VSPAC | DESPINA SIMEGIATOS
Despina was born into a family of dancers and musicians in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was a principal dancer with the Greek National Ballet, her father a tenor with the Greek National Opera and her grandmother alongside her aunt, were the founders of the Hellenic Ballet Theatre. Despina began her ballet training at the early age of two at the Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center and continued her studies at Broadway Dance Center, Steps NYC. She graduated from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts under the direction of Michelle Mathesius. Despina has worked extensively with an array of high profile masters in the field including Joe Lanteri, Deborah Zall, Elisa King, Penny Frank, Jacquelyn Buglisi, David Howard, Madame Gabriela Darvash, and Brunilda Ruiz. She has also performed the works of Shapiro & Smith and Elisa King.
Despina’s professional career began in 1992 when she joined Vicky Simegiatos Dance Company performing as a member of the corps de ballet.
In 1994 she was promoted as a principal dancer. Since then, Despina has been on the faculty as the main instructor and resident choreographer of the contemporary, jazz, and modern divisions for the Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center. In 1997 she founded the VSPAC Competition Division. Since then, she has been the main director of the VSPAC Dance Competition Companies.
Despina has become an extremely sought out teacher and choreographer in New York. She is credited with a sagacious and cognizant eye for intuitive talented dancers. She has a strong conceptual vision that rises through artistic purity and a passion toward artistic excellence. She has confidence in her observation that integrating accomplished performers of different techniques into a work sparks fire. Many of her students have moved on to professional careers in dance. Her students have gone on to dance for Disney, Broadway, music videos, film, School of American Ballet, DeMa Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre Jackie Onassis School, Radio City Christmas Show, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Boston Conservatory, Marymount Manhattan College, Dance Theatre of Harlem, LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, Limon Dance Company, Radio City Rockettes Program, Ballet Hispanico, Ailey II, Joffrey Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Westchester Knick's City Dancers and more. Despina has won numerous awards nationwide for her teaching and choreography including several national titles as well as "Teacher of the Year" for several consecutive years, and “Most Innovative Choreographer” at Kids Artistic Revue Nationals.
In 2009 Despina, along with her sister, Matina, founded a professional contemporary dance company named the DeMa Dance Company. She has brought in choreographers Sonya Tayeh, Tyce DiOrio, Tokyo and Yesid Lopez. Additionally DeMa Dance Company possesses a cadre of notable company members including Billy Bell from Fox's hit TV show "So You Think You Can Dance".
In addition to performing and choreographing, Despina has appeared on numerous covers of Body Wrappers Dancewear catalogues as their featured dance model. She has also appeared in a Nike print advertisement. Her students have also had the experience of appearing in several Body Wrappers Dancewear catalogues. Furthermore, Despina has assisted the resident Body Wrappers choreographer for various catalogue photo shoots.