> Our Mission & History
Mission and Goals
Founded in 1981, Connecticut Ballet is the state's professional ballet company, performing a diverse repertoire of new works, masterworks, and great story ballets. The company's artistic mission is the presentation of the highest quality professional classical and contemporary ballet. Connecticut Ballet develops future artists and audiences through its affiliated school, Connecticut Ballet Center and Center for Dance Education, serving all ages and backgrounds to develop a greater appreciation for the dance art form.
Connecticut Ballet was founded in 1981 by choreographers Brett Raphael and Luk de Layress. Its official debut took place (under the company's former title, Ballet Today) at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. Shortly thereafter, the company made its Connecticut debut at the Stamford Center for the Arts, where it became a resident performing company in 1986.
Striving for continuous artistic growth, Artistic Director Brett Raphael has made the commissioning of new works by today's choreographers a hallmark of the company's repertoire. New ballets have been created by Ann Reinking, Joseph Locarro, Luk de Layress, Lila York, and Raphael himself alongside restagings of works by Anna Sokolow, Daryl Gray, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Danny Buraczeski, and Milton Myers. In addition, the company repertoire includes the full-length Nutcracker, Cinderella, Giselle, Coppèlia, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Petrouchka and Brigadoon.
In September of 1999, a new phase in the company's development arrived when Zig Zag Ballet, Connecticut Ballet's ten member contemporary company, became the resident ballet company at the Stamford Center for the Arts. Zig Zag Ballet's repertoire includes works by Raphael, Ann Marie DeAngelo, Lar Lubovitch, Ramon Oller, Joel Schnee, Jahain Clark, and Darrell Moultrie. Zig Zag Ballet's New York debut took place in May 2003 at Hunter Playhouse. In February 2008, Zig Zag Ballet premiered Visages, a new work by Olivier Pawagnimdi Tarpaga, co-founder of Los Angeles-based Baker/Tarpaga Dance Project.
Connecticut Ballet and Zig Zag Ballet artists are contracted by the season. They hail from companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cunningham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Hubbard Street Dance Company, MOMIX, Mark Morris Dance Company, and Complexions.
Connecticut's professional ballet company has performed throughout New England in addition to special appearances at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, New York's Riverside Dance Festival, Cape Cod Performing Arts Festival, Harbourfront Festival in Toronto, Grand Central Station in New York City, Goat Island Dance Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, and many other venues.