About Makaroff Youth Ballet
Offer the highest quality ballet instruction and performance opportunities in the Fox Valley community; fostering a community that embraces and supports the artistry and athleticism of the art form.
Makaroff Youth Ballet (MYB), a partner with Ballet, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate teamwork, resiliency and discipline for learners through study and performance, building awareness and appreciation of classical ballet in the community.
Bringing our Mission to Life
MYB presents two ballet performances yearly, engages in community outreach opportunities and collaborates with other local non-profit organizations, in addition to extensive ballet training. We strive to weave outreach into all aspects of our organization so that the transformative power of ballet is accessible and inclusive.
The rich Makaroff legacy began with Nikolai and Juanita Makaroff over 60 years ago. Nikolai was a Bolshoi-trained ballet dancer who was captured by the Nazi regime during World War II. When the war ended, Nikolai and other performers traveled throughout Europe performing for war survivors in hopes of lifting spirits, as well as earning a meal. While touring, Bob Hope happened to see Nikolai dance as did Pope John XXIV when he was the Cardinal of Venice. It was Bob who brought Nikolai to the United States where he was later hired to perform with the Don Cossack Chorus.
It was in New York City that Nikolai met his future wife, Juanita, who was a student at the School of American Ballet. After marrying and starting a family, the couple moved to Appleton to be closer to Juanita’s family.
In 1960, Nikolai and Juanita founded The Makaroff School of Ballet and their reputations for ballet excellence quickly reached the ears of famed Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi understood the athletic strength and balance required of ballet dancers and wanted them to have the same training. He hired Nikolai to teach ballet to the Packers players, including Bart Starr and Paul Hornung. In 1981, Juanita Makaroff formed the Children's Ballet Theatre, which is now known as the Makaroff Youth Ballet.
Nikolai and Juanita's daughter, Jeanette Makaroff, continues her family's legacy as our Artistic Director, bringing with her a vast professional experience which has transformed the arts' landscape in the Fox Valley.
The Makaroff Youth Ballet's history is rooted in the passion, dedication, and hard work of its founders and continues to bring joy to its students and audiences alike.