Valentina Kozlova was born in Moscow and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School. Ms. Kozlova performed with the Bolshoi Theatre from 1973-1979 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1975. She danced all of the major classical roles. In 1979, while on tour with the Bolshoi Ballet in the US, she defected and immediately was in great demand as guest artist. She marked her Broadway debut in 1982 as Vera Baranova in the revival of On Your Toes, featuring Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue ballet. Ms. Kozlova joined the New York City Ballet in 1983 as Principal Dancer and remained with the company until 1995, dancing lead roles from the repertoires of such dance icons as George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Richard Tanner and Eliot Feld.
The list of Ms. Kozlova’s accomplishments and accompanying accolades when appearing in major international ballet events is endless… Spoleto, La Scala, Florence Opera House, English National Ballet, Paris Opera, Basel Ballet, Australia, Ballet de Santiago (Chile), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires) and Hong Kong. She also appeared in ballet galas in Africa, Greece, England, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Don des Etoiles in Canada, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Her performances on video include the Pavlova Special (CBS), La Fille Mal Gardee (Philips Video, Germany), and Spartacus (VEAR Productions, Argentina).
Ms. Kozlova has also frequently appeared on television, including talk shows and entertainment programs around the world. Following Glasnost, Ms. Kozlova was afforded a triumphant return to Moscow in 1991, with NBC News covering her performance at the Kremlin Palace. Ms. Kozlova returned to Moscow in 1992 to perform the premiere of a new solo, Blue Angel, created for her by choreographer Margo Sappington.
In 1995, Ms. Kozlova and Margo Sappington established Ballet: The Daring Project, a ballet company dedicated to performing new works. Ms. Kozlova also appeared in A Christmas Carol with movie legend Tony Randall and Broadway star Ben Vereen.
In 2003, Ms. Kozlova opened her own dance school, Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory of New York, providing students with the highest level of dance instruction based on traditional Russian Technique and George Balanchine’s fast footwork. The school’s prime location offers a wide variety of culture and diverse activities located nearby. For her students, Ms. Kozlova has staged, directed and produced a variety of works.
In 2009, Ms. Kozlova presented One Magical Performance: The Legacy Gala at The Joyce Theater in New York in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of her defection. Principal dancers from New York City Ballet and ABT appeared as guest artists at this spectacular, sold out event, along with students from the school.
Her most recent project has been to launch Boston International Ballet Competition, a platform for ballet students and professionals to be seen by giants of the ballet world and to further their careers. Describing the first edition — which took place from May 12-16, 2011 at John Hancock Hall in Boston, MA — dance writer Alan Helms decreed it “one of the most exciting events of the year!” Learn more about BIBC at its website, www.bostonibc.org.