As you walk into the downtown studio of the Cincinnati Ballet, the sounds of dancers and music echo in the hallways. "Everybody Dances" is the mantra of this ballet company, where both students and company dancers together practice and learn. This company strives to master the art of dance, as well as make dance available to all people of the community.
Victoria Morgan has been Artistic Director and CEO of the Cincinnati Ballet for over 13 years. A board member of Dance Magazine, an international dance judicator, and formerly a principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet, she has raised the standard of dance for the company and obtained quality dancers, teachers, choreographers, and staff from all over the country and the world. With fewer than thirty dancers, Cincinnati Ballet is significantly smaller than many of the other famous ballets in the United States (located mostly in coastal regions), but it still attracts an international company due to its high quality. While other similarly sized companies have folded in the central United States, Cincinnati Ballet thrives. No other ballet company this size produces such quality art.
The Cincinnati Ballet had its first performance in 1964 at the University of Cincinnati's Wilson Auditorium. It soon became part of the College-Conservatory of Music. This affiliation gave the ballet an advantageous start, providing a spacious venue for rehearsals and performances, and talented students. Professional dance status came in 1970 when the Ballet hired its first salaried dancers. The 1970s and 1980s were a time of tremendous growth for the Ballet, gaining national recognition as a high standard company, expanding performances to Cincinnati Music Hall and Taft Theatre, attracting international dancers, and moving to five series per year. In the 1990s, through the generosity of endowments, the ballet established a permanent home on Central Parkway, and founded the Otto M. Budig Academy. Victoria Morgan was appointed in 1997 and since then the company has continued to enjoy success as a high quality dance organization.
The city of Cincinnati is fortunate to have great local support for the arts. The Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund, which seeks to enhance the community through cultural experiences, is a large supporter of the Ballet. The local Otto M. Budig Family Foundation is also a large supporter of the Ballet. Frisch's, a regional corporation, has sponsored the Ballet's major yearly production of The Nutcracker since first performed in 1974. And more recently, through support from the Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra now collaborates with the Ballet, allowing for the power of live music, which few ballet companies of this size are able to include.
The Cincinnati Ballet performs not only classical ballet, but also contemporary style ballet which is becoming more popular. Each year the ballet opens its season in September with a "New Works" festival, which consists of innovative new creations performed in the small intimate setting of the Mickey Jarson Kaplan Performance Studio. This small venue allows the audience to get so up-close with the dancers they can hear them breathe. The Ballet performs well known classic pieces such as The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker in larger venues like the Aronoff Center for the Arts, and the historic Cincinnati Music Hall. The Cincinnati Ballet offers more adventurous pieces featuring athletic contemporary ballet and popular music. The Ballet also facilitates interaction between performers and audiences by hosting social events. The Ballet and Beer program is an informal reception before opening night where patrons can view a rehearsal and mingle with dancers and staff. Tea Parties are family events after the show where children can meet the dancers, take pictures, and share some treats.
To encourage the mantra "Everybody Dances", the Cincinnati Ballet brings the art of dance out to many people of the community. The Otto M. Budig Academy provides dance classes to people ages three and up. All students participate in a yearly recital and are given priority casting for company performances of The Nutcracker and other age appropriate roles. The CinciDance! program brings ballet classes to elementary schools throughout the Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky region. Promising dancers are then offered scholarships to the Academy. Behind the Scenes tours for students are offered to expose them to rehearsals, backstage, and wardrobe. The In-Step program brings dance demonstrations to schools, retirement communities, businesses and community events. Student matinees are also performed, where students are provided study guides explaining how the performance ties to specific literature.
Tickets are available online at www.cballet.org, by mail, by phone or at the box office. Prices range from $30 to $80 depending on the performance and seat. Tickets are sold for individual performances, or as discounted subscription packages for multiple shows which include other benefits like After Parties.
- Cincinnati Ballet Box Office
- Location: 1555 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH
- Phone: 513-621-5282
- Website: www.cballet.org