In 1991, a young American dancer Mario Nugara sat on a rock overlooking the Copenhagen harbor. Nugara came to Denmark on a Fulbright scholarship with University of Copenhagen in conjunction with the Royal Danish Ballet. On that day at the harbor, a vision crystallized, Nugara would use his knowledge and mastery of ballet to establish a professional ballet school in Los Angeles. Mr. Nugara received his formal training at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York. After his schooling, he went on to perform with such prestigious ballet companies as the Boston Ballet, and Fort Worth Ballet. He also holds a BFA and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nugara’s deep passion and understanding of ballet coupled with his professional experience positioned him to take on this challenge.
Nugara previously sampled ballet classes at commercial schools around the Los Angeles area and to his disappointment found none offering the caliber of training he received as a young dancer in New York. Nugara noted the absence of children from diverse ethnic backgrounds and low-income neighborhoods. His goal was to develop young dancers from communities that were chronically overlooked and underserved.