Dear family and friends of the SPB community,
We are deeply saddened to share with you that on January 29th we lost our beloved friend, Lirena Branitski. Her family informed us of her death. She was a cherished and dynamic teacher, dancer, colleague and role model to many. Her extraordinary impact will resound in the Twin Cities dance community for generations to come.
Lirena was born and trained in the former Soviet Union. She 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 performed on stages throughout Europe, Canada and South America and had a vast performance repertoire of soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets performing under all the master Russian choreographers, including the world-renowned Peter Gusev, Vakhtang Tchabukiani, Raisa Struchkova and Alexander Lapauri.
After emigrating to the U.S. in 1980, Lirena taught at her own school as well as Minnesota Dance Theater. From 1989 to 2006 she taught and choreographed at Ballet Arts Minnesota and was instrumental in the careers of many dancers working in professional companies today. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Special Citation at the 2012 Minnesota SAGE Awards for her contribution to local dance. Lirena had been the resident choreographer and a ballet instructor at St. Paul Ballet for more than six years.
We invite you to share your memories and thoughts here in tribute to Lirena Branitski. This online remembrance page allows for photo, video and music uploads.
SPB invites all friends of Lirena Branitski and the greater dance community to join us for an outdoor gathering in the very near future. Please check back on the SPB website, Facebook and Instagram sites for more information to come on this special event.
In loving memory of Lirena,
St. Paul Ballet staff