Hella, 86, from Brookdale Freedom Pointe Clare Bridge, was born in Kiev, Russia in 1930. Hella started her training as a classical ballerina when she was eight years old. At the age of ten, Hella moved to Germany and danced professionally with a Berlin ballet troop for seven years. When she was about 18 years old, she moved to New York and eventually opened up her own dance studio called, “The Lake Shore School of the Dance.” Here, Hella taught 150 students who were 20 years old and younger.
Not only did Hella teach classical ballet for 15-20 years, but she also taught piano. Ballet and music have played a large role in Hella’s life. When she saw a flyer advertising for the Moscow Festival Ballet’s Swan Lake, she got very excited and asked to see the ballet. Ballet has been a constant in Hella’s life when others were not. At the time of her move to German, Hella’s father and brother were placed in concentration camps. In 1948, Hella and her cousins moved to the United States. She never found out what happened to her father; however, Hella’s brother survived the concentration camp. Sadly, Hella’s brother died a few years ago and her husband has also passed away.
With little family remaining, ballet and music have become even more important for Hella. Today, she enjoys playing the piano for the residents at her community. Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale sent Hella and her aide, Kerri, to the Moscow Festival Ballet’s Swan Lake on February 16, 2016. Before Hella went to the ballet, she and her companions enjoyed getting dressed up for the occasion. Rhonda, Hella’s wish nominator, said as Hella was getting ready for the ballet, “her room was draped with clothes, makeup, and jewelry. Everyone was laughing and having a great time.” After dinner, Hella went to see Swan Lake at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center. Hella enjoyed watching her favorite ballet and reliving her time as a ballerina and dance teacher. Hella also had the opportunity to meet dancers from the Moscow Festival Ballet after their performance. Hella loved talking with the dancers and learning more about their performance.
Photography by: Nick Seago, SNi Weddings