The Company
About the Metropolitan Ballet

The Metropolitan Ballet, a Twin Cities organization since 2002, is a group of artists with a mission of uniting the communities of dance, music and theater in staging high impact works in the performing art of dance with an emphasis on accessibility, diversity and affordability.

THE METROPOLITAN BALLET A Twin Cities organization founded in 2002 by Artistic Director/Producer Erik Sanborn with a mission of uniting the communities of dance, music and theater in staging high impact works in the performing art of dance with an emphasis on accessibility, diversity and affordability. The company's inaugural production of Prokofiev's Ballet Romeo and Juliet was a rave sellout in 2004. Audiences were once again enthralled with A Classic Gala at the PANTAGES in 2005, which included a celebrity cast and live music. Dracula, A Ballet of Passion Life and Death premiered featuring the choreography of local artists. The 2006-2007 full season at The State Theatre also included Romeo & Juliet, Agnes DeMilles RODEO and A Midsummer Nights Dream. Metropolitan has also performed Carmen by Alberto Alonso, an annual Nutcracker in collaboration with The Kenwood Symphony Orchestra since 2007, a new Dracula set to a new score, Amadeus the Ballet, The Ballet Russes Festival, Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Don Quixote and several classic galas including Chopiniana, Spectre de la Rose, The Dying Swan, The Fairy Dolls, Esmarelda and several contemporary works.

Lirena Branitski - Premiere Instructor
Lirena Branitski was born and trained in the former Soviet Union. M. Branitski was first soloist of the Kiev State Theatre of Opera and Ballet and a frequent guest performer on the stage of the famed Bolshoi Theatre. She became a touring member of the Bolshoi Theatre concurrently with renowned ballet dancer Mikhail Barishnikov. She has performed on stages throughout Europe, Canada and South America. M. Branitski has a vast performance repertoire of soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets. She has performed under all the master Russian choreographers, including the world-renowned Peter Gusev, Vakhtang Tchabukiani, Raisa Struchkova, and Alexander Lapauri. After emigrating to USA in 1980 M.Branitski was teaching at her own school as well at Minnesota Dance Theater. From 1989 to 2006 M.Branitski was teaching and choreographed at Ballet Arts Minnesota. In addition to teaching ballet and character classes at the Dance Institute, M. Branitski has choreographed for student performances. At Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute, she teaches technique class, and coaches company dancers in classical repertoire. Her direct link to Russian classical ballet technique, repertoire and character dance is a rare privilege for Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute. In 2009, M. Branitski was appointed School Principal of the Dance Institute. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Special Citation at the 2012 SAGE Awards.

Founder / Artistic Director
Erik Sanborn, Founder/Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Ballet Company. Mr. Sanborn, a native of Minnesota, founded the Metropolitan Ballet and committed the past 14 years of his 40 year career in the fine arts producing, choreographing and staging high impact ballet works ranging from the historically significant classic to the avant-garde. The Metropolitan Ballet has reached thousands of patrons in sold-out houses under his directorship with a vast selection of works featuring international ballet stars from every corner of the globe. His choreographic style has been noted as "timeless and seamless" and his productions "magical", "exciting", and "stellar".

Mr. Sanborn has performed the principal role in numerous productions including Romeo in the iconic masterpiece by Sir Kenneth MacMillan (Romeo and Juliet) and most ballets in the classical repertoire including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, RODEO, Cinderella and the male lead in CAAM Butterfly Lovers choreographed by world renown Chinese Choreographer, Shen Pei. Other roles include the Nutcracker Prince, Arabian Prince, Snow Cavalier, Blue Bird Pas de Deux.

