The Valentina Kozlova Dance Foundation (VKDF) is a not-for-profit 501©3 organization that began in 2004 as the DCPP (Dance Conservatory Performance Project). It was created specifically to provide dance students, pre-professional and young professional dancers with performance opportunities, access to renowned ballet figures worldwide, and artistic partnerships.
The VKDF has reached out in various arenas in neighboring communities since its inception in order to fulfill its mission of preserving and supporting classical dance. The Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition (VKIBC) is one initiative of the foundation, born from a desire to give young dancers a platform to compete in a fair, non-political forum. VKIBC has granted awards to dancers consisting of monies, training scholarships, company contracts, and performance opportunities such as those experienced by recipients to appear as guest artists on stages in St. Petersburg & Moscow, Russia and Riga, Latvia. In this manner, VKIBC has endeavored to mold the next generation of dancing artists.
Over the years since its inception, the foundation has participated in numerous outreach activities to bring dance to various environs. Recent outreach efforts have forged a relationship with the ‘Catskill Foundation’, enabling local children and adults with a penchant for the performing arts to partake in an annual ‘Nutcracker’ production in Tannersville, NY. This production reaches audience members who might otherwise not have access to live dance and theatrical experiences in their communities.
The foundation has hosted various educational productions such as ‘The American Dream’ with subsequent question and answer forums to help educate the public regarding the art of dance, its history, education and production. Similarly, a symposium was set up at City Center Studios in 2014 to discuss current affairs in contemporary dance. Major critics of contemporary dance along with directors of both schools and companies of contemporary dance of the day were gathered to discuss and demonstrate the different styles of dance. This encouraged vibrant conversation and audience participation.
In 2015, Ms. Kozlova took her expertise to a boarding school on Long Island, New York to offer formal dance classes and dance demonstration. Following the tutorial, a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ was offered to local audiences. Additionally, the foundation offered a series of master classes over several weeks in the Vaganova style of classical ballet to students in New Jersey and New York, entitled ‘March Into Dance’. Dancers were challenged by the tutorials and enjoyed the master instruction, enabling the dancers to stretch their abilities. Every year, from 2004-2007, VKDF participated in similar tutorials in the New York City borough of the Bronx to offer lecture/demonstration to the students there.
VKDF has most recently coupled with ‘Karts’ in South Korea through the University of Seoul, working to bring young ballet talent to the USA to share their art form with New York audiences. Through the foundation, a panel of dance luminaries participated a lecture/tutorials in Seoul to the delight of both dance students and their teachers at the University of Seoul Department of Dance. Students were delighted to share in a few tutorial tips from their highly regarded mentors.