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The History of Firebird Dance Studio
In 1991, Firebird Dance School — known then as the Lysaya Dance School — was born. Founded by world-renowned teacher and choreographer Roza Lysaya after her immigration to the US from the USSR, Firebird began as a small class of 6 students, focusing on traditional folk dances from Russia and around the world. Fast forward to the present, and we now have well over 100 participants ranging from the age of 18 months in our youngest group to the adults in our performing dance troupe, Firebird Dance Theatre. Under the direction of Lotta Lysaya Burton since 1999, Firebird has continued to expand with more classes and performances, and win over larger and larger audiences locally, nationally, and around the world. Our repertoire of dances and classes has broadened into a unique program with a fusion of modern, folk, lyrical, ballet, and ballroom dance, and is taught by dedicated, talented instructors.
Read more about our instructors on the staff page.
Firebird has reached many achievements over the years. Some recent highlights include June 2006 when, as part of our 15th Anniversary celebration, Firebird Dance School and Theatre premiered their unique reinvention of the classic story, Alice in Wonderland, followed by a tour to Montreal, Canada, with a performance at the prestigious Place Des Artes.
Wasting no time, in 2007, they debuted their next show, Quintessence, with performances throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in theaters such as the Palace of Fine Arts and Zellerbach Hall. In this show, Lotta Lysaya Burton created a unique theatrical experience which featured live performances from the world-renowned Licedei Clowns and famous Russian rock bands Ivan Kupala and Redi Elvises who interacted with the Firebird Dancers.
Also in 2007, Firebird moved to our new beautiful studio home in Mountain View. The studio, provides a convenient, beautiful and inspirational setting for all of our dancers. Read more about the studio facilty here.
In 2008, Firebird Dance Theatre premiered Simcha, a warm and celebratory dance show, embracing the ideas of family, tradition, change, and love. They have performed Simcha throughout the Bay Area.
You can see photos of this recent show in our photo gallery.
Currently, Firebird is working on their fourth and newest original show, Imaginarium, which will premiere in May 2011, as part of our 20th Anniversary celebration. Check out more info about Imaginarium.
You can read more about our past original shows on the Theatre Page.
Performing, Travelling, and Touring
Lysaya Dance Ensemble has had a history of traveling and performing, including trips to the international Children’s Center ARTEK in Ukraine, where we participated in dance festivals and won two years in a row; following that, the ensemble participated in the 2000 International Freindship Festival, in Knesset, Israeli Parliament. Lysaya Dance Ensemble has also performed on Las Vegas’ famous Fremont Street, as well as on board the Cruiseship Elation. Our dancers have also performed on the best stages in San Francisco, such as the Russian Cultural Center, The Palace of Fine Arts, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, City Hall, Union Square, and Herbst Theater.
Recognition and Honors
Among their other audiences worldwide, Firebird Dance Theatre and students of Firebird Dance School have performed for San Francisco Mayors Willy Brown and Gavin Newsom, the Society of Artistic Heritage of Quebec, and the Israeli Parliament. In 2004, they received the “Outstanding Performance” honor from the Society of Artistic Heritage of Quebec and in 2006 were invited back to perform in the Quebec Folklore Dance Festival in Montreal’s Place Des Arts Theater.
You can read more about our various recognitions and awards on the Awards and Testimonials Page