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Nevada Ballet


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The vision of a professional ballet company based in Las Vegas was brought to life in 1972 when Vassili Sulich, then the principal dancer with the Tropicana Hotel and Casino’s famed Folies Bergere, gathered a group of ballet dancers from the Las Vegas Boulevard entertainment industry and presented a series of dance concerts to an enthusiastic public at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) Performing Arts Center’s Judy Bayley Theatre. The overwhelmingly positive reception of the community, combined with the support of UNLV, was such that within two years a volunteer board, headed by founding chairman and former dancer, Nancy Houssels, was established.  Soon, Mr. Sulich’s volunteer dancers became Nevada Dance Theatre and during the next 25 years of his leadership, together with the pioneer spirit of co-founder Nancy Houssels, a company of national stature emerged. In 1997, Bruce Steivel joined the company as its second artistic director, and the organization was renamed Nevada Ballet Theatre.

A world-class ballet company and training academy continues to take shape from this effort. Now in its 37th Season, Nevada Ballet Theatre is a leading force in the establishment of the live performing arts in Southern Nevada. With an ambitious schedule of performances, development of local talent and a commitment to outreach and education, today’s Nevada Ballet Theatre commands status on the national scale while touching thousands of lives in the Las Vegas Valley every year.

In 1996, the organization received a major grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and with a donation of land from The Howard Hughes Corporation, built a home for the company and its academy in Summerlin. The 36,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, designed by internationally renowned JMA Architects, features seven dance studios, scenery and costume room, administrative offices, a corporate board room, a dance boutique and a fully equipped Pilates studio. This magnificent space allows students of all ages to train side by side with professional dancers.

As a leading cultural organization in the state, Nevada Ballet Theatre is committed to the highest artistic standards. Dancers for the company have been recruited from around the world and include artists with international performing experience. The classically based company is at home in an eclectic repertory, moving easily from the romantic era classics to the high-energy contemporary ballets.  Nevada Ballet Theatre’s repertoire includes acclaimed 20th century master works from famous choreographers such as George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, and Twyla Tharp, as well as contemporary choreographers Peter Anastos, Val Caniparoli, Bruce Steivel and James Canfield.  

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Nevada Ballet Theatre is the largest professional ballet company and dance Academy in the state.  The mission of Nevada Ballet Theatre is to educate and inspire regional, statewide and national audiences and vitally impact community life through professional company productions, dance training and education and outreach. Beginning in 2011, Nevada Ballet Theatre will be a resident company in the new world-class Smith Center for the Performing Arts.



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