The Springfield Ballet Company (SBC) was created in 1975 by the merger of two local dance companies: Copper Coin Ballet and Ballet Concert Group. The Company consists of 29 Company dancers, 26 trainees, a community-based volunteer 21-member Board of Directors, and a staff consisting of Julie Ratz, Artistic Director; Scott F. Raper, Development Director; Gina DeCroix Russell, Ballet Mistress, and contractual Costume Mistress.
The Company’s diversity is evident in its repertory programs, which feature classical ballet, contemporary ballet, jazz, modern, tap, theatre, and character, with three major and several minor performances each season. Committed to community education as well as entertainment, the Springfield Ballet Company produces a biennial educational program, Leap into Lincoln, to which the SBC extends invitations to more than 2,000 4th- and 5th-grade students from eight central Illinois counties, as well as a biennial Girl Scouts Workshop for local troops. The Springfield Ballet Company also proudly offers a Ballet Outreach Program to the Boys & Girls Clubs, teaching weekly ballet lessons to club members, which culminates with a spring recital performance. When requested, the Company also conducts dance residencies and workshops in area schools; grades Pre-K through 12.
The SBC dancers are selected through open auditions each spring. The dancers are in training and rehearsals year-round. The Company provides two weekly classes for its members throughout the year, master classes, and lectures regarding various dance styles, nutrition, and injury prevention. Each summer, the Company organizes an intensive two-week workshop conducted by renowned dancers/choreographers, with the goal of broadening as well as refining the dancers’ skills and technique.
In addition to its regular performance season, the Company performs at festivals, schools, senior centers, and conventions. SBC also gives lecture demonstrations at a variety of sites. The staff participates in community arts events as volunteers, choreographers, and performers. The dancers volunteer their time for educational and community outreach, and many also participate in local community theatre.