Dancer Maria Sascha Khan, From Monte-Carlo to Montana

The Principality was a life-changing experience

Maria Sascha Khan, the Artistic Director of the Yellowstone International Arts Festival, studied in Monaco graduating from the Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace under the direct mentorship of Marika Besobrasova. The Princess Grace Academy has been under the direction of Luca Masala since 2009, and presided by HRH Princess Carolina.

Maria Sascha said’: « The time spent living in the Principality of Monaco changed my life in such a momentous way, thanks to the intensive training in the Academy, where I became an artist. I was privileged to live unique experiences such as being selected as the solo dancer to perform for Prince Albert II coronation celebration, as well as numerous times at the Rose Ball, and the Red Cross Ball, plus several performances for Chaumet. »

Maria Sascha Khan with HSH Prince Albert II during HIS Coronation ceremony, April 2005.

Maria Sasha Khan graduated at the top of her class and was offered a contract with Vladimir Malakov at the Staatsballett Berlin, at the time considered one of the top five companies in the world.

Maria Sascha Khan’s graduation performance, Salle Garnier, Opera of Monte Carlo

She went on to dance with the Bayerisches Staatsballett, the English National Ballet and as a Principal Dancer with the Ekaterinburg State Ballet, of Russia.

Maria Sascha Khan on the cover of Bozeman Daily Chronicle when joining the Staatsballett Berlin, May 13, 2007.

Yellowstone Arts Festival, a family affair

Maria Sascha proudly stated: « Together with Teresa Khan MacKay who is the Executive Director, in 2019 concurrently with my international guesting career, we co-founded, the Yellowstone International Arts Festival in Paradise Valley Montana, where I was born. » The Yellowstone International Arts Festival features the best of the classical performing arts, indigenous tribes, and cultural traditions from around the planet. World class culture presented amidst the stunning backdrop of Montana’s natural beauty. Their focus is on mentorship, education and forming community through the arts. It is produced under the umbrella of Maria and her family’s non-profit arts organisation Youth Arts in Action.

« This year our annual non-profit fundraising event, took place on August 10, 2022. Our large stage was installed on the banks of the Yellowstone River. »

A star-studded cast

Performers included Maria Sacha’s brother Julian MacKay and their sister Nadia Khan of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Julian is now a Principal Dancer with the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich. Maria Sascha was reminiscent « Julian would come to visit at the Academie during the summer when I was training there and studied in Monaco for the summer as well, once he was older. My sister Nadia Khan trained at the Academie in the summers as well with Marika, and my brother Nicholas also attended summer training at the Academie with Luca Masala. »

Maria Sascha Khan (17) & brother Julian MacKay (8), Photo credit: Teresa Khan MacKay

Also performing were Masha Beck Principal Dancer of the Stanislavsky Theatre, Alexander Romanchikov of the Mariinsky Theatre. Principal Dancer’s of the Bayerisches Staatsballett Madison Young and Jin Hao Zhang (formerly of ENB), up and coming stars Chloe Misseldine (ABT’s newest soloist) and Netherland Dance Theatre’s Kenedy Kallas, along with international opera singer Joshua Stewart, and violinist Polina Krasovskaya who played an original composition.

A portion of the evening featured Montana’s talented dancers: Belgrade born, Josiah Kauffman of Pittsburg Ballet Theatre who danced with his fiancée Erin Casale both of Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, and Isaac Hall who is completing his final year at Manhattan’s School of Music, NYC.

Apart from being the Artistic Director Maria Sascha Khan danced the Dying Swan, and a world premiere called “Soul of the Yellowstone” which was choreographed by Alisher Khasanhov and performed with Jesse Eagle Speaker an indigenous Native American dancer of the Blackfoot tribe, showcasing the storytelling and power of Native American dance.

“Soul of the Yellowstone” choreographed by Alisher Khasanov, 2022 – Photo credit: Nicholas MacKay/MacKay Productions

There was a second world premiere by up-and-coming Hungarian choreographer, Baranyai Balazs based on the story of the mysterious Mata Hari which was performed by Daniel Rubin, star of the Eifman Ballet. The evening also featured the US premiere of The Royal Ballet choreographer Valentino Zucchetti’s “Lacrimosa” performed by ballerina Violetta Komyshan.

The third world premiere also by Alisher Khasanhov “On the Other Side” was performed by and choreographed for by international superstar Julian MacKay, to original music and lyrics by Matthew Kimball. It was an homage to Julian’s father who passed away two years ago. This song and ballet piece were dedicated to Gregory MacKay and in Matthew’s words were “inspired by Gregory and his family’s talent, courage, and support of artistry, and of artists.”

The artists of the 2022 Yellowstone Arts Festival. Photo credit: Nicholas MacKay/MacKay Productions

Magical closing dinner by Chef Eduardo Garcia

After the performance a magical dinner was hosted by Montana born celebrity Chef Eduardo Garcia, featuring locally sourced ingredients and held poolside at the Yellowstone Hot Springs. Before becoming a celebrity Chef Eduardo spent time in Monaco, cooking on luxury yachts that would dock in Monaco and Côte d’Azur for the summer. He went on to have a full length documentary “Charged” made on his life and created a lifestyle food business called Montana Mex. (

For additional information please visit:

@yellowstoneintarts @mariasaschakhan @niczeusmackay @julianmackay @mackayproductions @chefeduardogarcia

Today’s Quote

Dancing is the hidden language of the soul of the body. Martha Graham


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