Ballet & Identity


  • Anna Korotysheva

    Ballet Master, Choreographer

Anna Korotysheva, Ballet Master

 Anna Korotysheva, is a second generation ballet dancer who, following in the footsteps of her mom, studied at the world-renowned Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg, graduating at the top of her class in 1987 and went on to experience a successful career as a member of the ballet company of the prestigious Mariinsky TheatreToday, Anna is a Ballet Mistress and Choreographer, passing on her treasured knowledge and experience to her students for whom she choreographs classical, modern and original productions

  • Elizabeth Kaye

    Ballet Historian, Writer

Elizabeth Kaye (left) with TFG Founder Elena Alexandra

Elizabeth Kaye is a New York Times best-selling author, dance writer and ballet historian who has lectured on dance, dancers, and ballet history at venues ranging from the Metropolitan Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum to the Kennedy Center, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Music Center in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth has collaborated with our organization on several projects including the Ballet & Identity talk series, which she conducted in August 2020 with Zippora Karz, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet and in September 2020 with Leslie Carothers, a former principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and former Director of the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles.

  • George Birkadze

    Black Belt Ballet Master

George Birkadze

George Birkadze graduated with honors from the prestigious Moscow Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Upon graduating from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, he furthered his studies as a Pedagogy in Dance. In 2002, Birkadze began creating works for world renowned dancer Angel Corella, for whom he would continue to create works in years to come. Currently, Birkadze teaches at the esteemed Boston Ballet.

As a world-renowned ballet dancer and choreographer, George Birkadze brings grace and power to the stage with every move. The same can be said of his second pursuit: mixed martial arts. With black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo and Kyokushin karate, Birkadze bridges the worlds of martial arts and ballet to prove that all dancers are fighters, and all fighters are dancers (see 2-min video below). 

George is collaborating with TFG on the Ballet & Identity© project to create a program for youth where both systems, classical ballet and martial arts, can be combined for the purpose of building a strong Identity.

The Black Belt Ballet Dancer is a short video about George Birkadze, which was published on Feb 6, 2018 on Youtube by Great Big Story in partnership with Reebok ,

Jessy Jean Bart

Champion Skateboarding Pro

 Jessy Jean Bart is a Champion Skateboarding Pro who’s passion for his sport takes it to an art form. Jessy is equally passionate about education that empowers young people to find their way and realize their dreams.

Jessy has been teaching skateboarding in school systems for over a decade.

Now, Jessy is working with The First Guild to introduce a game-changing educational approach into the school system, where the mind and body are equally developed as one unit, stimulating kids to connect with their innate qualities and build themselves up for a purpose-driven and successful life.

Jessy is invested in working with young people involved in the Ballet & Identity program, as this will give his students a performance edge and enable him to coach on a higher & more proactive level.

Play Video

Champion Skateboarding Pro teaming up with The First Guild to bring innovative educational solutions to our schools and community

Gerson Sanginitto

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Master Instructor 

Jiu-Jitsu: Turning Anger into Confidence: How does BJJ relate to identity?

TFG collaborator, 30-year Jiu-Jitsu black belt and master instructor Gerson Sanginitto and founder of Gerson Sanginitto BJJ school said the following in his interview (Jiu-Jitsu: Turning Anger into Confidence) with one of TFG’s Founders: 

It translates completely to identity. People come here and they cannot look me in my eyes. And you can see that their self-esteem is very low because life is put them down somehow. I was just talking to one of my students who is a higher belt here. I remember him one year ago. He changed completely. You see how he’s acting now – he stands up, he looks into your eyes, he talks to you like a man, he demands respect, he gives respect. He’s not like that guy that he was a year ago who could not look into my eyes and looked to the side when I ask him a question.

Another TFG collaborator, George Birkadze, a black belt in BJJ and professional ballet dancer, states that ballet helps him to be better in martial arts. He believes that combining classical ballet and BJJ would greatly help our youth to form a strong Identity.