Irina Roizin

Founder and director of Brighton Ballet Theater, founded in 1987

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.