Megan Schwuchow

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Megan Schwuchow grew up studying ballet from age four at The California Ballet School in her hometown of San Diego under the direction of Maxine Mahon. In 2012, she began training privately at age fourteen with Bernadette Torres and grew quickly from there, accepting an invitation the following summer of 2013 to train year-round under the renowned ballerina Gelsey Kirkland in New York City. While there Ms. Schwuchow had the immediate opportunity of dancing demi-soloist and soloist roles in various repertoire including The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Faust, Harlequinade, an original ballet Stealing Time, and danced the principal role in Paquita coached by Ms. Kirkland herself. The faculty consisted of many eminent teachers, she was trained in classical ballet by Lyubov Fominich, Vera Solovyeva, Liudmila Polonskaya, Alexandra Lawler, Nina Osipyan, and Gelsey Kirkland. She trained in Bournonville technique with Karina Elver, pas de deux with Nikolay Levitsky, studied acting with Pilar Garcia, and practiced stretch and strength techniques with Olympic gymnast Jessica Howard. 

 

In the summer of 2016 Ms. Schwuchow was accepted into Open World Dance Foundation’s Summer Intensive in Manhattan and studied for several weeks under its directors Ekaterina Shchelkanova and Anton Boytsov. Ms. Schwuchow was captured by the pure style of Vaganova training due to Ms. Shchelkanova and Mr. Boystov being products of Agrippina Vaganova’s past pupils. She approached Ms. Shchelkanova in the hopes of studying with her further and she was invited to dance in her production of Cinderella later that year with Ballerina Misty Copeland dancing the lead. With several other dancers eager to learn more from both Ms. Shelkanova and Mr. Boystov, a small Elite Training Program with Open World Dance Foundation was born in 2016. Ms. Schwuchow trained and rehearsed intensely alongside what started with only three other dancers in Florida. Later that year she danced the soloist role of the fairy godmother in a second production of Cinderella alongside American Ballet Theatre Principles Cory Stearns and Devon Teuscher.  While training under Ms. Shchelkanova and Mr. Boystov Ms. Schwuchow also had the opportunity of working in New York City and Riga, Latvia with Prima Ballerina of The Kirov Ballet (Mariinsky Theater) Irina Kolpakova, and Professor Irina Trofimova, both of which were students of Vaganova herself. She was also privileged to study with former Principal and Ballet Master of The Paris Opera Cyril Atanasoff, who said to Ms. Shchelkanova and Mr. Boytsov, “Watching Megan dance is like watching an orchestra of one thousand violins”, as well as Vaganova Academy student and Principal of the Mikhailovsky Theater Anatoly Sidorov, former principal of The Kirov Ballet (Mariinsky Theater) Vladilen Semenov. She studied acting under the Vaganova Academy’s acting coach Aleksandr Stepin, as well as character dance from Vaganova Academy’s character teacher Elena Sherstneva. In 2018 the Elite Training Program was moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia where Ms. Shwuchow would live for half of the year for the following two years. While there she had the extremely rare opportunity of studying the role of Mekhmene Banu in The Legend of Love by Prima Ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina herself. 

 

Ms. Schwuchow then suffered a career ending injury while preparing to audition for The Bolshoi Theater, The Mariinsky Theater, American Ballet Theatre and others. After two leg surgeries in 2019 and 2020, she completed many months of intense rehab and in 2021 attempted to return to dancing again with the help of her coaches Ekaterina Shchelkanova and Anton Boystov in Minsk, Belarus. Still in pain she returned to San Diego for more physical therapy and after more months of treatment and working towards dancing fully again, she succumbed to the circumstances and made the decision to stop ballet in June of 2022. Ms. Schwuchow will be pursuing her education as well as exploring her options in the arts. She hopes to share the knowledge she has gained through her years working with so many of Agrippina Vaganova’s own with the next generation of dancers. Her goal is to assist the few others left in keeping the purest style of Vaganova alive.