When Salwa Rizkalla's father signed her up for ballet lessons, she went to class begrudgingly.
But those lessons set the 10-year-old on a path to grandeur, first as a professional ballet dancer and later as a teacher.
The artistic director of Fountain Valley's Festival Ballet Theatre and owner of Southland Ballet Academy began her career in her native country of Egypt.
Around that time, when Gamal Abdel Nasser was president, the best of the world's performing arts, from Shakespeare and Italian opera to Russian ballet and symphonies, were featured nonstop in Egypt.
"We participated with so many companies that came to perform in Egypt and danced in every opera," she said.
It's been about 30 years since Rizkalla moved to the United States, but what she learned through the first Russian-style ballet academy in Egypt has remained with her. She is now passing on the Russian vaganova ballet technique to her students here.