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The mission of the Oakland Ballet Company is to inspire the East Bay community and beyond by keeping the tradition of ballet exciting, vibrant and accessible.
For over 45 years, Oakland Ballet Company has maintained its commitment to inspiring the East Bay community and beyond by keeping the tradition of ballet exciting, vibrant, and accessible. Oakland Ballet was founded in 1965 by Ronn Guidi, an Oakland native and gained international recognition through its historical reconstructions of ballets from the legendary Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev, mounting of classic works of Americana, and creation of innovative contemporary choreography.
In 2000, Ronn Guidi retired and Karen Brown, celebrated Dance Theatre of Harlem dancer, succeeded as Artistic Director. Brown continued Oakland Ballet’s commitment to performing great works of classical ballet, and focused especially on local and contemporary choreographers. Oakland Ballet closed in 2006, but was enthusiastically revived in 2007 with Guidi returning as Artistic Director. Since its rebirth, Oakland Ballet Company has brought its classic mix of drama -- with ballets like Vaslav Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun and Mark Wilde’s Bolero -- and family classics -- like Guidi’s Secret Garden and Carlos Carvajal’s Nutcracker -- to Oakland and the East Bay communities. Oakland Ballet Company’s continuing partnership with Michael Morgan and the incomparable Oakland East Bay Symphony has added to the rich experience of attending an Oakland Ballet performance.
A cornerstone of Oakland Ballet Company’s over 40-year legacy has been our engagement with the community, from school visits by dancers to performances at Children’s Fairyland and Oakland’s Children’s Hospital. Through our partnership with the Oakland Unified School District and Community Access Tickets Service, Oakland Ballet Company has brought the gift of ballet and live music to those who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience live theater.
In 2010, the Oakland Ballet Company celebrated the arrival of internationally acclaimed choreographer and director Graham Lustig as Artistic Director. Lustig’s career as a dancer, artistic director and choreographer parallels Oakland Ballet’s tradition of presenting historically vibrant work while championing new choreography.
- Leah Curran
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