Mr Sanborn has staged, produced and directed numerous large productions at large venues including The State, Pantages, O'Shaughnessy, Mayo Civic Center, Hopkins Auditorium, Ted Mann Concert Hall and NORTHRUP during his directorship. Full length productions include Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Alberto Alonso's CARMEN Suite, Nutcracker, Dracula, AMADEUS, Ballets Russes Festival, A Midsummer's Night's Dream, Agnes DeMille's RODEO, and two Classic Ballet Gala events that included the master works; The Dying Swan, Afternoon of a Faun, The Fairy Dolls, Polovtsian Dances, Le Spectre de la Rose, Les Sylphides and others. His accomplishments also include choreographing and re-staging several works including Don Quixote, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, AMADEUS, several Nutcracker productions, Paloma and Dracula, Mr. Sanborn is also an accomplished pianist and composer. In 2011 Sanborn composed an new full-length ballet score for DRACULA that he later staged and choreographed. The new work became a sold-out success.

His careers in dance, theater and music have spanned most of his life and have taken him through 25 countries in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Film experiences include principal and feature roles in works with B.B.D.O., Digital Video Works, an ABC Movie with Kate Jackson, Northwest Tele-productions, Goib-Hamburg Germany and Anheuser Busch. Erik was a celebrity guest of the Special Olympics event with Tommy DePaolo and Tippy Hedgrin and has been the subject of interviews with numerous programs including NBC Television, PM Magazine and Twin Cities Live. While living in Europe he worked with Talents International Krystel Flath Agency for clients such as OTTO Versand, Neckermann Versand and Vitamin-Genus. Print works include GQ Magazine, Esquire, and Seventeen Magazine. Theater experience principal roles in "Fannys Funny Farm" the "Braxton Theater" and the Chimera Theater, Collings Fine Arts, the North-East Play House. Commercial work with Carmichael Lynch, Young Rubicam and Saffer-Cravit are other credits to his career.
ANASTASIA FEDOROVA , is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. In 2012, Anastasia was awarded a Gold Medal (1st place) at the International Competition in St. Petersburg. She has worked at the Kremlin Ballet theater for three years and underwent job training at the Bolshoi Academy. In 2014 Anastasia had a leading role (as Lenka Krasnorusktsaya) in a film "Bolshoi," directed by Valeriy Tadorovkiy and was one of the participants in a reality TV show "Russkiy Balet."
Anastasia is now a principal dancer with Metropolitan Ballet. She began dancing with us in 2015 has the sugarplum fairy and then performed as Cinderella in our production in March 2016. Both of these productions were complete sellouts!
Ballet Mistress / Director's Assistant
Haruna Asanuma started her first classical ballet class at the Omaha Academy of Ballet in Omaha, Nebraska, where she trained for four years. She also danced in the Omaha Project for two years run by former ABT dancers, Jon Fagan and Sara Mau, where she danced original works by Jon Fagan, Michelle Garrity, and Sara Mau.
At the age of 18, she took her first steps into the world of Contemporary Dance at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Some of her performances there include, Round Dance, by guest artist Jan Van Dyke, Crossed Purposes, by Susan Levine in collaboration with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, The Personals, by guest artist Jeff Curtis, Trials and Errors by Sarah Brown, among many others. She performed at the regional dance conference, American College Dance Festival Association 2009. She also toured to various venues in New Hampshire and Vermont with the UNL Dance Ensemble.
She took part in American Dance Festival in the summer of 2010, where she participated in a six weeks intensive dance program, where she trained under Jimena Paz and Mark Haim in contemporary dance, as well as African Dance Theatre, under Sherone Price.
In 2010-2011, she studied abroad for one year in London to study at Laban Conservatoire of Contemporary Dance, where she studied under Sonia Rafferty, Jamie DryBourgh, Emma Redding, Glenn Wilkinson, Julia Gleich, and Hagit Yakira, where she trained in Release, Limon, and Cunningham techniques, as well as classical ballet and contemporary jazz. At Laban, she performed a work by Gary Lambert, titled Movement for Boxes, 7 Minutes with Marcel, Broken Hard Drive, Human Slinky. In April of 2012, she worked with choreographer Marianna Batelli and performed in the Prospettiva Danza Teatro Competition in Padova, Italy.
Haruna studied for one year at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, where she worked with guest choreographer Tom Pritchard and others and toured with the SSCD graduate company. She recently received her BA (Hons) Dance Completion Award.
Ballet Instructor
Jessica Fuller
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