Slavin Nadal School of Ballet: 1989-2015
Pure Classical Ballet. Traditional Russian Technique. Artistic Excellence.
Prior to opening the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet in 1989, Eugene Slavin and Alexandra Nadal founded Ballet Austin and the Ballet Austin Academy (1983), and served as Artistic Directors of Ballet Austin and its predecessors – Austin Civic Ballet and Academy – for 17 years (1972 – 1989). Slavin and Nadal were Principal dancers with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet before arriving in Austin in 1972.
The training at the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet from 1989 to 2015 reflected the background of its Founders. During their years with Ballet Austin, the Slavins developed an upper level ballet curriculum inspired by the Vaganova method they had learned directly from Vera Volkova – a student of Agrippina Vaganova herself. However, because the Vaganova curriculum was designed for students with very specific physical capabilities (extreme turnout and flexibility, specific body proportions, height, weight, etc) many elements were adapted to suit a more diverse student population.
During her 25 years as co-director of the Slavin-Nadal School of Ballet, Alexandra Nadal focused almost exclusively on the development and refinement of a pre-ballet and beginning ballet curriculum for students aged 3 to 10 that would prepare them for the transition to Eugene Slavin’s classes at the Intermediate I level. Nadal personally taught a vast majority of the lower school classes until 2010, when she began to gradually “pass the pointe shoe” to Tiffany Loos, her protegée of seven years. During this period, as Eugene Slavin eased into retirement, Nadal shifted her focus to teaching the upper level students (Intermediate I to Advanced).
The Slavin Nadal curriculum emphasized the beautiful art of épaulement from the earliest years of training, ensuring that this critical element of classical ballet was naturally integrated into the dancer’s movement. The upper level curriculum drew from the founders’ extensive professional experience, as well as including some of the best from the French, English and Danish systems.
Students who studied under Eugene Slavin and Alexandra Nadal had fulfilling careers as corps de ballet, soloists and principal dancers with ballet companies in the United States and Europe, as well as starring on Broadway and London’s West End. Most significant, however, are the hundreds of students of all levels and ages whose lives they enriched with dance and all that it can give the body and spirit.