Faculty

photo Slawomir Wozniak

Artistic Director

Slawomir Woźniak was born on 2 November 1967. In 1977-1986, he attended the Poznań ballet school. He gained his first stage experience partnering artists of Teatr Wielki in Poznań in performances of Cinderella. Slawomir Woźniak’s professional debut took place in 1986 at the Wroclaw Opera where he danced the Prince in Cinderella choreographed by Teresa Kujawa. Wroclaw Opera House Director recognized his talent and invited him to work at that theatre right after school. He was employed there in 1986-1988.

It was in Wroclaw that he met his future wife, also a soloist of ballet company of Wroclaw Opera. Their performance in Swan Lake left an unforgettable impression on all those who had a chance to see it. In 1988 he became a soloist and in 1989 the principal dancer of Teatr Wielki in Łódź. His first premiere there was also Cinderella. Irine Fokine, who prepared the spectacle, invited him to the USA where he appeared in The Nutcracker. On the stage in Łódź, he performed leading parts in classical and modern ballets. Among others, he danced John in Lorca Massine’s, Zorba the Greek, the role which gained him the admiration of the audience in Łódź and Warsaw. It also brought him the nomination of the French magazine Danse for “Revelation of the Year 1992”.

In 1991 he joined the ballet of the National Opera in Warsaw as a first soloist. From 2000-2011 he was a principal dancer with the company. In Warsaw he performed all leading male parts and also gave guest performances at many theaters in Poland and abroad. He was a Guest Artist with Bulgarian National Ballet, Greek National Ballet, Arena Di Verona Ballet and many others. In 2000 Slawomir Woźniak graduated from the Ballet Pedagogy at the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. For many years he had conducted dance courses for young Americans during Summer Intensive programs.

Together with his American partner Kathleen Arcierci, he won a bronze medal at the Third International Ballet Competition in New York in 1990. In 1993 Mr. Woźniak won a bronze medal at the First International Ballet Competition in Nagoya, Japan. Slawomir Woźniak was also a Jury Member for Polish International Ballet Competition in Gdansk, Poland.

 

For the last several years he has also created many choreographies for Ballet, Opera and Drama theatres. His choreographic works include:

  • “Only Love…” Polish National Ballet, Warsaw, Poland – 2002
  • “Comix-Comedy” Polish National Ballet, Warsaw, Poland – 2005
  • “The Nutcracker” full production for Poznan Opera House, Poland – 2006 and Ballet & Friends in Phoenix, AZ – 2007
  • “Peacock and the Maiden” Poznan Opera House, Poland – 2007
  • “Copellia” Poznan Opera House, Poland -2009
  • … and many more.
     
photo Irena Wozniak

Ballet Mistress

Irena Woźniak started her ballet training at the age of eleven in Gdansk, Poland, at the State Ballet School. At age sixteen, while Irena was still a student, she was asked to dance with the Professionals in Opera Baltycke’s, production of Snow White. Irena had the opportunity to train under some of the world’s most esteemed Dancers and Teachers including; Nathalie Bessmertnova, Yuri Grigorovich, Cynthia Harvey, Pierre Lacotte, Natalia Makarova, Lorca Massine, and Irek Mukhamedov, all of whom inspired Irena with an incredible passion for ballet. Irena graduated with high honors after performing and touring in many concerts and galas throughout Europe.

After graduating, Irena received the position of soloist at Wroclaw Opera House in Poland. It was there that she met her husband, Slawomir, as they performed leading roles together, such as Cinderella, Swan Lake and Giselle. Their performance in Swan Lake left an unforgettable impression on all those who were fortunate enough to see it. Irena performed in a host of other ballets including: La Gitana, D’Artagnan and The Three Musketeers, Chopiniana – Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker.

In 1988 Irena joined the Teatr Wielki in Lodz, Poland, along with Slawomir, where they both performed in all of the company’s Repertories and Tours throughout Europe. A few years later, in 1991, Irena joined the Warsaw National Opera House as soloist and she danced with the company until her retirement which brought her to the Valley of the Sun. She moved to Phoenix in 2007 with her husband, while her two sons, Slawomir Jr. and Michal, were training on full scholarships in New York City at American Ballet Theatre.

Since living in Phoenix, Irena has trained hundreds of young dancers at Master Ballet Academy, the studio she owns and operates with her husband Slawomir. Since 2007 her accomplishments as a ballet instructor include training her students for international ballet competitions in Berlin, China, San Diego, Florida, and New York in which they have placed with medals and scholarships. Irena instills in each of her students, her love for ballet, and she passes along her own training and performance experiences. Irena inspires her students with her passion, attention to detail, knowledge of classical ballet, and understanding of expression. All of these qualities make Irena one of the most sought after Instructors in Phoenix.

     
photo Zherlin Ndudi

Ballet, Partnering, Variations

Zherlin began his ballet training at the Private School of Vadim Pisarev and continued at the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation in Germany. Zherlin has enjoyed competing internationally and has received over a dozen awards for his talent. Zherlin has performed as a soloist with Donetsk Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Aalto Ballett Theater, and Orlando Ballet (USA). Zherlin has danced principal roles in Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, and La Bayadere and soloist roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Spartacus.

Zherlin’s George Balanchine repertoire includes Square Dance, Pas de Dix, Jewels, Bouree Fantasque, Ballet Imperial, Symphony in C, and La Valse. Mr. Ndudi joined Ballet Arizona in 2010 and he has danced soloist and principal roles in Symphonie Classique, Topia, Cinderella, and Balanchine’s repertoire. Since 2013 he teaches and performs for Master Ballet Academy.

     
photo Michal Wozniak

Ballet, Boys Variation, Partnering, Stretch & Strength

Michal began his training in gymnastics at age 7, and began his ballet training when he was 10 at the State School of Ballet in Warsaw, Poland. As a student, Michal was invited to perform in ballets and operas at the Great Theatre in Warsaw, and in 2004 was awarded first place in the ballet competition there. In 2006 Michal accepted a full scholarship to study at The School of American Ballet in New York City where he trained for 2 years. Michal continued studying on full scholarship at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.

Since joining Ballet Arizona in 2009, Michal has been featured in Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Petipa’s Raymonda, and Ib Andersen’s The Sleeping Beauty. Michal danced the principal role in George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and Ib Andersen’s Mosiak. Michal toured with Ballet Arizona to perform Andersen’s Diversions at The Kennedy Center, Balanchine’s “Rubies” (from Jewels) at The Chicago Dancing Festival and Andersen’s Play at The Joyce Theatre in New York City.

 

     
photo Slawek Wozniak

Ballet, Boys Variation, Partnering, Stretch & Strength

Slawomir was born into a ballet family: His father was Principal Dancer of the Ballet of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. At age 11, Slawomir began his studies on scholarship at the State School of Ballet in Warsaw, Poland. While at the school he performed in many productions in the national opera house. In 2005 Slawomir won Second Place in the National Ballet Competition in Gdansk, and went on to represent Poland in the International Ballet Competition in Nagoya, Japan.

In 2006 Slawomir accepted a full scholarship to study at The School of American Ballet in New York City where he trained for 2 years. Slawomir joined Ballet Arizona in 2008 and has danced soloist roles in Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperments, and Ib Andersen’s Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. Slawomir has also performed in Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty (Blue Bird), Play, Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section and Petipa’s Raymonda. Slawomir performed in Andersen’s premiere of Diversions at the Kennedy Center in D.C., Balanchine’s “Rubies” (from Jewels) at The Chicago Dancing Festival and Andersen’s Play at The Joyce Theatre in New York City.

     
photo Grand Prix Intensive Teachers