2018 Update - Eli, Adam, Matisse, Elizabeth, Javier, Luis, Mikhael, Edgar

Happy New Year and thank you for all of the inquiries requesting updates on our kids...

Eli has graduated from the prestigious Royal Ballet Academy in London.  He is now preparing to audition for companies.  On his list are Royal Ballet (of course),  San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theater.  Eli is on Instagram @Eli.Raphael.

Adam is at Columbia University in NYC where he is back to dancing (modern) after taking a year off to rehab shoulder (car accident) and knee (dancing) injuries.  

Luis continues his tenure dancing for the Des Moines Ballet Company where he just completed the 2017 Nutcracker run. His alter ego, Yzma S. Diamond Rosenberg, performs in the evenings at a local Des Moines nightclub.  Follow Luis on Instagram @Ysma.Diamond.

Matisse is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.  She is now dancing with the Bolshoi in Moscow where they have just completed a European tour.  She is amazing and beautiful.  Matisse has a Russian boyfriend and you can follow her/them on Instagram @Matisselove. 

Mikhael is in France having graduated from a full scholarship at the Princess Grace Ballet Academy.  He is now a corps dancer with Opera National du Rhin.  (Dad is on board with his chosen occupation.)

Elizabeth danced for a couple of years in Utah with Ballet West and is now dancing again in Los Angeles while attending school at Santa Monica College.

Javier was accepted as one of the youngest dancers at the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto where he is shining.  He is on a direct path to fulfilling his lifelong wish of becoming a professional ballet dancer.

Edgar is attending California State University in Fullerton where he is studying business.  He is an accomplished ballroom and ballet dancer.  He helps teach at his parent's dance school and participates in ballroom competitions. 




PBSSoCal to air Getting To The Nutcracker this weekend.

Getting To The Nutcracker's one hour version will kick off the holiday season again with the following dates and times:  

PBS SoCal 1

Saturday 11.18.17 at 6 PM

Sunday 11.19.17 at 11 AM

PBS SoCal2

Thursday 11.16.17 at 6 PM

Friday 11.17.17 at 3 AM and 10 AM

Sunday December 10th at 5 PM



See what's next for Director, Serene Meshel - Dillman

Work in progress:  The 5th Dementia Documentary

The 5th Dementia, is a diverse band featuring former professionals from a range of socioeconomic and educational backgrounds who now struggle to remember anything at all due to their illnesses. 

Alzheimer's, Dementia, Parkinson's.

They come together to play and sing a list of songs compiled by their bandleader.  When the music starts, they are transformed. The rhythms and melodies stir something deep within them.  These men and women, leading lives with almost no social interaction who show very little emotion outside the rehearsal space, dive right into flawless execution without a single page of sheet music.  Memories otherwise entirely unreachable are unlocked.  The music has a euphoric and quality of life changing impact.

Through uniquely personal stories, from inspiring daily triumphs to the sobering toll of slow mental decline, viewers of The 5th Dementia Documentary will see an emotional, revealing look at this inexplicable phenomena. 


Eli, Luis, Matisse, Javier, Mikhael, Edgar Updates 2017

Updates on dancers highlighted in Getting To The Nutcracker.

Eli Gruska-

I am nearing the end of my second year at The Royal Ballet School in London. I also am completing my senior year of high school online, which adds to my load significantly. Needless to say, my life has been extremely busy and full on. However, I am enjoying it so much- living in London around so much beauty and culture whilst receiving this world class training makes me feel lucky to say the least. A recent highlight has been being 1 of 6 students asked to represent the school for a week at the Assemblé Internationale Festival in Toronto, which occurs every four years and unites 21 top tier ballet schools. The festival is hosted by The National Ballet School in Canada (where Javier studies now) so it was wonderful to see him.  Such a small world!  I also got the opportunity to produce my own choreography on my colleagues, which culminated in a performance. The rest of this school year is leading up to the exhilarating end of year show on the Royal Opera House stage. After that, I plan on spending a nice summer back home with family and friends before leaping into my graduate year, involving a search for a professional company contract.

Javier Wong-

Javier's father, Ken let us know that Javi and Eli were briefly united in Toronto.  The Festival (see Eli's post) was live streamed. Click here to view on their website.  Both Eli and Javier were part of the finale (session 38 and 44).  Javi was front row in the "Canadiana Reel" for the first piece and Eli danced in the last piece.  Javier misses LA but loves his training at the National Ballet School. The school is extremely competitive and he is hopefully awaiting his re-acceptance to continue next year.

Luis Delcid-

Luis is doing well in Des Moines where he is dancing, choreographing and teaching classes at Ballet Des Moines. He enjoys the night life that Des Moines has to offer!  You can follow him at @yzma.diamond on Instagram and Facebook.


