The state ballet of Kentucky, the Louisville Ballet, is a school and company, based in Louisville. The Louisville Orchestra is the resident performing group for the ballet.
Founded in 1952 as a civic ballet company, the Louisville Ballet initially employed guest artistic directors and choreographers on a production-by-production basis. It attained professional status in 1975, when it employed eight dancers and formed the ensemble company, under the direction of Richard and Cristina Munro. Also, the Academy of the Louisville Ballet, now known as the Louisville Ballet School, was founded in the same year.
The Kentucky ballet company is the only regional one with which Mikhail Baryshnikov – a famous dancer and actor – has performed in repertoire productions. It also has to its credit about 60 world-premier ballets and a repertoire of nearly 150 works by world-famous choreographers including Sir Frederick Ashton, Erik Bruhn, Paul Taylor, and Saeko Ichinohe.
Presently, the Louisville Ballet is one of the most highly regarded companies in the nation, with more than twenty-five dancers from around the world. It also hosts a summer camp for aspiring dancers. The main building of the company received the Honor Award for Excellence in Architectural Design by the American Institute of Architects.
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