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Dance Students Get Immersed in Russian Culture in Middlebury

This is the fifth year the stateside summer program for dancers ages 9-14 run by the Russian American Foundation has been offered in town.

About 100 lucky dance students — roughly 70 from the US and 30 from abroad — are reportedly taking advantage of a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to train with master teachers from at the Westover School in Middlebury this summer.

This is the fifth year the stateside program for dancers ages 9-14 run by the Russian American Foundation has been offered in town.

Famous dancers and choreographers including Natalia Osipova, Alexei Ratmansky, Natalia Semionova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze reportedly got their start in the Academy.

The RAF runs a similar, counterpart program for older, more advanced dancers at Lincoln Center in New York City.

According to a report in Boston.com, the program not only offers advanced training in dance, it also serves as a "cultural exchange" for the students, who learn Russian language from the instructors, who teach primarily in their native tongue.

"Hopefully by the time they're done, they'll know some Russian language, too," Rina Kirshner, vice president of the Russian American Foundation, told Boston.com.

In addition the academy and foundation offer scholarships for stateside students to travel on scholarship to train in Russia in a program supported by the U.S. Department of State, according to the report.

For more, check out the Boston.com report.

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