Immigrants open Plainfield dance studio
By Frank Vaisvilas Correspondent August 26, 2013 6:36PM
Plainfield Dance Academy instructors Carly Klaus, Barbara Curran, Askar Alimbetova, Corinne Alimbetova and Jamie Killion. | Frank Vaisvilas~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:26AM
PLAINFIELD — He was asked questions such as what do the colors on the American flag represent, but Askar Alimbetova passed the test and earned his U.S. citizenship in July.
Growing up in the Soviet Union, Alimbetova followed his passion his dance, particularly Russian-style ballet, which eventually led him to Plainfield.
On Sept. 3, Alimbetova and his wife, Corinne Alimbetova, from Switzerland will open the Plainfield Dance Academy, located at 13717 S. Route 30 in suite 117.
“There’s a lot of opportunity in the U.S.,” Askar said. “If you work hard and really want to do something, it’s all in your hands.”
Askar, 34, was born in Kazakhstan, a large country in central Asia which had been controlled by the Soviet Union at the time.
But Askar found his calling at 10 years old when received a full scholarship for the State Choreographic Academy in his country.
“I thought it was exciting,” Askar said. “I was excited to compete with my friends. ... I love to perform for people.”
After the Soviet Union collapsed and Kazakhstan declared independence in 1991, Askar still was able to participate in the state dance program, although not all costs were covered anymore and his family had to pay for some of his equipment.
In 2000, Askar was invited to dance leading roles in “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Don Quixote” and other performances for the Moscow City Ballet.
From 2002 to ’09, Askar was the principal or lead dancer for the San Diego Ballet which is where he met his wife, Corinne, who also danced for the company.
Corinne danced in Europe before coming to the U.S.
She said she has moved 28 times for work, but is now looking to settle down in the area.
The couple had danced for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and decided the area might be a good place to live and start a business.
The Alimbetovs figured Plainfield would be a good place to set up shop because of the interest in dance in the community and the lack of their type of school in the area.
Askar said that while large dance schools are in Naperville and Downers Grove, he said he felt that Plainfield was a growing community for their business venture.
“People are excited something like this is coming here and bringing more art into the community,” Corinne said.
The academy has a 900-square-foot- and a 1,200-square-foot-dance studio with five dance instructors.
Besides ballet, other dances that will be taught include jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop.