“Tippy toe and stop, tippy toe and stop. Look left, look right.” Anastasiia Fedorova’s Russian accent draws out in methodic timing to the rhythm, as her class of tiny tutu-clad students soak up every bit of her elegant ballerina stature and poise. Fedorova is a real deal professional ballerina. Born in Moscow, she’s been dancing she was 5 years old. After studying and graduating from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia, Fedorova has traveled the globe performing in some of the most renowned ballet companies in the world. Now, she’s bringing her classically-trained technique and expertise to little dancers right here in New Jersey, at American Russian Ballet in Hackensack.
Learning from the best at American Russian Ballet
American Russian Ballet is the creation of Fedorova and her husband, Nicholas Tordella, who encouraged her to lean into her passion for teaching.
“Every time she would teach a class somewhere, the child or the parent would want to follow her. They wanted that specific class. They wanted her,” said Tordella.
After years of teaching in many different schools as she continued her professional career, Fedorova says she realized there was a need that wasn’t being met.
“Most schools in the U.S. may use the Russian (Vaganova) method of ballet, but not until students are older. At my school, from the age of 2 ½ I can teach it to them and give them a real basis and foundation,” Fedorova said.
That method is visible in even the youngest, most beginner class. Sitting in watching the 2 ½ to 4-year-olds, you can see Fedorova’s dancer’s brain churning away as she calmly directs them in simple, classic ballet choreography while not missing a beat during potty requests, wandering interest or other typical toddler-esque distractions.
“She’s nurturing like a teacher, and persistent with the correct choreography. But, she understands they are kids. That’s very comforting as a mother,” said Biljana Angjushev, whose 4-year-old daughter Eva is a student at American Russian Ballet.
“I give them the feeling of play, but also develop their talent to prepare for real professional ballet school,” said Fedorova.
And for some of her older students, that preparation can be one-on-one training for auditions, specialized schools and competitions.
“I can really share my knowledge with these kids, and maybe see them as professional dancers like me one day,” Fedorova said.
From rhythmic dance and pre-ballet to classical ballet, point technique, and contemporary, American Russian Ballet aims to provide a strong foundation for budding talent, something Fedorova says is one of her favorite things about teaching.
Plans for expansion at American Russian Ballet
The school has been rapidly growing since opening last year, with plans in the works to add modern and character dance classes in addition to their extensive ballet program. For parents of little dancers learning from Fedorova, that means the sky is the limit.
“She’s doing way more than I expected. Anastasiia has taught her so much, “ said Dinara Nesovski, whose daughter Danelya is in the 4-year-old class.
American Russian Ballet
255 Hudson St, Hackensack, NJ 07601