Matisse Love-

Mimi, Matisse's mom, has let me know that Matisse has been working very hard at the Bolshoi Academy in Russia.  She has been placed in second course Russian which is extremely advanced and she is in class with all Russian girls who have been at the academy since they were 9 years old and younger.  They are all the best of the best!  Matisse is studying and rehearsing for her final exams where she will perform on the Bolshoi's stage.  She loves the academy and feels honored for the opportunity to be learning from and following in the footsteps of the teachers who have taught some of the greatest ballet dancers.  Matisse also has a Russian boyfriend which helps in learning the nuances of the Russian language!

Mikhael Kinley-Safronoff-

Mikhael received a contract with the Royal Swedish Ballet and Ballet National du Rhin in France.  He is currently finishing his season with Princess Grace Academy and will begin his professional career with .... Ballet National du Rhin on August 21st!  His father is pleased with his success and is slowly coming around to accepting Mikhael's choice in life to be a dancer.  CONGRATULATIONS MIKHAEL!!  BRAVO.

Edgar Khachaturov-

Edgar's mom Shushana says that Edgar is doing well at Fullerton University where he is majoring in business.  He teaches ballroom and ballet classes at the Shushan Dance Studio (shushandancestudio.com) and will be performing La Corsair in June at Lanterman Auditorium with choreography by his father Alexander Khachaturov.  

 Eli Gruska at The Royal Ballet School in London

Eli Gruska at The Royal Ballet School in London

 Luis Delcid

Luis Delcid

 Matisse Love at Bolshoi Academy, Moscow

Matisse Love at Bolshoi Academy, Moscow

 Mikhael Kinley-Safronoff at Academie Princesse Grace in France

Mikhael Kinley-Safronoff at Academie Princesse Grace in France

 Edgar Khachaturov in Los Angeles   

Edgar Khachaturov in Los Angeles


PBS stations: Getting To The Nutcracker is available TODAY from NETA. Upload is 9.23.16 15:30 - 16:30ET/HD4 *Feed for record

The one hour version of Getting To The Nutcracker will air nationally on PBS stations again this upcoming holiday season.  

PBS stations will be uploading the doc from the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) today for their holiday schedules.  

Check your local listings for presentation dates and times in November and December.  

HO HO HO...!


Updates for 2016...

Here is an update on some of our featured dancers...

Eli Gruska:  Eli has spent the last year with The Royal Ballet School.  In his own words "I am still absolutely loving TRBS and living on my own in London.  The days are long (8:30 - 6) and the training is demanding, but it's the perfect place for me and the hard work is all worth it when I see the improvement.  We have just barely delved into the rehearsal process for the end of the year performance on the Royal Opera House Main Stage, which is very exciting for me as it will be my first time performing there.  It has been a dream of mine for ages and I can't wait for it to come true."  Eli has since returned to Los Angeles for his summer break.  The end of semester performance went beautifully!

Matisse Love:  Matisse spent last semester training with the Bolshoi in Russia.  She had been invited by the school after winning first place in their summer intensive program.  She was placed in second course Russian which was extremely advanced and she was in class with all Russian girls who had been dancing at the Bolshoi since they were little.  Matisse studied hard and rehearsed for her final exams which she passed when she performed on the Bolshoi stage.  She loves it and feels very honored to have the opportunity to be learning and following in the footsteps of so many amazing dancers and teachers.  Matisse is back in Los Angeles for her summer break enjoying the sun and friends.  She turned 17 today!  Happy Birthday Matisse.

Mikhael Kinley Safronoff:  Mikhael has been training on full scholarship at Princess Grace of Monaco Ballet Academy in France.  (His dad is French and lives there).   He injured his left ankle which ended up requiring surgery in April and has recuperated well.  He received a scholarship to attend the Dresden Summer Course in Germany for 2 weeks at the end of July.  

Luis Delcid:  Luis has been dancing with Ballet Des Moines where had roles in Nutcracker as well as other classical and contemporary pieces.  He has been teaching the kids' ballet classes at the school and working part time at Dillards during the company break.  

More updates to come soon on Javier, Adam, Elizabeth and Edgar


GETTING TO THE NUTCRACKER holiday screenings with Q and A's at Laemmle Theaters

Getting to The Nutcracker will have holiday theatrical screenings at Laemmle Theaters from 12.5 - 12.10.15.

Q and A's with Director, Serene Meshel-Dillman and special guests from the film after each show.  Free tickets to be given away at each Q and A for the Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre's Live Nutcracker performances 12.11, 12.12 and 12.13.

