Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Louisville Ballet! We’re excited for you to join us. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, email info@louisvilleballet.org and a staff member will reach out to help. 

What kind of dancing will I see at a performance?

As the 5th oldest ballet company in the nation, Louisville Ballet creates and performs classical and contemporary ballets that respect tradition and encourage innovation. You will see classical ballets such as Swan Lake or Romeo & Juliet performed with the traditional choreography, music, and costumes that have been revered for decades. These timeless ballets typically follow classic narratives of love, loss, romance, and community. 

You will also see contemporary ballets – more recent works that take movement from modern, jazz, and other genres – that feature new stories, or may not have a narrative, and be more experimental in nature. Whether the performance is classical or contemporary, you’ll see stunning artistry from our Company Artists and Studio Company Dancers, and innovative choreography by our artistic teams, often featuring internationally-recognized creators. You may walk away from a contemporary work with a completely different perspective or interpretation from another patron. That’s part of the fun!

I’ve never been to the ballet. How will I know what’s happening? 

We’re so glad you’ve chosen to attend a live art experience with us! Most classical ballets are based on stories, and since the dancers don’t speak, we provide summaries in our print program, Étoile, so you can follow along. We also usually have lots of production information posted before the performance on our website. Even if you choose not to follow along, you can learn a lot by watching the dancers’ expressions and movements – as well as using clues from the scenic design, lighting, costumes, and music. 

Sometimes, contemporary pieces in mixed-repertory programs don’t have narratives, and the focus may be more on the shapes, moods, and ideas the dancers create through movement, or the way the music or other production elements interact with the artists on stage. Don’t worry too much about trying to “figure out” the piece or decide on one interpretation; everyone has a unique reaction to the art they witness. No matter the kind of show, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the beautiful performance! 

What is a mixed-repertory program?

A mixed-repertory or mixed-rep program typically features a few shorter pieces, often a mix of classical and contemporary, by different choreographers rather than a singular ballet in multiple acts by one primary choreographer. Mixed-rep shows give you insight into the future of dance – often highlighting new work and visiting choreographers, bringing the best of international talent to Louisville. These programs can be a great introduction to ballet for someone who wants to see a wide range of movement styles and stories.

Are the dancers professional ballet dancers?

Yes! Louisville Ballet is a professional ballet company, and dancing is the full-time job of our Company Artists. You will see both our Company Artists and Studio Company Dancers in productions. Our Studio Company, formerly known as the Trainee Program, offers tuition-free, professional-caliber training for aspiring professional dancers. This program, a post-secondary extension of The Louisville Ballet School, provides dancers with the experience of working in a fully professional company environment. 

Can I clap or cheer for the dancers?

Absolutely! If a dancer does an impressive turn or leap, it’s encouraged to show your support and clap for them. At the end of the show, the dancers take bows together, and it’s common to hear clapping and cheering. The dancers appreciate your support!

What do I wear?

Whatever makes you comfortable. You’ll see everything from jeans to cocktail attire, especially during the holiday season. Many people opt for business casual, but whether you’ve got a special occasion dress for opening night or your favorite jeans and sneakers for a matinee, we’re glad you’re here. 

When should I arrive, and what if I arrive late?

Arriving at least 30 minutes before the show will give you some time to park, grab a drink, and get settled – but sometimes parking in downtown Louisville requires some extra time. Additionally, we often have pre-show talks scheduled one hour before the show, so come early and hear what choreographers or special guests have to say about the work you’re about to see! 

Late arrivals are typically seated in the balcony, between pieces (in a mixed-rep), or during intermission so as not to distract other patrons.  

Are ballet performances appropriate for children?

We believe dance is for everybody, and all can enjoy the beautiful art form. As is true for any entertainment, it depends on the performance and what you personally deem appropriate for your children. We are proud to host students from varying school groups in Louisville for many of our student matinee performances, knowing that the moving art they see presents opportunities for learning and discussion. If you have questions or concerns about a particular performance, we’re happy to chat with you; please email info@louisvilleballet.org or call the Box Office at 502-583-2623.

Do you offer any accessibility accommodations?

Yes! We offer American Sign Language and Audio Description at select performances and offer Sensory Friendly and No Shush performances of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker.  Wheelchair accessible seating is available at The Brown Theatre, The Kentucky Center, and our Main Street studios. For more information, contact info@louisvilleballet.org

How many times do the dancers perform each season?

Around 40-50 times per season! 

What tips do you have for someone attending the ballet?

Be present. We recommend turning off your phone and getting settled in your seat before the performance starts in order to give your full attention to the dancers on stage. 

Appreciate the whole experience. Of course you’ll see beautiful dancing, but consider the other astounding elements of a show: the music, the set, the costumes, the lighting, the energy of the audience, perhaps the gasp of a child seeing someone dance for the first time, or the enjoyment of going out to dinner before the show with loved ones. Maybe you discuss the performance in the car on the way home, and maybe you walk away with a newfound love for a choreographer, composer, or style of dance. 

See it again! Seeing a performance again can, in fact, be like seeing it for the first time. Some productions feature multiple casts, and one dancer may interpret a character in a different way than their counterpart. Sitting in another part of the theater can also give you a new perspective on a performance. Just like watching a movie or reading a book again, you’ll notice new things each time you revisit. Suffice it to say, you won’t get bored seeing a performance twice.

Engage with the folks around you. Don’t be afraid to say hi to the staff at the marketing table, chat with a fellow audience member during intermission about what you saw, or ask a staff member more about what we do at Louisville Ballet. Share your experiences with us in person, on social media, or through post-performance surveys. We want to hear from you!

Be aware of your surroundings and practice mindful theater etiquette. We don’t want you to miss a thing, so try to avoid talking, cell phone use, eating noisy food, or excessive movement that may disturb your fellow audience members and the performers on stage.

We look forward to seeing you in the theater!