Veteran moves from Desert Storm to ballet academy


Elena and Scottwood Ivers own the Brevard Ballet Academy.

Courtesy of the Ivers family

It’s a long way from King Fahad Air Base in Saudi Arabia, where Scottwood Ivers reenlisted in a bunker with Col. Alan Hess presiding, to the Eau Gallie Arts District.

Ivers is, as he puts it, “the owner’s supportive husband,” of wife Elena’s Brevard Ballet Academy.

The Jacksonville, North Carolina native met his wife onstage during a ballet performance. That was after a ballroom dance instructor invited him to audition for what he thought was a musical.

“Turns out, it was a ballet,” he said.

Single and with a flexible schedule after leaving the military, Ivers accepted the challenge.

“All I had to do was dress like a musketeer and move around in the background, kind of like a moving tree,” he joked.

It was during rehearsals that Ivers first caught a glimpse of Russian principal ballerina Elena Shokhina.

“She was breathtaking,” Ivers said.

As it turns out, Scottwood and Elena did not speak to each other during the show. But, 10 years later, they would reconnect and marry soon thereafter.

Ivers enlisted in the Air Force in 1987.

“I had been a medic in my civilian life, so I was put in charge of a newly assigned medical war readiness unit in Homestead Air Force Base,” he said.

In 1989, his unit deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

“During this deployment, my four-year enlistment was up, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave my unit in the middle of Operation Desert Storm, and that led to 10 more years of service,” he said.

After the war, Ivers headed to Brevard County in 1992, thanks to a hurricane called Andrew. In 2014, the couple began searching for a location for a ballet school. They found it in the Eau Gallie Arts District, where Elena opened the Brevard Ballet Academy.

“Having an extensive background in carpentry, I was able to refurbish the location,” Ivers said.

Brevard Ballet Academy now has more than 200 students, ranging in age from 3 to adults. Ivers is happy to help Elena do her magic, which has translated into having her students accepted for training at the prestigious Boston and Bolshoi Ballets, among others.

“My title is whatever she needs me to be that day,” he said.