12/5 & 12/6 at 10:30AM at the Royal in West LA

12/7 7:30PM at the Royal in West LA

12/8 7:30PM at the Town Center in Encino

12/9 7:30PM at the Playhouse in Pasadena

12.10 7:30PM at the Monica in Santa Monica 

Tickets go on sale December 1st.  Click here for tickets and information.

GETTING TO THE NUTCRACKER to air nationally on PBS

LOS ANGELES - November 2, 2015 - A one-hour version of the award-winning documentary feature, Getting to The Nutcracker will be airing nationally on most PBS stations this holiday season.  Check your local listings for dates and times.

PBSSoCal will air the film 11.17 at 7:00 pm, 11.21 at 4:00 pm and 12.21 at 10:00 pm.  

Additionally PBSSoCal Plus will air the film 12.17 at 10:00 pm and 12.18 at 7:00 am and 2:00 pm.

This is the first time the critically acclaimed audience favorite will be shown on television.

See the Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker LIVE 12.11, 12.12 and 12.13 at the Luckman Theatre in Los Angeles.  Go to NutcrackerLA.com for tickets.

Where are they now...?

Adam, Eli, Matisse, Luis, Mikhael, Elizabeth and Edgar

Since filming Getting to The Nutcracker:

Adam Bernstein:  Trained on full scholarship in New York City with the performing company of the Joffrey Ballet School, The Joffrey Ballet Concert Group.  He competed at Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland and was offered a full scholarship for the summer intensive at Nederlands Dans Theater in the Hague. He then attended the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm where he was soon invited to the NuDans residency program at GoteborgsOperans Danskompani in Goteborg, Sweden.  Since Adam is no slouch, he simultaneously graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and applied to and was accepted at Columbia University.  He has deferred his admission.  Finally, Adam was named a 2015 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and is currently a member of Ballet Junior de Geneva in Switzerland.

Eli Gruska:  Attended the Royal Ballet School in London for summer session where he was offered a full time place in their three year diploma program. He is thrilled and honored to be studying there as this has been his dream for as long as he can remember.  He is very grateful to Mr. Marat, Miss Hasmik, Miss Stella and Miss Andi for the excellent training during his years at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet that made where he is now possible.

Luis Delcid:  Was accepted on full scholarship at The Rock School for Dance Education and The Kirov Academy of Washington D.C.  During his time at The Kirov Academy, Luis was the first student to showcase his own choreography.  After graduating, Luis moved back to Los Angeles to work with the Los Angeles Ballet as a teacher and choreographer.  Luis was part of Tulsa Ballet's second company during the 2014 - 2015 season and is now eager and excited to dance with Ballet Des Moines while also teaching at the School of Classical Ballet and Dance.

Elizabeth:  Competed at YAGP 2014 in San Francisco where she received 1st place in the Senior Women's Category and top 12 in 2015 in Denver for classical Dance.   She is currently training with Ms. Olga Tozyiakova in preparation for joining Ballet West as a trainee in January 2016 where she has received a full merit scholarship.  She is excited and hopeful to soon be part of their company.  She plans to complete all of her academic high school requirements by fall 2015 at Beverly Hills High School.

Mikhael:  Is currently on full scholarship in Monte Carlo, France at the Academie de Danse Princesse Grace. He will be performing in this season's Nutcracker with Ballets De Monte-Carlo. Mikhael hopes to eventually join The Royal Ballet, Paris Opera, ABT, or Zurich Ballet.  The Ballets De Monte-Carlo's Nutcracker performances will be broadcast live on December 30th.  Here is a link for more information: Mikhael

Edgar:  Spent the last couple of years doing ballroom dancing.  He is currently in rehearsals to dance the role of Prince in this season's Nutcracker Ballet with Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre. He continues to train with Marat Daukayev at The Marat Daukayev School of Ballet.  

Matisse:  Was the Cinderella ballet model for the Marinsky production of Cinderella in Los Angeles this past October.  Last summer, she received a full scholarship to the Bolshoi Ballet's summer intensive where she garnered a 1st place prize dancing the role of Paquita and the pas de deux from Corsaire to train and perform in their spring gala. From there she was offered a spot to study with the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow starting February 2016.  She plans to continue her studies from Russia online so she can graduate from Beverly Hills High School with her class.  Til then, she continues to train with Marat Daukayev and will again perform the role of Sugarplum in this season's Nutcracker with the Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre.  She is "very grateful to Marat and Pamela for all of the incredible opportunities and amazing training."

Javier:  Is at The School of Dance in Ottawa, Canada in their "professional program".  He is now 11 years old and is taking 7 classes per week.   He is thrilled to be dancing the role of "Dieter" (Masha's naughty little brother) in this year's Nutcracker production with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.