Ms. Brianna R. Furnish, Founder (Photo © 2021 King Douglas)
A native of Dallas, Texas, Furnish is the daughter of a modern dancer, who danced alongside her mother from an early age. At age six, Furnish began formal studies in the Martha Graham modern dance technique, under private instruction with Julliard graduate, Ms. Jerry Bywaters Cochran. At age thirteen Furnish was encouraged to begin ballet training (reluctantly at first!), as a means for augmenting her chances for a professional modern dance career, and quickly fell in love with ballet. She began training privately with Denise and Evelyn Brown and a year later, on talent scholarship, with Dallas Ballet’s professional program, under the direction of Royal Danish Ballet‘s Flemming and Vivi Flindt. It was there that she first met and trained with the late great Madame Nathalie Krassovska, former prima ballerina with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, who became a significant mentor in Furnish’s personal and professional life. A year later, after relatively little ballet training Furnish was accepted to the acclaimed School of American Ballet in New York, where she had the exceptional opportunity to study with such ballet greats as Mme. Alexandra Danilova, Suki Shorer, Mme. Antonina Tumkovsky, Andrei Kramerevsky and Stanley Williams. She was then accepted to train an additional year at North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied under the careful attention of former New York City Ballet principal dancer, Ms. Melissa Hayden. Furnish also danced for several regional companies in Dallas and Tennessee, including Krassovska’s Ballet Jeunesse and Tennessee Ballet (Memphis), while continuing private instruction with both Mme. Krassovska and the late Robert Scevers (Harkness Ballet). It is Krassovska and Scevers, along with Danilova and Hayden, that Furnish attributes with affecting her own teaching style most profoundly. After moving to Detroit to pursue premed studies at Wayne State University, Furnish became involved with the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, and was given the opportunity to stage a ballet for Detroit Public “All City” High School dancers and to teach ballet for the Detroit Opera House’s ABT “Giselle” outreach program. Inspired by the passion of Detroit Public High School students juxtaposed with their profound inexperience with classical ballet, Furnish founded Ballet Renaissance in June of 1997, as a means for fostering local talent and inspiring community. She taught college ballet as Adjunct Professor for Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Dance (1996-2004), served as full time high school ballet teacher for Fraser’s Arts Academy in the Woods (2006-2007), and continues to guest teach as Ballet Master Class Instructor throughout Detroit Public Schools (1996-present). In 2006, after ten years of work in the city, Furnish completed her BS in Dance from Wayne State University's Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, the school through which her inspiration for “Ballet Renaissance” had originated.
Mr. Radoslaw J. Kokoszka
Mr. Kokoszka, born in Wodzislaw Sl., Poland began his early ballet training as a boarding student at the State Ballet School in Bytom, Poland. At age 13, he moved to the United States with his family, settling in Hamtramck, MI, Mr. Kokoszka received numerous talent scholarships and trained at a number of prestigious professional ballet schools including: the Harid Conservatory (FLA), Boston Ballet (MA), Kirov Academy (Washington, DC) and the renowned School of American Ballet (New York City), SAB (School of American Ballet) recently aired on Disney plus a season at the school called "On point" with many of his colleagues. Kokoszka had the privilege to take class along Mikhail Baryshnikov and countless legendary dancers while at the School. Prior to his professional dance career he participated at the New York City Choreographic Institute and after turning down "Moving Out" a Broadway show created by Twyla Tharp he pursued his professional ballet career at Carolina Ballet (Raleigh, NC) Cedar Lake Dance Company (NYC) and Suzanne Ferrell Ballet (Washington D.C.) Mr. Kokoszka has thought for over 15 years ballet to dancers of all experience levels.