Richmond Ballet II
First Row (l-r): Savannah Helmer, Ahna Kollar, Sarah Satterfield, Dominique Jenkins, Gianna Caridi, Cassie Downing, Alexandra Chumney
Second Row (l-r): Isadora Bless, Scout Inghilterra, Sarah Minton, Leah Seifert, Faith Candino, Andrea Riccelli, Rachel Pitchford, Emilia Dagradi, Casey Shepard, Lillian Crocker, Odessa Bless
Third Row (l-r): Keyah Robinson, Naomi Wilson, Charlie Grisham, Alisha Agrawal, Taylor Ebert, Eric McIntyre, Brian Hunter, Catherine Gilfoyle, Kylie Wright, Zane Ellis, Kate Anderson, Gabrielle Bohrman
Stoner Winslett is the founding Artistic Director of Richmond Ballet, the first major company of professional dancers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Upon Ms. Winslett’s arrival in 1980, Richmond Ballet was a student company that contracted with guest soloists for its performances. By the end of the year, she had become the Artistic Director of this promising organization. Since 1984, when she and the Ballet’s Board took the company professional, Richmond Ballet has grown from a small ensemble of twelve dancers, contracted for twenty weeks per season, to a group with twice the number of performers and work weeks. The Company is now recognized both nationally and internationally for the strength of its dancers and its culture of cultivating new ballets while preserving classic traditions. Proclaimed The State Ballet of Virginia in 1990, Richmond Ballet has expanded its reach, performing across the Commonwealth and in major cities around the United States. Making its international debut in London in 2012, in a highly acclaimed run at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre and conducting its first tour to China in May of 2015, with performances at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Company will conclude this season in May 2017 by returning to New York City’s Joyce Theater for the first time since 2010.
Today, Richmond Ballet reaches over 100,000 people annually across the Commonwealth and beyond, and boasts an expansive repertory that contains full-length classics as well as over 60 original works from over 20 choreographers from around the world. Nine of these works are Ms. Winslett’s own choreography and include her highly acclaimed version of The Nutcracker. The Ballet’s scope also includes a school, The School of Richmond Ballet, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015 and serves more than 700 students annually; and many outreach programs featuring the unique Minds In Motion program now in its 22nd year. The organization operates from a state-of-the-art training and performance center on Canal Street, developed in 2000 under the direction of Ms. Winslett and the Ballet’s Board.
Ms. Winslett was trained by Ann Brodie, Aldofina Suarez, and Michael Lland in Columbia, South Carolina, at the American Ballet Theatre School in New York, and the North Carolina School of the Arts on scholarship. After knee injuries curtailed her performing career, Ms. Winslett attended Smith College where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Ms. Winslett is the longest tenured artistic director of a major ballet company and one of the few female artistic directors in the U.S. She has received numerous awards and recognitions at local, state, and national levels, and remains an active leader in the country’s performing arts community, including serving as a former Vice Chair of Dance/USA, as the President of the John Butler Foundation, and as a U.S. delegate to the 2014 U.S.-China Consultation on People-to- People Exchange in Beijing. Still, she often states that her highest honor has been the privilege to work with the talented professionals and dedicated community members who have made a real difference in the world by building Richmond Ballet. Ms. Winslett’s tenure at Richmond Ballet is a testament to the power of dance, and to the culture which can emerge when like-minded people come together.
As the Company looks forward to its next decades, the organization has adopted the following vision for the future: The Richmond Ballet aspires to help transform our world through the unique and special power of dance by training and presenting ballet dancers as the ultimate artists/athletes who inspire us by demonstrating unlimited human potential and beauty. Through the work of Richmond Ballet, this community will continue to move towards one that universally respects the value of human life, both physical and emotional; the power of cooperation and mutual respect; the work ethic and discipline required to achieve anything truly meaningful; and the joy of existing in a compassionate community.