July 13, 2013 | By Christine Cole, Correspondent
MOUNT DORA — An injured Mikhail Baryshnikov, watching her fill in for him, so loved Maniya Barredo’s performance that he grabbed a bouquet from a man in the wings and rushed out on stage to present her with the flowers.
Before that, in the Philippines, famed English ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn named her a prima ballerina after Barredo danced before Fonteyn as well as President Ferdinand Marcos and Marcos’ wife, Imelda.
Barredo has been a teacher this week of at the summer session of Mount Dora School of Ballet.
“People ask me if I miss dancing, and honestly, I don’t,” Barredo said. “I love teaching. It’s more satisfying because it’s so selfless.”
School owner Kathryn Wheeler met Maniya Barredo when they were teenaged students in Vichy, France studying with teachers from the Paris Opera Ballet, Betty Jones, partner of Jose Limon and many other renowned teachers.
“She was a fast turner,” Wheeler said. “Our teachers would direct us to try to catch her as we practiced out ‘chaine tournes.’ ”
“Chaine tournes” are the 360-degree spins a dancer performs, moving in a straight line, diagonal, or a circle, demonstrating speed and fluidity.
When Barredo represented Canada at the International Ballet Festival in Cuba, she received 20 curtain calls, Wheeler said.
After spending nearly her entire life in ballet, Wheeler has many friends who have had distinguished careers. She can invite teachers, such as Barredo, who have had great success in ballet.
Jessica Sibley Yates, the former principal dancer of the Orlando Ballet, taught this week as did alumna Catherine Fischer.
Other teachers included Alia Purdy from Belarus; Leslie Spradlin, who studied with mime Marcel Marceau; and professional costumer Kathy Sokolitsky.
After a week in Mount Dora, Barredo said she noticed the accent on learning, artistry, and the constant striving for improvement in Wheeler’s school, a place where students feel the warmth of family.
The Mount Dora School of Ballet, 4280 N. County Road 19A, will hold an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 17 and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18.
For more information, call 352-357-5536.