Zygmunt and Sarah Sawiel, directors of the Oregon School of Ballet, in Bend, Oregon have come from a rich and varied background of ballet training and stage experience as professional ballet dancers.
Born in Poland, Zygmunt studied at the State Opera in Worclaw, Poland and danced with the celebrated Polish Military Folk Ensemble in Warsaw. He danced with the ballet companies of the grand Opera Houses in Lodz, Poland and Dresdan, East Germany. He continued his career in West Germany with the ballet companies of Bonn, Augsburg, and Hannover.
Sarah studied in the United States for ten years with Doreen Gilday Ditzhazy before continuing her studies in Canada with the celebrated teacher, Vera Volkova and in London at the Rambert Ballet School. In Copenhagen, Sarah was able to study with Elenora Shelesnova and Nina Vyroubova in an international seminar conducted by Birger Bartholin. It was in Germany that she secured her first contract as a professional dancer. It was also there that she met and married Zygmunt. Together, they performed as partners and soloists with German ballet companies for more than seven years before moving to the United States.
Upon arrival in the United States, the Sawiels opened the Central Oregon School of Ballet with the goal of introducing the art of ballet to the children and young people of Central Oregon. Since it's opening in 1981, the Central Oregon School of Ballet has become known for its city-wide performances in collaboration with the Cascade Festival of Music and its annual production of the "Nutcracker Ballet." Advanced students from the school have had opportunities to continue their studies with well know national ballet schools such as the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C, the Boston Ballet School in Massachusetts, and the Nutmeg Ballet, Lexington, Connecticut.