MOVING PEOPLE: Valentina Kozlova on Her Surprising Love of Water Skiing, Her Newly Founded Dance Conservatory, and More

Valentina Kozlova
Valentina Kozlova

Valentina Kozlova


Born in Moscow, Russia, Valentina Kozlova is a major innovator in the international ballet world. Formerly a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet, Kozlova is passionate about creating new outlets for fresh talents, hence her conservatory that teaches pure classical ballet; studio company, which made its premiere on Saturday, June 4 at Symphony Space; and annual international ballet competition, which will take place from June 21-23 this year.

Pictured above: Headshot by Rachel Neville / Valentina Kozlova in "Swan Lake"

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Published on June 15, 2022
Headshot by Rachel Neville; images courtesy of Valentina Kozlova


My earliest memory of dancing is ___________

of when I was 5 years old. My mother took me to a public park in Moscow where there was a stage.  Although I had no training yet, I got up on the stage and improvised a dance for the onlookers (and I loved it!).


As far as dance idols go, I was first smitten with ___________

dance in general, I think. I have never had any individual idol.  I appreciate each dancer's special talents.


The most expressive part of the body is ___________

one's soul


An event that transformed my life, dance-related or not, was ___________

when I was 3 years old, I thought of changing from the traditions and rules that I saw around me.


A blissful day in my books constitutes ___________

 being on stage.


___________ is/are underrated.

Some unknown companies


___________ is/are overrated.

Some known companies


My favorite type of apparel to move in is ___________.

 whatever costume a role requires.  I like all costumes.


A drink and/or dish I will never tire of is ___________.

plain old water.


A personal challenge I face is ___________

adjusting to Western life.


A landmark event in my life, the Daring Project mattered because ___________

the dance company, which I co-founded in the '90s, gave opportunities to strong dancers, many of whom were underused in bigger companies.


At my dance conservatory in Connecticut, students can expect ___________

 to learn discipline and receive high quality training.


Compared to the first ballet competition, VKIBC 2022 is ___________.

more structured.  Regarding quality, I can say that that has been high from the beginning.


VKIBC’s estimable judges are selected by way of ___________

my respect for them. I invite judges whom I know to be intelligent and fair.


Despite having already founded a ballet conservatory and an international dance competition, I decided it was time to found my own studio company because ___________

I want to give some professional stage experience to the students.


Paired with gospel music, “Overcome,” which I choreographed as a response to 9/11, was presented at my studio company’s premiere because ___________

I felt that, even 20 years after 9/11, it is still relevant.


Covid has taught me ___________

 how to deal with destruction.


I am looking forward to ___________ in the second half of 2022.

normality in the arts and culture industry (which was impacted by Covid) 


Outside of dance, my greatest pleasure is ___________

water skiing, which I have done in every country I've visited, while enjoying the blue sky.


When people look back at my legacy, I’d like them to think, “Valentina Kozlova was ___________"

a person who never gave up and who continued throughout her life to move forward.

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