Mr. Radoslaw Kokoszka & Ms. Brianna Furnish

Mr. Radoslaw Kokoszka & Ms. Brianna Furnish

Co-Directors, Ballet Renaissance

 

Mr. Radsolaw Kokoksza and Ms. Brianna Furnish are Co-Directors of Ballet Renaissance housed at the historic Detroit Opera House in Michigan and in Estes Park, CO. They are artists in residence this season at Studio West Dance Academy.

 

Mr. Radoslaw Kokoszka, a native of Wodzislaw Sl., Poland, began his early ballet training as a boarding student at the Ludomir Rozycki State Ballet School in Bytom, Poland. At age 13, he moved to the United States with his family, settling in Hamtramck, MI, and was introduced to Ballet Renaissance through the 1999 American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, a three-way collaboration between New York’s American Ballet Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, and Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Dance (then home to Ballet Renaissance). He trained and performed as Furnish’s ballet partner (1999-2002) and Founded the first annual Ballet Renaissance Summer Intensive for Kids (2002). He received numerous talent scholarships and trained at a number of prestigious professional schools including: the Harid Conservatory (FLA), Boston Ballet (MA), Kirov Academy (Washington, DC) and the renowned School of American Ballet (New York), from which he graduated (spring 2003). Mr. Kokoszka choreographed for the New York Choreographic Institute (2002) before dancing professionally for Carolina Ballet (2003-2004), New York’s emerging Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (2004-2006), and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, where he had the great honor of performing George Balanchine’s Don Quixote for the annual acclaimed Edinburgh Dance Festival in Scotland (2006). Kokoszka has trained and perform alongside the world’s greatest talents and maintain alliances with trusted peers and colleagues, bringing a wealth of knowledge and resources to Ballet Renaissance. He is an exceptionally talented, professionally trained and experienced dancer, and a thorough and accomplished instructor and choreographer. Particularly committed to breaking stereotypes regarding male dancers and to providing strong healthy role models for boys, Kokoszka possess a special skill-set for instructing male students in the classical technique. Kokoszka also directs the teen performance troupe (originally developed in 1997 by Furnish).  The troupe is a group of teens and young adults committed to the art form. As a classically trained dancer who is also a seasoned professional performer, he choreographs traditional yet innovative ballets for youth so they may experience standards of classical form .In addition to his responsibilities as Co-Director, instructor and choreographer, he serves as Ballet Renaissance’s Business Manager and graphic designer, developing and maintaining both the Ballet Renaissance web site and all marketing pieces. He performs regularly with ballet partner and Co-Director, Ms. Brianna Furnish, providing young students of Ballet Renaissance, and their families with a unique, up-close experience with professional ballet.

 

 

Ms. Brianna Furnish, a native of Dallas, Texas, is the daughter of a modern dancer, and danced alongside her mother from an early age. At age six, she began formal studies in the Martha Graham modern dance technique, under private instruction with Julliard graduate, Ms. Jerry Bywaters Cochran. At age thirteen, she was encouraged to begin ballet training as a means for augmenting her pursuit of a professional modern dance career, and quickly fell in love with ballet. She trained on talent scholarship, with Dallas Ballet’s professional program, under the direction of Royal Danish Ballet‘s Flemming and Vivi Flindt., when she also first met and trained with the late great Madame Nathalie Krassovska, former prima ballerina with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, who became a significant mentor in Furnish’s personal and professional life. A year later, Furnish was accepted to the acclaimed School of American Ballet in New York, where she had the exceptional opportunity to study with such ballet greats as Mme. Alexandra Danilova, Suki Shorer, Mme. Antonina Tumkovsky, Andrei Kramerevsky and Stanley Williams. She was then accepted to train an additional year at North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied under the careful attention of former New York City Ballet principal dancer, Ms. Melissa Hayden. While continuing private instruction with both Mme. Krassovska and the late Robert Scevers (Harkness Ballet), Furnish performed soloist and principal roles for Irving Ballet, Krassovska’s Ballet Jeunesse and Tennessee Ballet (Memphis).  After moving to Detroit to pursue her love of medicine, she became involved with Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Dance and was given the opportunity to stage a ballet for Detroit All City High School dancers and to teach ballet as traveling Master Class Instructor for the Detroit Opera House’s ABT Giselle outreach program. Inspired by the passion of Detroit Public High School students juxtaposed with their profound inexperience with classical ballet, Furnish founded Ballet Renaissance in June of 1997, as a means for fostering local talent and inspiring community. She taught college ballet as Adjunct Professor for Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Dance (1996-2004) and served as full time high school ballet teacher for Fraser’s Arts Academy in the Woods (2006-2007), as well as Ballet Master Class Instructor throughout Detroit Public Schools (1996-present). In 2006, after ten years of work in the city, Furnish completed her BS in Dance from Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, the school through which her inspiration for Ballet Renaissance had originated. In her passion to teach children, Furnish has developed a curriculum for teaching young children and teaches this curriculum to college dance majors and other interested and qualified interns and instructors. One of her greatest joys is dancing and performing with her partner, Co-Director and Business Manager, Mr. Radoslaw Kokoszka, who has made a profound impact on her life both personally and professionally.