Founded in 1991, Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre, Inc. is a non-profit ballet company that was formed by a local group of culturally minded people who wish to provide a classical venue for area dancers and raise awareness of the art of dance. In just a few years, the company has gained statewide recognition for its annual full-length December presentation of The Nutcracker ballet and an impressive repertoire of ballets performed during the Spring Gala.
The goal of ESBT is to encourage and assist young people in gaining the practical experience required for a professional career in ballet and the related arts. It is also the company’s aspiration to foster local interest in the art of ballet and to promote and stimulate appreciation in the related arts, such as music, dance, choreography and costume and set design.
Students of ESBT are highly trained in the Russian Style of ballet by artistic director Elena Manakhova-Amy. Upon graduation, most dancers are able to continue their education through their acceptance into top collegiate dance programs and schools throughout the country. Many have also furthered their careers by becoming professional dancers in well-know dance companies, as well as choreographers and teachers.
Membership in ESBT is open to dancers from the Eastern Shore who previously studied ballet. Auditions for placement are held on a yearly basis. Members must attend company classes and rehearsals in addition to the continued study of ballet at least twice a week.
Located in Fruitland, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Salisbury Studio of Dance is home to the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre.
Founder and President
Betty Webster is Founder and President of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre. 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. Over the years, Webster has choreographed and staged numerous productions with local groups and charities. She has been invited to teach for various groups, both locally and nationally. Her tenacity and ability to cultivate talent has been evidenced by the success of the students that have come through her school-the Salisbury Studio of Dance-for the past 47 years. She has been a 46-year member of Dance Masters of America. Not only does she manage the daily happenings of a very busy studio, she is still in the classroom, where her soul comes alive in training yet another generation of dancers.
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. 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. This award was given by the Centre at Salisbury, sponsors of the Miss Salisbury Pageant – preliminary pageant to Miss Maryland and Miss America. Involved in dance on the Eastern Shore for almost five decades, she has helped thousands of children experience classical ballet and be enriched by the arts. The continued, sustained success of the Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre is one of her greatest accomplishments.
Elena Manakhova-Amy is Artistic Director of Eastern Shore Ballet Theatre. Born in Russia, she was accepted at the world-famous Kirov Ballet School and the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg at age 9. After graduation in 1987, she became a principal dancer with several companies, first in Europe and then here in America. Also in 1987, she received the Medal of Honor at the Ukrainian International Ballet Competition. Her most recent appearances as principal dancer were with the Russian Ballet Theatre of Delaware. Having studied and worked with world-famous choreographers, Manakhova-Amy is well-prepared for her role as artistic director of ESBT. The exceptional training she received at the Kirov Academy accompanied by her extraordinary professional experience makes her both a perceptive and demanding teacher.