Olga Yaroslavtseva Gershanok was born in Riga Latvia (the former Soviet Union). At age nine she started her professional training at the Riga Ballet Academy with a strong emphasis on traditional classical techniques. During her school years in the Academy, she performed at the Latvian National Opera house.
After graduation in 1982 she became a member of the Latvian National Ballet, and in 1985 was promoted to principal dancer. She performed leading roles in the full classical repertory including Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and many others, touring internationally. In 1989, while on tour, she defected from the Soviet Union, and became a member of the American Ballet Theatre under Mikhail Baryshnikov. Over her eleven years at ABT, she performed a wide variety of soloist and leading roles, including Pas de Trois and Big Swans in “Swan Lake”, Harlots and Friends in “Romeo and Juliet”, Bathilda in “Giselle”, and Madam Vyrubove in “Anastasia”, as well as many others. Olga toured extensively with the company throughout the United States and around the world. Upon leaving ABT she then went on to teach at the Y.M.C.A Performing Arts School in Wyckoff, New Jersey.
As teacher and choreographer, she worked with students running in age from 7 to 18 years, and taught all aspects of ballet from beginner to advanced, including pointe variations, traditional and contemporary. She was the choreographer for award-winning competitions and yearly recitals, as well as head choreographer for “The Nutcracker” performed at the YMCA in December 2010. In the summer of 2011, Olga began teaching at the Greenwich Ballet Academy, where she has been working as a teacher, choreographer, and trainer for students participating in YAGP, UBC, CT Classic, and numerous other ballet competitions. In the past few years, she has been a choreographer for the annual Nutcracker, and Gala Performances. From 2011 to 2021, Olga was also a member of the faculty of Petrov Ballet School, where she taught senior levels technique and pointe work. As well as continuing her work with Greenwich, Olga is now a part of the faculty of the Elite Ballet Academy, based in Waldwick New Jersey.