The Apogee Foundation Awards Prizes and Grants to World Class Performing Artists in Russia

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Apogee has awarded four of its most prestigious Premier Awards to artists, instructors and directors in the former Soviet Union as part of its ongoing mission of promoting excellence in the performing arts.

The Apogee Foundation has awarded four Excellence Awards to outstanding performing arts professionals in Russia. The Foundation's Excellence Awards program is designed to foster the development of human excellence in the performing arts by recognizing and supporting the accomplishments of artists achieving world class distinction in their field. The granting of these rigorously judged, merit-based awards demonstrates the Foundation's steadfast commitment to the great artistic traditions of Eastern Europe which are carried on and represented by their recipients. For detailed information regarding Apogee's Excellence Awards program, please refer to the Foundation's website:

These four Excellence Awards, administered by Apogee's Central CIS Bureau, include two Rising Star Awards and two Achievement Awards. Apogee's Rising Star Award is granted to performing artists demonstrating extraordinary ability and artistic distinction early in their professional careers, whereas Achievement Awards are made available to preeminent instructors and directors who have consistently realized the potential of world class performing artists over the course of their lifework.

The two Rising Star Awards went to Boris Myasnikov and Alexander Shpak. Myasnikov received a special edition of the Rising Star Award based on his selection as the top former Apogee beneficiary from the Perm State Ballet School, marking completion of the fifth annual cycle of Apogee awards made available to students and faculty there. The jury selected Myasnikov for this honor based on his consistent recognition by the Foundation and the Perm School as a person of extraordinary ability: having received not only the Foundation's first Apogee Merit Scholarship provided at the School during the 1999/2000 academic year, but also its first Rising Star Award granted to a Perm graduate, when he was designated by the Perm State faculty as the School's top 2004 graduate. Also considered in this award was Myasnikov's record of achievement in winning major competitions in Russia and abroad, as well as his ongoing success in performance with the Stanislavsky Ballet in Moscow and around the world. Alexander Shpak was selected for the Rising Star Award, the second awarded to a Perm State product, on the basis of his designation by the Perm faculty as the School's top 2005 graduate as well as his record of achievement in winning multiple major national and international competitions during the preceding year.

Simultaneously with these prizes to Myasnikov and Shpak, the Foundation also bestowed a special edition of its Achievement Award upon their instructor: Yuri Sidorov. This award, entitled the Yoel Plakht Honorarium for Excellence in Teaching, is named in honour of one of Russia's truly legendary dance instructors, Yoel Plakht, who was Perm's leading instructor for over 20 years, during which he served as the School's Artistic Director for nearly a decade. Yuri Sidorov, chosen to receive this award as representative of Plakht's many students who went on to themselves become leading instructors around the world, was nominated for this honor by the faculty of the School and ratified by Apogee's expert jury in recognition of his success in carrying on Plakht's legacy as the preeminent male instructor in central Russia: as evidenced by his students' consistent record of outstanding achievements.

In addition to the awards provided to Sidorov and his former students, Apogee announced its selection of Evgeny Subbotin to receive the Foundation's Sergei Diaghilev Award for Outstanding Service to the Performing Arts. Subbotin is President of the Arabesque Ballet Society and Founder of the prestigious Perm International Ballet Competition, which under his leadership have become the most important organizations and events of their kind in the central and eastern regions of the former Soviet Union. In recognition of the important work of these organizations, Apogee also announced that it will provide institutional grants to enable Arabesque and the Perm Competition to enhance their programs through acquisition of advanced computer and audiovisual equipment.

Apogee's Diaghilev Award is named in honour of Russia's supreme performing arts impresario: Sergei Diaghilev, who spent his formative years in Perm. Diaghilev transformed the history of the performing arts through his introduction of dancers such as Pavlova and Nijinsky to the world together with ground breaking choreographers such as Fokine and Nijinsky and composers such as Stravinsky. Apogee's jury of specialists determined that Subbotin's work in the course of his career best exemplified Diaghilev's historic legacy as well as the Foundation's ongoing mission of achieving the potential of human excellence in the performing arts.

Commenting on these awards, Apogee President Kenneth Schneider issued the following statement: "We are privileged on behalf of the global community to recognize and honor such superlatively accomplished individuals and their ongoing contributions to the performing arts. Each of these distinguished professionals evidences the continuingly awesome potential of traditions which in many ways are unmatched in the history of the world. In doing so, they are realizing the apogee of human excellence which our Foundation seeks to foster."

Information regarding Apogee's mission and work in the former Soviet Union and around the world can be found on the Foundation's website:

To view this news release with full photographic content and to download printer friendly and PDF formats, as well as to obtain translations into other languages, please refer to the Foundation's website:

About the Apogee Foundation:
The Apogee Foundation began activities in Russia in 1997 and was incorporated in the United States in 2004 as a New York based not-for-profit corporation. Apogee is dedicated to the development of human excellence in the performing arts. It supports cultural institutions and individual artists, providing administrative, promotional, and financial support to help talented individuals achieve their full potential, and enabling this potential to be showcased to the world.

The Apogee Foundation
Kenneth Schneider, President
1001 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10018-5411 (USA)
+1.646.461.6196 or +1.888.APOGEE.8
Fax: +1.646.292.5101

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Kenneth Schneider

Camran N. Shafii, Senior Vice President
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