Remembering Bonnie Dance Thornton

Louisville Ballet remembers Bonnie Dance Thornton, our first prima ballerina from 1952.

Bonnie Dance, known today as Bonnie Thornton, has left her mark with Louisville Ballet. She performed Fokine’s The Dying Swan for our very first audience on March 16, 1952 at 15 years old. As dance writer George Hubbard wrote about her first performance, “There was one swan and one cello; it was The Dying Swan. It could have easily turned into a wild goose chase or a dead duck, but it was the first public performance by the Louisville Ballet, on March 16, 1952. That was the beginning of the company…”

It was also the beginning of an illustrious career for Thornton. She continued performing with Louisville Ballet through her graduation from Louisville Male High School as well as her time at the University of Louisville. Her passion for ballet soon took her to Manhattan where she was cast in several Broadway productions.

Bonnie Thornton was a committed supporter of Louisville Ballet and the wider Louisville arts community, and we fondly remember her many contributions to Louisville Ballet. To read her obituary and find visitation information, click here.