Inspire human connection, collaboration, and creativity by making moving art.
Louisville Ballet, led by Artistic + Executive Director Robert Curran, is an evolved, but accessible form of artistic expression that boldly and beautifully communicates stories both classic and new. We exist to move, to evoke emotion, to provoke thought, and to challenge perceptions. We are artists, athletes and activists. We are inventors and inspirers. We have been one of the nation’s leading ballet companies since 1952. As the Official State Ballet of Kentucky, we have hosted some of ballet’s biggest names including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp and Wendy Whelan, performed for tens of thousand of people and reached over 20,000 school children throughout the commonwealth with educational programs annually.
When you give to Louisville Ballet, you’ll help us make a visible and tangible impact on communities statewide, partnering with internationally known choreographers, and programming ambitious works that establish us as a world-class jewel in Louisville’s crown.
Louisville Ballet, the official ballet of the commonwealth of Kentucky, was founded in March 1952 as a civic ballet company. At that time, Louisville Ballet employed guest artistic directors and choreographers on a production-by-production basis. In 1965, Larry Gradus was engaged as a full-time resident artistic director, overseeing a group of temporary dancers. Ten years later in 1975, under the direction of Richard and Cristina Munro, the Company achieved professional status by employing eight contracted dancers to form the ensemble company.
The Academy of the Louisville Ballet, now the Louisville Ballet School, opened in 1975 with Alun Jones as Associate Director. In 1978 Jones became Louisville Ballet’s Artistic Director, a position he held until his retirement in 2002. In addition to his duties as Artistic Director, Mr. Jones choreographed numerous works for the Company and did a great deal of costume and scenic design during his tenure. Louisville Ballet holds the great distinction of being the only regional company with which Mikhail Baryshnikov has performed in repertoire productions. He danced with the Company during the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons, after which the Louisville Ballet supported his performances in Dallas and Houston.
Upon Jones’ retirement in the spring of 2002, the Louisville Ballet named Bruce Simpson as the Artistic Director of the Company and the Louisville Ballet School, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the international ballet world. Under the direction of Mr. Simpson, Louisville Ballet continued to present a diverse range of exciting work underscored by a foundation rooted in the classical repertoire. During Simpson’s tenure, the Company commissioned fifteen of its 70 world-premieres from choreographers including Helen Pickett, Adam Hougland, Amy Seiwert, Graham Lustig and Val Caniparoli. In December 2009, the Company premiered The Brown-Forman Nutcracker choreographed by Val Caniparoli with costume and scenic design by Peter Cazalet. Simpson retired as Artistic Director in summer 2014.
Robert Curran began his tenure as Louisville Ballet Artistic Director in late-summer 2014, just as the Company’s 2014-2105 Season began. He brought with him experience as dancer, choreographer, and director and the commitment to ballet is a vital art form, with classical ballet at its core. At the start of the 2015 season, he took on additional responsibilities, becoming Artistic & Executive Director. Curran danced with The Australian Ballet for 16 years,10 years as a Principal Artist, retiring in 2011. He also co-founded project-based dance company Jack Productions, and worked as rehearsal director for Bangarra Dance Theatre – Australia’s leading Indigenous performing arts company. A commitment to new, collaborative works, live music and respect given to classical works are all hallmarks of Mr. Curran’s approach in this role. In his short tenure, he has commissioned a new piece by notable Australian Choreographer Lucas Jervies, What Light is to Our Eyes, choreographed a new world-premiere version of Coppélia set in 1917 Louisville, programmed a collaborative production with The Louisville Orchestra that features the work of Principal Choreographer Adam Hougland and committed to performing the work of the great American choreographer George Balanchine each season.
Louisville Ballet has a repertoire of over 150 works by such choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton, Erik Bruhn, George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, John Cranko, Jack Carter, Kurt Jooss, Choo-San Goh, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Eugene Loring, André Prokovsky and Domy Reiter-Soffer, along with Fokine and Bournonville ballets. Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Giselle, Don Quixote, Anna Karenina, Beauty and the Beast, The Three Musketeers and The Great Gatsby are a sampling of the Company’s full-length ballets.
In addition to four main stage productions, Louisville Ballet produces two in-studio programs allowing audience in our rehearsal studios. Louisville Ballet reaches an audience of nearly 50,000 people each year through performance and outreach activities and has earned a national reputation as one of the Country’s leading regional ballet companies. Our reach extends to all areas of the Louisville community and into Southern Indiana.
The Louisville Ballet Studio Company provides a unique opportunity for dancers on the cusp of their professional careers. While receiving excellent training and working alongside Louisville Ballet Company dancers, these emerging young artists are truly the bridge between The School and Company. Studio Company dancers have opportunities to perform with the Company as repertoire allows each season, with The School, and as part of the Community Engagement team with education outreach performances in schools throughout the area. Additionally, the Louisville Ballet Studio Company will maintain the classical repertoire in productions created exclusively for these talented young dancers throughout the region.
Half of the Company Dancers in Louisville Ballet began their careers as trainees with the Company.
Thank you for your interest in being part of Louisville Ballet. We are a talented team of professionals committed to making. moving. art in our community and beyond.
We are currently seeking a Development Manager. Please see listing for more information on how to apply.
James E. Haynes
James Welch, Sr.
Sherry M. Feldpausch
Janet Den Uyl
Christopher Doane, PhD*
* Ex Officio
Mayor Greg Fischer*
Matthew E. Hamel
James E. Haynes
Peter Ashby Howard
Carolle Jones Clay
Katherine P. Langan
Lisa Patrick Leet
Woo Speed McNaughton
Angela Zuvon Nenni
Thomas T. Noland, Jr.
Secretary Don Parkinson*
Ellen Hirsch Shapira
John A Stough, Jr.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS
Lee Purcell Best
Alexandra Gerassimides, MD
D. Patton Pelfrey
Barbara Sexton Smith
Larry J. Steinberg
Louisville Ballet currently has a large inventory of full-scale story ballets and contemporary one-of-a-kind pieces available for rent. Available rentals range from complete productions to dramatic drops, costumes or simple scenic elements. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 502.583.3150 x 230 for more information.