Nevada Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. What was once a just a dream for co-founders Vassili Sulich and Nancy Houssels quickly became a reality after their dancers’ first performance at UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre. Founded in 1972, with $1,000 from each of it’s founding members and financial backing from Ms. Houssels, Nevada Dance Theatre was born. It was the state’s first professional ballet company.
In 1979, the company established the Academy, for children and young dance enthusiasts across Southern Nevada in which to grow and nourish their dance education. It is a highly respected organization and one of the top training centers in the art of ballet in the city. Home to 400 students in the Las Vegas Valley, the Academy of Nevada Ballet offers pre-professional education in ballet and dance, highlighting jazz and contemporary styles. Although a rigorous program, do not be surprised to hear Director Anna Lanz instruct her students to, “Dance with joy!”
In 1996, the company received a generous grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation with which to build a home for their organization on land donated from The Howard Hughes Corporation. In 1997, Nevada Dance Theatre was renamed Nevada Ballet Theatre, to better reflect the company’s classical repertoire.
This year Nevada Ballet Theatre celebrates their 45th anniversary with a trio of iconic ballets from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and the annual holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Dance enthusiasts can note that the annual Studio Series and Choreographer’s Showcase will continue this next season. The company will finish its season with the classic Peter Pan.
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