Florida West Ballet
          To See us Dance is to Hear our Hearts Speak! ...Hopi Indian Saying

Artistic Personnel

Dusanka Gradiski Ivanova MFA,
Artistic Director and Ballet Master


The Artistic Director and principal instructor for Florida West Ballet is Dusanka Gradiski Ivanova, MFA.  She received her ballet training under Prof. Gjurgjica Jovanovska in Macedonia, graduating from Ilia Nikolovski Loui Music & Ballet School in 1983.  Dusanka then studied under Prof. Ekaterina Kokorina at the Vagonova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia before studying under Prof. Irina Trofimova, Prof. Peter Loukanov, and Prof. Lili Draguleva at the Academy of Music, Dance & Fine Arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria where she earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Ballet Pedagogy, Choreography and Direction.

Dusanka's repertoire includes principal and solo roles in The Nutcracker, La Fille Mal Gardee, Elan, Giselle, Cadets' Dance, Swan Lake, Ilo Tempora, and Ad Absurdum, as well as guest performances in "Days of Macedonia Culture” in China, "The Legend of Dubrovnik" in Croatia, and "The Fountain of Bakhchisaray" in Germany.  As ballet Mistress for the Ballet Company of the Macedonian National Theater she choreographed for operas such as “The West Side Story”, “Pagliacci”, “La Forza del Destino”, “Rigoletto”, “Cavalleria Rusticana”,  "Aida" and “Turandot.”  At the Loui National School of Music & Ballet in Macedonia, she has held positions of Artistic Director, Choreographer, Ballet Teacher, Rehearsal Specialist, and Department Head.  She has taught ballet, pointe, pas de deux, methods of Vaganova ballet, character dances, methods of character dances, historical dances, history of dance, repertoire, modern and jazz dance. She choreographed “Dance of the Flowers” by Tchaikovsky, “Adagio” by Albinoni, “The Sounds of Love” by Kenny G, “Childish Tempers” by E. Grieg, “Tiny Fox” by P. Atanasovski, “Pictures from the Ballet for the Unknown” by Vangelis, “Synthesis” by Enigma, “Impressions” by A. Ponkieli, and “Dance” by M. Oldfield.  Her full-length ballets include “For the Unknown”, “Last Game”, “Golden Feather”,  performed by Macedonian National Ballet Theater and “Dr. Doolittle " performed by her students here in Florida. Her students are professional dancers  in Germany, Austria, New Zealand , Bulgaria, Macedonia. Dusanka specializes in the Vaganova style of classical ballet.

In 2007, Dusanka moved to the United States where she has continued her career as instructor and choreographer.  She has choreographed and staged “Vivaldi's  Four Seasons”, “The Nutcracker”, “The Sleeping Beauty”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”,   “Dr. Doolittle”,  "Copellia", "La Fille Mal Gardee", "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Raymonda". Her choreography was featured in the Florida Lyrica Opera’s production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and  “Carmen"  and "Iphigenia in Aulis" presented in Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center , FL and most recently with New Century Opera's production of "Macbeth". Her instructional experience includes teaching positions at St. Petersburg College, Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School and Artistic Director at Florida Dance Center.  As Artistic Director of Florida West Ballet, Ms. D enjoys taking her dancers to their greatest potential.

Dusanka Gradiski Ivanova currently serves as Artistic Director of Florida West Ballet, St. Petersburg, Fl.

Iliana S. Babadjanova

Florida West Ballet, Instructor Classical Ballet


 Iliana S. Babadjanova is a classical ballet instructor and choreographer for Florida West Ballet.  She graduated cum Laude in 1988 the National Ballet Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Two years before graduation she was already selected and danced in the corps de ballet of the Sofia National Opera. Upon graduation she became a full time employee of the National Theater, where she worked eight years.

In 1990 Iliana was awarded the prestigious first prize in the National Bi-Annual Ballet Festival in Tolbuhin, Bulgaria. In 1991 she was invited to teach ballet in Italy for one year. She returned back to the National Opera as soloist in major classics such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutknacker, Giselle and Don Quixotte.  She worked under the direction of Kolpakova and Gregorovitch, while touring extensively through Europe and Asia. She is a very knowledgeable and skilled pedagogue, specializing in the reputable Vaganova ballet technique. Her expertise ranges from ballet technique pointe, variations, partnering and classical repertoire.

In 1991 she went to Italy to teach ballet. In 1994 Iliana began working at a Private Art School as Head of the Dance Department, until she moved to the USA in 1997.    

While in America, she started teaching kids in classical ballet at the Florida Dance Center and also at the BB’S Dance & Circus Art of Tampa Bay. She staged the well known productions of “Sleeping Beauty” and “Nutcracker”.  She collaborated in presenting the original shows “Tin Soldier” and “The Four Seasons” of Vivaldi, Florida West Ballet's productions of "Sleeping Beauty", "La Fille Mal Gardee" , "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Raymonda".

Iliana is a very knowledgeable and skilled  pedagogue, specializing in ballet technique. Her expertise ranges from ballet technique pointe, variations, partnering and classical repertoire. Florida West Ballet is pleased to have Ms. Iliana as an instructor and choreographer of classical ballet.  

Iliana S. Babadjanova is currently an instructor for Florida West Ballet.


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