CINCINNATI — Those who pass by the Cincinnati Ballet's new building on Gilbert Avenue may notice the graceful, gliding dancers through the large windows missing from their last space. The peer points on the road are portals to the art in progress — the most prominent belonging to the "Two Sisters Studio," named after the two sisters who made it possible.
Paula Ilyinsky Comisar and Ann Romanoff Ilyinsky grew up on the Cincinnati Ballet and its productions like "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker." Over the years, they have shown their love for the art and delighted in its growth, touring the ballet's new home when it was still under construction.
"We were both walking around — we didn't talk to each other at all," Ilyinsky said. "By the end, we just looked at each other without saying a word. We knew right away what we were thinking."
The two decided to make a gift that would take their beloved ballet into its future. The studio space, named after the two, is a result of their generosity.
"We've done it out of love and respect and just building the future — empowering young people to really achieve their dreams," Comisar said.
Sirui Liu, principal dancer, said the dancers love the studio and its natural light.
"When you have natural light coming, it feels so open and you are so free to dance and you are able to really enjoy what you do," Liu said.
The sisters' love for the ballet is, in part, due to Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. The two said they admire how she took a traditional ballet and put her vibrant, relevant stamp on it — so it is fitting Morgan gave the two keys to their studio.
Morgan said the space will help the art form continue to grow in Cincinnati.
"We can feed the future in this studio — thanks to two sisters," Morgan said. "I love them."