Our History

The Denton Ballet Academy was established in 1979 by Hugh Nini as an institution of classical ballet instruction. In August 2011, Eldar Valiev and his wife, Lilia Valieva, obtained the Academy and have continued the strong traditions Mr. Nini began many years ago, both in the ballet school and in its resident company, The Festival Ballet of North Central Texas.

Lilia Valieva served as Co-Artistic Director of Festival Ballet and held the esteemed title of Ballet Mistress of The Denton Ballet Academy for three and a half years. Having performed lead roles with internationally renowned ballet companies, she generously offered her experience of dance expertise and professional discipline to students of all ages. Mrs. Valieva passed away peacefully on December 28, 2014 at home surrounded by her beloved family. Her many devoted students remember her as a gracious and professional mentor who set an enduring example of poise and beauty that was surpassed only by her kindness and her love for dance.

The academy curriculum emphasizes a strong classical technique combined with a flow of movement that suggests a sense of energy, freedom, and joy. It is a teaching style that assembles the foundation of classical ballet, and readily adapts to meet the demands of any type of movement or dance form, such as modern, contemporary, jazz or drill team.

Students are placed in one of six levels according to age, experience, and ability. They follow a structured sequence of training stages designed to increase their technical skills, stamina, and discipline; in accordance with their age and individual physical development. The program includes classes in classical ballet technique, pointe work, variations from classical ballet’s repertoire, modern, theatre jazz, tap, and creative movement.

The youngest children in Levels 1, 2 and 3 are advised to take one class a week. Beginning with Level 4, students attend classes two days a week; Levels 5 and 6 attend four to six days per week. For students at the intermediate and advanced levels, class placement and assignment is based on a student's technical aptitude, commitment, and physical development. DBA is in session from August through June (referred to as “the school year”) and follows the holiday schedule of the Denton Independent School District.