The Ballet was founded in 1954 through the efforts and leadership of Barbara and Deane Crockett, who came to the capital of California from the San Francisco bay area. During Ms. Crockett’s tenure as Company Director, The Sacramento Ballet gained national recognition as one of the finest regional arts companies. Through community support, the formation of the Ballet Guild, and grants from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ballet was able to grow and begin to hire a resident company of professional dancers. In 1986, having accomplished her goal of making The Sacramento Ballet a professional company, Ms. Crockett retired as the Company Director.
In 1988 Ron Cunningham was engaged as Artistic Director, and was joined by his wife Carinne Binda the following year. The two became Co-Artistic Directors in 1991, and through their vision and leadership, the company has enjoyed substantial success and is widely recognized as a leading arts organization in Sacramento. Cunningham and Binda have successfully chosen ballets that balance public appeal with works that stretch and develop the artistic capabilities of the dancers. The Sacramento Ballet is as well known for Cunningham’s world premieres of such works as Carmina Burana, The Rite of Spring and Bolero as it is for his classics, including The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella. The Ballet’s audience has had the opportunity to experience a vast repertoire, including works by Septime Webre, David Parsons, Kathryn Posin, Agnes de Mille, Glen Tetley, Val Caniparoli,Trey McIntyre and Twyla Tharp. In 20 seasons, the Ballet has added 15 full-length ballets, 18 Balanchine masterworks, 40 Sacramento premieres, and 38 world premieres. The company is highly regarded as a cultural asset to the community and consistently receives outstanding reviews for its artistic quality.
The Sacramento Ballet has taken a leadership role in outreach, education, community service and collaborative projects, and is without question, a leader in arts education and outreach in the greater Sacramento region. As a professional company, The Sacramento Ballet targets communities through its touring program, traveling throughout the greater Sacramento Valley and as far as Hawaii, Washington, and Victoria, B.C. In 2007, the Company presented their first international tour to the People’s Republic of China performing in Shanghai and Beijing. Through extensive Education and Outreach programs, the Ballet reaches approximately 40,000 participants each season.
The Sacramento Ballet has received annual funding from corporations, foundations and government agencies to support its operational and artistic growth, including: California Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Sacramento Regional Foundation, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council, The James Irvine Foundation, Target Stores, Raley’s Stores, Tri-Counties Bank, Chevron and the McClatchy Company to name a few. Since 1986, the company’s operating budget has grown steadily, and audience attendance has increased from 15,000 to over 80,000 each season. The Ballet remains the only Sacramento arts organization with a resident company of artists.
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