About Us

The Vaganova Dance Society formerly known as the Russian Vaganova Technique Dance Society was founded in 1988 under the auspices of the former Artistic Director, Maria Mitrache-Bokor. It is a registered non-profit organization based in Edmonton, Alberta.

One of the major goals of the Society has been to provide unique dance opportunities using the best techniques for ballet students, professional dancers, and dance teachers in Alberta.

Our mandate is to further the understanding of the Vaganova ballet technique in the teaching and performance of classical ballet.

The Society has produced stage performances, hosted and attended workshops and festivals, and organized trips and cultural exchanges in Canada, Russia, Romania, Australia and the United States. Dancers and teachers have had the experience and opportunity to understand the art of dance and raise the level of their art and culture. This in turn enriches the arts community and the public at large.

Members who reside in Alberta, have the opportunity for subsidized participation in Vaganova Dance Society events, as well as appearing with professional Vaganova dancers in stage productions and galas.


Since 1988 the Vaganova Dance Society has produced stage performances in Canada, hosted and attended workshops, organised trips and performances in other countries, cultural exchanges in Canada (Alberta and Quebec), Russia (St. Petersburg),  Europe (Romania), Australia (Canberra, Sydney), as well as participated in numerous festivals. Dancers and teachers have had the experience and opportunity to understand the art of dance and raise the level of their art and culture. This in turn, enriches the arts community and the public at large.

Vaganova Dance Society History Book

Founder and Former Artistic Director

Maria Mitrache-Bokor

Maria Mitrache-Bokor –Ballet Mistress and Choreographer, has since 1978 contributed extensively to Edmonton’s dance community, playing a large role in promoting and popularizing the Russian ballet system in northern Alberta, Canada.

In 1988 Maria founded both the “Vaganova Dance Society“ and the “La Rose” dance company for children in Alberta. For these companies, she produced Coppelia, Circus, Don Quixote, 1001Nights, Beauty and the Beast, Tin Soldier, Vienna Ball, Les Sylphides, Etudes, Esmeralda act II, Halt of Cavalry, Mirroring (modern dance) and other performances.

She has directed many student trips to:

  •     International Ballet Festivals in Helsinki, Jackson Mississippi, Bucharest;
  •     Dance Workshops in St Petersburg, Romania, Australia
  •     Cultural Exchanges with the U.S., Romania, and St. Petersburg Russia to study ballet in those centers of excellence.

Maria was born in Alba Iulia, Romania in 1942. Her early training in dance was completed at the National School of Ballet and Choreography, in Bucharest, Romania. She specialized in Ballet in Russia; she received her Diploma in Ballet – Russian Vaganova Technique, as well as her Diploma in Teaching, Pedagogy, and Choreography.

Maria subsequently received a Diploma in Modern Dance from the Paluka Modern Dance School in Dresden, Germany, in 1963. She has taken master classes and workshops in Helsinki (Finland), Canberra (Australia), Jackson Mississippi (U.S.) and Paris (at The Paris Opera). She has attended the Master Course at the St. Petersburg Ballet from 1996 until 2007 every other year.

As a performer, Maria was prima ballerina at the National Operetta Theatre in Bucharest from 1959-78. While there, she performed in hundreds of local productions and in over thirty international productions (Operetta, Musicals, Ballet Shows, Recitals and Variety Programs), both in Romania and abroad. Maria was also a featured dancer and choreographer for Musical Theatre Tanase in Bucharest, and worked as a performer and choreographer on over 150 productions for Romanian television during her 20 year enture.

Maria taught at the National Institute of Drama in Bucharest from 1962-78. During this period, Maria also acted as choreographer and coach at competitions of the Romanian National figure skating and gymnastics teams, and created choreographies for the I. Creanga Children’s Theatre, and the C. Tanase Theatre.

Having arrived in Canada, Maria served as Ballet Mistress (in classical ballet, repertoire, pas des deux and character classes, Russian Vaganova Technique) for Ecole Superieur and Les Ballets Russes de Montreal from 1978-79.

By the following year, her energies were fully engaged in teaching throughout the Edmonton area, including the following positions:

  •     Ballet teacher for Edmonton Catholic Schools Continuing Education (Ballet for Adults) in 1980;
  •     Guest teacher, for Grant MacEwan College (Ballet) in 1981;
  •     Ballet Mistress for Cheremosh, & Trembita Ukrainian Ensembles, Alberta Ballet Company, Faculté St. Jean (1980-89), Edmonton School of Ballet (1981-87);
  •     Artistic Director for Dance Art Academy (1981-85) and Edmonton Festival Company (1985-86) La Rose children Company, Variation School of Dance, Dansation Ballet School and many more

In addition, Maria taught and choreographed in Australia, from 1989-91; there, she was Ballet Mistress at the National Capital Ballet School in Canberra, and she taught ballet and choreographed for a variety of schools and colleges. She taught also Ballet History, Historical Dance, and Body Movement for adults and a special floor barre for children and adults.

Artistic director of ballet program in many ballet schools, she served as adjudicator in many competitions, in Canada, Australia, and Romania

Maria realized a dream when she founded the Russian Vaganova Technique Dance Society in Edmonton in 1988, toghether with Richard Wacko and Roxane Missouri, where she continues in her role as Artistic Director. Maria also founded Etudes Dance Studio Association in Edmonton in 1988; with Etudes, she was Artistic Director and teacher of Ballet, Repertoire and Character until 1992.

Among her awards, Maria has received the Order of “Chevalier” for Outstanding Contribution to Dance over the World, Romania 2005, the “Dame of Grace” award from the Order Knights of Malta in 1987, and the TFE Award for Choreography from Théâtre Français d’ Edmonton in 1986. She received the “Golden Medal for the Golden Couple” title at an international ballet competition in Lithuania (1978) and the National Cultural Achievement Award for Excellence and Outstanding Contribution to Dance from the Romanian Minister of Culture and Education (1975.)