One step at a time 

Indianapolis School of Ballet
502 N. Capitol Ave., Ste. B
Registration/placement dates: Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Classes begin Aug. 21

Passion, expertise and solid business sense form the foundation upon which prima ballerina and choreographer Victoria Lyras is building a ballet school in Indianapolis. Based on the eclectic principles of New York’s School of American Ballet, teachers come with a wide variety of professional experiences.

Lyras trained at American Ballet and danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet for seven years before pursuing her current career as a freelance guest artist, choreographer and master teacher. “The American dancer has to be able to adapt to all styles,” Lyras explained. “This is the training I had, reflecting a fusion of many styles, including from Russia, England, France, but not exclusive to anyone alone. Ballet has been affected by modern dance and has in turn influenced modern techniques. Ballanchine brought this philosophy to us. His idea was that a [dance] school is a foundation for anything in your future.

“When we’re busy with performing careers that’s the focus, but I also was taught to pass it on. So having my own school, nurturing a new generation of dancers in the careful manner in which I was cared for has been my dream over a 25-year career [from apprentice to principal dancer].”

The 36-week fall/spring school year offers three main programs: pre-professional for ages 7 to young adult; young children for 4- to 7-year-olds; and the open dance program for ages 13 to adult.

“We want to be inclusive for the whole family, to make dance a part of family life,” Lyras adds. “All students will explore the joys of dancing and have the opportunity to reach their desired level of achievement.”

The pre-professional program is an intensive, graded course of study. The young children’s program is designed to spark innate creativity and build a foundation for more in-depth technical training. The open dance program offers classes in ballet, tap, jazz and ballroom.

Lyras moved to Indianapolis in 2003, but her connections with the city go back almost 20 years. Her brother, acclaimed pianist Panayis Lyras, was artist-in-residence at Butler University prior to his present position as artist-in-residence and professor of piano at Michigan State University. Lyras’ son is currently in his senior year at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in music performance. Most significant, however, were Lyras’ appearances as a guest artist with the original Indianapolis Ballet Theater.

“Every organization has something unique to offer. I believe the Indianapolis School of Ballet fills a void in Indianapolis. We will add to the fine programs already in place,” Lyras said.

The founding board of directors includes Lorraine Price, a realtor and arts patron, K. Philip Watts, president of the Athenaeum Foundation, and Karl Zimmer, businessman-philanthropist.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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