Greensboro Ballet facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsGreensboro Ballet
|Local name||Greensboro Ballet|
|Previous names||Greensboro Civic Ballet, Civic Ballet Theatre|
|Principal venue||Carolina Theatre of Greensboro
|School director||Nina Bass Munda|
|Artistic Director||Jessica Fry McAllister|
|Associated schools||The School of Greensboro Ballet|
Greensboro Ballet is a professional ballet company in North Carolina. It is the only ballet company in the Piedmont Triad. It is one of the only non-profit ballet companies in North Carolina. Greensboro Ballet has presented works by George Balanchine. The company also has performed a number of works made especially for the Greensboro Ballet by Rick McCullough, Jill Eathorne Bahr, Leslie Jane Pessemier, and alumni Emery LeCrone. Maryhelen Mayfield, who served as artistic and executive director of Greensboro Ballet from 1980 to 2019, choreographed over twenty-five works for the company.
In 1964 the Greensboro Civic Ballet was formed. The original focus was on providing local dancers with annual performances. In the 1970s the Greensboro Civic Ballet was reorganized under the name Civic Ballet Theatre and a ballet school was created. Organizers of the company approached the United Arts Council of Greensboro for membership as well as funding and space within the Greensboro Cultural Center. In 1980 Maryhelen Mayfield, a former dancer with the Kansas City Ballet, was hired as the Artistic Director and Executive Director. which performs primarily in Greensboro, North Carolina at the Carolina Theatre of Greensboro. Under the direction of Mayfield and John Dennis, director of The School of Greensboro Ballet, the school received membership in the Southeast Regional Ballet Association and became the first Honor Company in North Carolina, the highest level of membership within the Association. The name then changed from Civic Ballet Theatre to Greensboro Ballet. Professional dancers were introduced into the company in 1995. Greensboro Ballet has performed with the accompaniment of the EMF Young Artists Orchestra of the Eastern Music Festival and with the Greensboro Symphony. While the company performs mainly in Greensboro, it has gone on tour various times throughout North Carolina.
In 2017, Greensboro Ballet company member Lauren Dorn became the first African-American to dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the company's production of The Nutcracker.
In November 2019 Mayfield left Greensboro Ballet. She was succeeded by principal dancer and ballet mistress Jessica Jessica Fry McAlister as artistic director and by Jennifer Savage Gentry as executive director. In January 2020 Mayfield and Dennis, the former director of the School of Greensboro Ballet, filed a lawsuit against the ballet company.
Greensboro Ballet has performed a wide variety of ballets, including:
- The Firebird
- A Midsummer Night's Dream
- The Nutcracker
- Muttcracker, a performance of Nutcracker with live dogs on stage
- The Sleeping Beauty
- Snow White
- Swan Lake
- Les Sylphides
- Valse Fantasia
The School of Greensboro Ballet
The company also hosts The School of Greensboro Ballet, the Piedmont Triad's only non-for-profit classical Russian ballet school and the only school in Guilford County with access to Balanchine choreography. The school is located in the Greensboro Cultural Center. The Director of The School of Greensboro Ballet was John Dennis, a former dancer for the Dallas Ballet, from 1986 to 2019. He was succeeded by Nina Bass Munda, a former principal dancer with the company.
Notable alumni of the School of Greensboro Ballet include:
- Kara Medoff Barnett, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre
- Katie Digby, founder and director of Digby Dance
- Emily Byrd Lawrence, meteorologist at WGHP
- Megan LeCrone, soloist with New York City Ballet
- Emery LeCrone, choreographer and dancer
- Brandon Alley, dancer with BalletBC
Community outreach and programs
Greensboro Ballet has a number of programs for community outreach throughout Greensboro and North Carolina. Of these include:
- Build-a-Ballet Program - funded by Lincoln Financial Corporation, an original dance work is created by and performed at a different public school in Guilford County each year.
- City Dance - the company travels to various elementary schools in the area to teach ballet technique and movement classes, offering scholarships to the School of Greensboro Ballet to students who show promise.
- Dancing Above the Barre - a program for students with various disabilities that had in the past kept them out of dance classes
- Dance in the Schools (also called DITS) - the company travels to elementary schools in the Triad area to perform and educate children on the art of classical ballet.
- Out on the Town series - the company travels to perform in community centers, schools, and theaters in traditionally under-served areas.
- First Friday - Every first Friday of the month in downtown Greensboro, the Ballet Company participates in the First Friday festival.
Greensboro Ballet also provides complimentary tickets to other non-profit organizations .
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