Ballet Jete Company
Ballet Jete’ Company is designed for ballet dancers who want to be trained to perform on a professional level, and KDT’s Ballet Mistress, Milena Leben, serves as Artistic Director. Her goal is to promote arts education and to prepare her students who desire to go on to become professional dancers, or to continue on in their study of dance at the university level. Those in the company spend countless hours in the dance studio training in ballet technique and choreography. These elite dancers will receive more performing opportunities throughout the year including being featured in KDT’s annual performances of The Nutcracker and “Enchanted Evening.” They also participate in many other community performances at the Jewish Community Center, Dance Houston festivals, NASA functions, and have competed at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). Prerequisite: enrollment in level 4 or higher in the Vaganova Graded Ballet Program and auditions required
Milena Leben, Ballet Mistress, comes to us from Columbia, South Carolina, where she was the choreographer for the Columbia Classical Ballet. Ms. Leben trained at the Ballet Academy in Yugoslavia, under Russian instructors Nina Kirsonova and Marina Olenina. At the age of 12 she was awarded a scholarship to the Sadlers Ballet Academy (now called the Royal Ballet) in London. At age 13, she studied in Paris with Paris Opera Ballet Master Raymond Franchetti. She danced with principals from Paris Opera Tessa Boumont’s company and was accepted into the corps of Zagreb Opera Ballet at age 16, and was promoted to soloist after just one year. Four years later she became the Prima Ballerina with the Croatian National Theatre. Milena has danced principal roles in almost all the classical ballets including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Cinderella, and Don Quixote, among others. She has also danced Balanchine works with Una Kay, principal from American Ballet Theatre. She partnered with Marius Liepa and Peter Brouer of the Stuttgart-Munchen Ballet and many others. Milena has toured Europe, Japan, United States, Middle East, and India. She was awarded Yugoslavia’s Best Dancer of the Year 3 times, and her work as a choreographer has earned her a first prize award in the International Arts Festival in Venice and Prague and was televised throughout Europe. Her choreography for The Nutcracker was voted Best Performance of the Year 2000 in South Carolina, and she was awarded Best Choreographer in 2001. Her students have been awarded 1st and 2nd place in the New York Ballet competitions and received full scholarships to ABT and the Kirov Academy. Her choreography credits include: Giselle, The Nutcracker, Camelot, Madame Butterfly, La Fille Mal Garde, The King and I, Pied Piper, Bolero, Carmina Burana, and Evita. Ms. Milena was also Ballet Mistress for Royal Academy of Fine Arts for 6 years. She now serves as Ballet Mistress for KDT, teaching all of the Graded Division Ballet classes including Pointe, and also serves as the Director of the Ballet Jete’ Company.