Marat Daukayev Ballet bids adieu to La Brea dance studio

| June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
DANCER Annie Gimenez with Marat Daukayev

It must have been 102 degrees in the dance hall June 16, as throngs of dancers, parents, friends, teachers and politicians packed the vaulted, honeycomb ceilinged room for the final performance of the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet at its La Brea Avenue dance studio. But no one seemed to notice. All eyes, moist with tears, were on the dancers as they pirouetted, grande jête’d and leaped to the greatest of heights from spring-loaded floors in a fond final farewell performance.

“I feel like I’m careening toward an uncertain future, and I hope that I will land in a better space,” says Pamela Daukayev of the dance studio that she and her husband Marat Daukayev opened 19 years ago on La Brea Avenue.

According to the ballet school, it is being forced to vacate the space because the building was recently sold, leaving 300 children and more than 6,000 ballet costumes in urgent need of a new studio. The departure of the studio is heartbreaking for the school’s dancers, teachers, and Pamela and Marat.

The ballet school opened on La Brea Ave. in 2001 with two students. Today there are more than 300 children and more than 100 adults in the school. 

“We could not have imagined, when we started this school,” says Pamela, “what an extraordinary community we were stepping into.”

After starting the school, Pamela and Marat purchased a home in Windsor Square and raised three daughters. Their ballet school attracted hundreds of students from more than 78 zip codes, including Hancock Park, Mid-Wilshire, Brookside, Santa Monica, Malibu and international destinations such as France, Sweden, Japan, China and Honduras.

“I drive up from Orange County six days per week,” says teen dancer Annie Gimenez, who moved from Houston, TX three years ago to begin her training with Marat. “He is like a second father to me.” 

“The school has taught [the children] persistence, grace, confidence, and most importantly, friendship,” says Valerie Weiss, whose daughter dances in Level 4. “Such a special place can’t be replicated, and it needs a permanent home.”

Marat and Pamela agree, and with the end of the La Brea Ave. era, they are working hard on the next chapter for the school.

“We have students who gave up places at the Paris Opera to be with us this summer, so we have booked our summer intensive into 3rd Street Dance Studio for the advanced students and Mind and Motion Pilates on La Brea for the beginning pointe girls and our little ones on the weekends.”

Pamela and Marat are currently looking for a new permanent studio space, which will not be easy. They require 8,000 – 12,000 square feet that will duplicate the five ballet studios they operated out of their La Brea location. To help raise funds for the new space, they have started a GoFundMe page.  

As the curtain came down on the final dance at the La Brea dance studio, laughter and tears could be heard in every corner of the room.

“When I was six years old, I took a class in that room,” says Freya Marr-Johnson (pointing to one of the studios). “I never looked back. I was looking for a place to dance — and this was the perfect fit.”

To learn more or to support their fundraiser, go to

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