Irina Roizin

Founder and director of Brighton Ballet Theater, now celebrating its 30th year

Coney Island resident Irina Roizin emigrated from Ukraine in 1976 and realized her childhood dream of founding a ballet school, Brighton Ballet Theater, in 1987. Roizin recounts first impressions of Brighton Beach and Coney, the challenges of learning English as a student at Abraham Lincoln High School and settling into a new life in Southern Brooklyn. A serendipitous meeting with a Russian ballerina teaching in a one-room school in Brighton set her on her career path. Now located at Kingsborough Community College, where it serves more than 300 students, Brighton Ballet Theater also offers after-school programs at public schools in the community, classes for special needs kids, and scholarships to local children.