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The Orlando Ballet seeks to entertain, educate, and enrich the cultural growth of our community through the highest quality of dance.
A Brief History of Orlando Ballet Orlando Ballet, a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization has served the Central Florida Community since it was founded as Southern Ballet Theatre in 1974 by Kip Watson, Barbara Riggins, and Patti Watson Walsh. Orlando Ballet's mission is to entertain, educate, and enrich the cultural growth of the Orlando community and region through the highest quality of dance.Orlando Ballet is comprised of 29 professional dancers who have come to dance with the company from throughout the world. Orlando Ballet performs a varied repertoire of productions from classical ballet to cutting edge dance and has a positive impact on the region's diverse population through its educational outreach programs. In addition, Orlando Ballet operates 4 Orlando Ballet School locations which provide professional dance instruction to more than 1,500 students annually. Orlando Ballet has a history of engaging world-class artistic leaders following the five-year tenure of Fernando Bujones, one of the top professional male ballet dancers of the twentieth century, with Bruce Marks, one of the top ballet artistic directors in the final quarter of the twentieth century. There has been no other performing arts organization with back-to-back artistic professionals of this caliber in the Central Florida region. Orlando Ballet offers six professionally and locally produced productions each season, including its highly-acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. The accolades and accomplishments of Orlando Ballet are many: from critically acclaimed productions to award-winning outreach programs, and from professionally training more than 1,500 students each year to developing gold medal-winning students. The Ballet tours extensively and has a second home at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa where it is the designated Resident Professional Ballet Company. In addition to its professional company, Orlando Ballet operates 4 Orlando Ballet School locations. Two Schools are located in Orange County, one in Seminole County, and one in Hillsborough County. The combined annual enrollment of the four schools is more than 1,500 students. Orlando Ballet School offers some of the finest ballet training available and is accredited with the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. Orlando Ballet's community outreach programs impact thousands of children each year. The Ballet's Youth Ensemble presents more than 50 free outreach performances annually and the Introduction to Ballet program exposes more than 16,000 second grade Orange County School students to professional ballet productions each school year. Scholarship Training for the Enrichment of Primary Students (STEPS) is a program targeting low-income, at-risk third graders, providing free dance instruction and apparel. STEPS has impacted more than 500 children in its 13 year history and was expanded into Seminole County during the 2006-2007 school calendar year, successfully serving 25 children from Midway Elementary School. Orlando Ballet's Scholarship Program awards more than $120,000 in scholarships each year, enabling students faced with financial challenges to continue pursuing their dreams of becoming professional dancers.
- Francesca Agostino
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