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The Beauty and Grace of Cincinnati Ballet: A Journey Through Dance

Imagine a world where every note and every movement tells a story, where the stage becomes a canvas for breathtaking art. That is what the Cincinnati Ballet delivers to the heart of Ohio: a supportive and diverse audience as it brings together audiences of all ages. They have become a cultural cornerstone in this part of America with their ability to tell stories through dance. However, it hasn’t always been that way, as they have had humble beginnings and faced their fair share of hardships.

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Screenshot from the official website: Cincinnati Ballet

1. History of Cincinnati Ballet

The curtain opened on Cincinnati’s first professional ballet company in December 1963 at SCPA’s Corbett Theater. The new group had been christened Cincinnati Ballet Company (CBC), née Civic Ballet Company; CBC’s first production, Coppélia, was staged by co-founder and initial artistic director David McLain.

Although most people saw it as an amateur showcase more than anything else, it set into motion what would become one of the most beloved forms of entertainment in Ohio.

Fast forward five years later, after much work, ABC became CBC or transformed itself into CBC under David McLain, who also served as Artistic Director. After he took control, everything changed for them. They quickly became recognized for inspiring excellence, having quality productions, and attracting high-caliber dancers who moved from big cities like New York City to perform in other places around America.

Ivan Nagy, a former principal dancer who is a former star of the American Ballet Theatre, took over at the beginning of 1978 and ensured the company became global. Nagy did all of this by attracting globally renowned talents and choreographers to work under CBC. This man’s dedication to excellence did push them on their way to becoming what they are today.

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Screenshot from the official website: Cincinnati Ballet

2. Dance Forms

It doesn’t end with ballet, though, as there are other forms of expression within dance, such as Hip-Hop, Jazz, Tap, etc. Each style has its way of expressing emotions in ways words simply cannot do justice. Understanding each form helps us appreciate how they can complement or contrast with classical ballet.

We move on behind the scenes, where countless hours were spent by both dancers and choreographers rehearsing every single move they would make on stage before unveiling it to audiences.

3. From Studio to Stage

Everyone knows how difficult it can be to deliver your best during a live performance. Imagine doing multiple monthly performances with a schedule of only weeks apart between each show. That’s what dancers go through year-round, including during the holiday season, when many schools cancel practices so everyone can spend time with their loved ones, like Christmas day.

To make matters even worse, sometimes their holiday seasons are spent performing these shows. Anyway, the point is that many hours are clocked in day after day, week after week, to perfect every single gesture, step, and lift.

2023-2024 Season | Cincinnati Ballet

4. Costume and Set Design

Carefully creating costumes and sets is vital for a premier ballet company. The creative process requires skilled artisans who can shape fabric and performance space to fit the dancer and the show. It balances looking good on stage and allowing dancers to move freely in their character. Cincinnati Ballet considers this when working with costume designers for each piece. Allowing every dance to evoke its emotion and context.

A tremendous set design can also transport an audience into the narrative world of any ballet. From minimalist backgrounds that emphasize the dancers’ movement to intricate scenes that bring a specific time and place to life, sets are just as important as costumes. Cincinnati Ballet productions are known for their imaginative designs, often challenging physical feasibility.

5. Community Engagement and Education

Education plays a huge role in Cincinnati Ballet’s mission. They offer programs to make dance more accessible so it can be relatable to everyone from all walks of life, usually targeting students from underserved communities and schools with little exposure to performing arts. These programs don’t only create a larger audience but also inspire future generations of dancers.

In addition to inspiration, young talent is also offered training through education programs like pre-professional courses, adult classes, and summer workshops. This ensures that passionate dancers always have opportunities available for honing their skills.

Young Ballerina dancing, Cincinnati Ballet
Image Source: Pexels

6. Innovation & Collaboration

One way Cincinnati Ballet stays relevant is by collaborating with other arts organizations, musicians, and technologists. Their performances often include videos, live music, or multimedia elements, showcasing how versatile ballet is in modern times.

Cincinnati Ballet has been known for pushing boundaries, too, by working with new choreographers on altogether fresh pieces that challenge dancers, companies, and audiences alike while keeping their repertoire dynamic and forward-thinking, subsequently enriching our experience as viewers.

7. Makeup & Hair For Performances

Performers aren’t complete without makeup and hair – an art form that requires artists who must be both creative and practical due to the rigors of performance. The result is a visual feast that only adds to the sleeping beauty of the storytelling.

As times change, so must the world of ballet. The Cincinnati Ballet works hard to ensure its environment is inclusive. The company can reflect the community’s rich tapestry on stage by casting diverse talent and presenting varied narratives.

The Nutcracker Wig & Makeup Demonstration

8. Cultural Influences in Ballet

Ballet is a global art form. With this in mind, the Cincinnati Ballet incorporates cultural influences from all around the world. This adds depth and authenticity to each performance and shows that ballet isn’t locked into one specific look.

9. Supporting the Cincinnati Ballet

9.1. Patronage and Donations

Art survives through support from everyone who enjoys it. The Cincinnati Ballet heavily relies on patrons and donors for its mission to inspire people through dance. Contributions help keep the magic alive both on stage and off it.

9.2. Volunteer Opportunities

The organization understands not everyone can donate their money, services, or time. Volunteering is an amazing way to give back as well. Offering your talents ensures that there will always be a strong bond between those who love ballet and those professionals who produce it.

10. Final Thoughts on the Cincinnati Ballet

The power of dance holds many secrets, but the most important are progress, diversity, and community engagement. Undoubtedly, anything that lasts for 60 years deserves praise, but there’s much more than that. Dance connects people in ways we can’t comprehend; it can make us feel emotions without directly telling us what they are.

Continuing to protect and foster the art of ballet and delving deeper into its community offerings, the Cincinnati Ballet stands poised to chart new territories in artistic innovation. As the world becomes increasingly digital, the company can leverage technology, reaching a diverse global audience through virtual performances and interactive programs.

As the Cincinnati Ballet enriches the cultural landscape, the shared experiences, the collective gasps, and applause underscore its success. The company’s vibrant energy and bold artistic endeavors are a beacon of the transformative potential of the performing arts.

The Cincinnati Ballet’s ongoing saga is one of preserving the rich heritage of classical dance and constantly reimagining its possibilities. It celebrates the old, embraces the new, and consistently reinvents itself while maintaining an unwavering dedication to artistic excellence.

The journey of the Cincinnati Ballet, much like the art of dance, is an endless pursuit of perfection, a dance without a final bow, an ever-developing story that invites each of us to be a part of its unfolding beauty.

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Mehnaz