Founder and President, Betty Webster
Betty Webster has been the Founder and President of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre for 28 years.
She studied with Leon Folkine, John Sergieff, Madame Nina Niketina and Marion Venable in Washington, D.C. and appeared with the National Ballet in Washington, D.C. Her tenacity and ability to cultivate talent has been evidenced by the success of the students that have come through the leadership of her school-the Salisbury Studio of Dance-for 50 years. In June 1999, Webster received recognition from Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council for her outstanding service to the community and the field of the performing arts, and in March 2001, she was presented with the “Woman of the Year” Award for her efforts and accomplishments to further the arts in our community. In 2010, she was awarded Dance Teacher of the Year by Dance Teacher Magazine. Involved in dance on the Eastern Shore for over five decades, she has helped thousands of children experience classical ballet and be enriched by the arts. The success of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre is one of her greatest accomplishments.
Our First Director, the Late Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith
Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith was the first Artistic Director of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theater.
Born in Odessa, Russia, Tatiana trained at the Imperial Ballet School. She was a soloist of the National Opera Theater in Yugoslavia, where she performed for King Alexander. Once immigrating to the United States, she served as the first Artistic Director of the Ballet Met in Columbus, OH. Later she became a well-known teacher at dance schools through out the Mid-Atlantic, accepting an invitation to observe teachings at the School of American Ballet under George Balanchine, and serving as a guest faculty at the North Carolina School of the Arts. As Director of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre, Tatiana became a prolific choreographer, creating her masterful Nutcracker, and versions of Swan Lake, Coppélia, Scheherazade, Polovtsian Dances, Peter and the Wolf, Balanchine-inspired works of Red, White, and Blue and Serenade of the Strings, and her original Snow White.