In 1966, a group of 85 ballet enthusiasts and visionaries under the leadership of the late Majorie Riggs, met at Converse College and decided that Spartanburg needed to have the opportunity to enjoy live classical ballet. They began working as a group to create a charter named The Ballet Guild of Spartanburg. Memberships were $5 for an Active Member, $15 for a Patron and $25 for a Sponsor Membership.
During the first year, local ballet schools from Asheville, North Carolina, Greenville and Spartanburg performed in the first Ballet Festival presented by the Spartanburg Ballet Company. The first nationally recognized ballet company presented by The Ballet Guild of Spartanburg was The Southern Ballet Of Atlanta. Over the course of the next 25 years, notable ballet companies such as Washington Ballet, the Houston Ballet, The Pennsylvania Ballet Company, the Miami Ballet Company, The Atlanta Ballet, The Pittsburgh Ballet and the Charlotte Ballet Company to name a few performed in Spartanburg.
Today, Ballet Spartanburg is recognized as a regional dance company with an exceptional commitment to education and outreach activities in the Upstate. Ballet Spartanburg has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the Koger Center in Columbia, at the Peace Center in Greenville, TEDXTryon, Houston, Texas and Forest City to name a few. For the past 8 years, Ballet Spartanburg has retained the only resident Professional Company in the Upstate, one of only 4 in the state of South Carolina. The Company has performed in Houston, Texas, North and South Carolina.
The Center for Dance Education, began in 1967 under the direction of the late Barbara Ferguson. The Center now instructs approximately 350 students, ages 18 months-72, from over 31 zip codes, all under the direction of Lona Gomez, Ballet Master.
With an ever growing outreach program, Ballet Spartanburg offers lecture/ demonstrations in partnership with Spartanburg School Districts with after school programs, in-school performances, artists in residences, and free performances of Peter & the Wolf for school age students, k-4th grades. Ballet Spartanburg also partners with the City of Spartanburg with summer programs for underserved youth and the Boys and Girls Club of The Upstate as well as offering performances at nursing homes, hospitals and community events.
We are evolving and adapting to serve the needs of the community in all capacities, recognizing the need for diversity, inclusion and equity. Ballet Spartanburg continues to reach deep into the community to hear the needs of others, to collaborate, communicate and to grow in service as we go forward to achieve our mission.
Celebrating 56 years embedded in the Spartanburg community, Ballet Spartanburg's programming continues to evolve with the dance needs of the community and it's students, adding new variations of dance classes with opportunities to extend dance knowledge, technique and new performances to new audiences. We welcome you to join our dance family as we dance gracefully into our next 50 years.