tickets are $28 if you call the academy. For group rates, call the academy.

Information: (949) 360-4233 or ocnutcracker.com

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