Richmond Ballet News

Three Richmond Ballet Company Dancers Announce Retirement

March 6th, 2017

Richmond Ballet announces that company dancers Valerie Tellmann-Henning, Kirk Henning, and Thomas Ragland will be retiring at the end of the 2016-17 season in May.

Tellmann-Henning, who is the Company’s longest tenured dancer, began dancing at The School of Richmond Ballet in 1993 and advanced to apprentice in 1998. In 2000, she was promoted to the Richmond Ballet professional company.

“I have immense gratitude toward the faculty and staff of the Richmond Ballet,” Tellmann-Henning said.

“In my early years they perfected and codified my technique, but more importantly, through the subsequent years my spirit, soul, and artistry have matured and been nurtured under their tutelage. Richmond Ballet and its audiences have been my breath for so long, I know that going forward the lessons I have learned will guide me in my next chapter toward the perfection I have always strived for as a ballerina.”

Some of Tellmann-Henning’s most notable roles have been leads in Cinderella and Romeo & Juliet, plus those of Striptease Girl in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Cowgirl in Rodeo, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.

Her next steps include continuing at Richmond Ballet in the Marketing department as Public Relations and Content Manager.

“I am very excited to share my passion for dance and Richmond Ballet’s vision with the Richmond community in a new way,” Tellmann-Henning said. “Having already done so as a student and professional dancer, I am eager to utilize my extensive knowledge of many facets of the organization to inspire future patrons to experience the importance that art and dance have in our daily lives.”

Tellmann-Henning’s husband, Kirk Henning, who also is retiring, will work to complete his Bachelor of the Arts degree in computer science.

Henning first joined Richmond Ballet in 2004, and in subsequent years, danced with Jessica Lang Dance and with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, where he received a 2007 Movado Future Legends Award.

During his time with Richmond Ballet, some of Henning’s many roles have been Prince Florian in Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht in Giselle, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, and Apollo in Apollo.

“I am looking forward to my next exciting adventures,” Henning said. “I have really enjoyed my time at Richmond Ballet and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given while I have been here.”

Thomas Ragland, the third retiree, has been with Richmond Ballet for 18 years. The Henrico High graduate started dancing at The School of Richmond Ballet in 1993, which is when he was also cast as the Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker.

After participating in both the Ballet’s apprentice and trainee programs, Ragland joined Richmond Ballet in 2007 and was cast in roles that included, but are not limited to, The Moor in The Moor’s Pavane, the Snow King in The Nutcracker, Puss-in-Boots in Sleeping Beauty, a Principal in Carmina Burana, and Paris in Romeo & Juliet.

“Richmond Ballet will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I started professional training,” Ragland said. Talking about how he wants to expand his dance repertoire while traveling more, he remarked, “Even though I am leaving Richmond Ballet and my dance friends, I look forward to spreading my wings and expanding my dance career.”

Stoner Winslett, Artistic Director, said, “All three of these dancers have played vital roles in the growth of Richmond Ballet. They have represented us well, not only in Richmond and across the Commonwealth, but also in major tours such as New York, London, and China. They will be sorely missed, but we wish them all the best in their new endeavors.”


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There will still be four more opportunities to see Tellmann-Henning, Henning, and Ragland perform before they retire.

All three will perform for Studio Two in Tribute by Malcolm Burn this month, and Studio Three in a World Premiere by Matthew Frain in April.

They also will dance in various works for both the Richmond Ballet Joyce Preview program and the Ballet’s New York City tour to The Joyce Theater. Tellmann-Henning will perform in Polaris by Katarzyna Skarpetowska and Lift the Fallen by Ma Cong, Henning will perform in Swipe by Val Caniparoli and Polaris, and Ragland will perform in Swipe and Lift the Fallen.

Studio Two | March 14-19, 2017
Richmond Ballet Studio Theatre | 407 East Canal Street, Richmond, VA 23219

A World Premiere by Kate Skarpetowska
A Tribute (To Marcel Marceau and Bip) | Choreography by Malcolm Burn | Music by Ricardo Drigo
Tuesday, March 14, 6:30 p.m. (Choreographer’s Club)
Wednesday, March 15, 2:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 16, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 17, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 18, 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 19, 2:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.

Studio Three | April 4-9, 2017
Richmond Ballet Studio Theatre | 407 East Canal Street, Richmond, VA 23219

A World Premiere by Matthew Frain
Notturno | Choreography by Salvatore Aiello| Music by Franz Schubert
Pas Glazunov | Choreography by Malcolm Burn | Music by Alexander Glazunov
Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 p.m. (Choreographer’s Club)
Wednesday, April 5, 2:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 6, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, April 7, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 8, 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 9, 2:00 pm & 4:00 p.m.

Joyce Preview | May 2-4, 2017
Richmond Ballet Studio Theatre | 407 East Canal Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Polaris | Choreography Kate Skarpetowska | Music by Murcof
Swipe | Choreography by Val Caniparoli | Music by Gabriel Prokofiev
Lift the Fallen | Choreography by Ma Cong | Music by Max Richter
Tuesday, May 2, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 3, 6:30 p.m. (Choreographer’s Club)
Thursday, May 4, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, May 5, 6:30 p.m.

New York City Tour | May 9-14, 2017
Joyce Theater | 175 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Polaris | Choreography Kate Skarpetowska | Music by Murcof
Swipe | Choreography by Val Caniparoli| Music by Gabriel Prokofiev
Lift the Fallen | Choreography by Ma Cong | Music by Max Richter
Tuesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 11, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 12, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 13, 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 14, 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Tickets start at $20.00. Tickets to Studio Two, Studio Three and New York City Richmond Preview are available through, by calling 1.800.514.3849 or by visiting the Richmond Ballet Box Office at 407 East Canal Street, Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

To request media tickets to Studio Two, Studio Three or Joyce Preview, please contact Laura Fien at or at 804-344-0906 x244.

For information regarding performances, sponsorships packages, and accommodations for the New York City Tour, contact Mary Catesby Paul by calling 804-344-0909 ext. 284.

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