Founding Artistic Directors

Virginia Ballet Company and School was established to provide classical ballet education of the highest quality and stage pre-professional productions in the Washington metropolitan area. In 1950 our Founding Artistic Directors, Tatiana Rousseau and Oleg Tupine, began sharing their Vaganova training and professional experience with students in Northern Virginia. Ms. Rousseau, a pupil of Madame Olga Preobrajenska in Paris, was associated with Le Ballet de Jeunesse of Paris, Le Theatre des Champs Elysees and the Agrenieff Ballet Company. Mr. Tupine was a principal dancer with the Original Ballet Russe and joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1949 as premier danseur, partnering such notables as Alexandra Danilova, Mia Slavenska and Maria Tallchief.

Our Founding

More than 70 years ago the nucleus of the Virginia Ballet Company and School was established to provide classical dance education of the highest quality and to stage performances of exceptional artistic merit in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Virginia Ballet Company and School is proud of its outstanding classical ballet and contemporary dance training program and the performance opportunities it provides to our students.  Through our curriculum we instill self-discipline and confidence as well as the technique required for students’ success in both college and professional companies. Through our performance opportunities, our students learn the responsibility and commitment inherent in theatrical discipline. Performance also gives students the opportunity to show and apply the technique learned in class and experience the full impact of being involved in a professionally staged production. Through their involvement with music and dance, students learn that dance is a universal art form and language that bridges international cultures. These are vital skills our students take with them to succeed in life.

We are both proud of and grateful for our history, our distinguished faculty, and the young women and men who train to become fine dancers, many of whom earn scholarships and awards, attend select college dance programs, or gain positions with elite professional dance companies.

Tish Cordova

Artistic Director Emeritus

Ms. Cordova began her training with Tatiana and Oleg Tupine in 1976 and performed many featured roles with Virginia Ballet Company. In 1986 she accepted a contract to dance with the Tulsa Ballet Theatre. As a soloist for Tulsa, Ms. Cordova performed principal roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Lev Ivanov’s Nutcracker, the Rancher’s Daughter in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, and the High Priestess in Arthur Mitchell’s Rhythmetron. While with Tulsa, her repertoire expanded to include George Balanchine’s Mozart Violin Concerto, Lew Christensen’s Filling Station, Ruth Page’s Carmen and The Merry Widow, and Frederic Franklin’s Tribute. She has worked with many distinguished choreographers including Frederic Franklin, Peter Anastos, Larry Long and Esmerelda Agogliev. In 2004, Ms. Cordova assumed the title of Artistic Director of the Virginia Ballet Company and School and continues to teach the same standards and techniques that she was taught as a student by Tatiana Rousseau and Oleg Tupine. With her own professional experience, she continues to stage the full-length classical ballets of the Virginia Ballet Company repertoire. As Artistic Director, she has choreographed many well received full-length ballets, such as Snow White, and one-act ballets including Firebird, Concerto in G and Grand Tarantelle. She has recently choreographed Cinderella, which will be performed in full in Spring 2020 as part of our 70th Anniversary Celebratory Season. Ms. Cordova is the former President and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Dance Coalition, bringing together the Virginia dance community for advocacy and collaboration, promoting dance awareness through performance and education.