About Alberta Ballet
Alberta Ballet is Canada’s second-largest ballet company and is renowned around the world for the contemporary and classical productions that encompass its repertoire.
The organization’s roots were planted in the early 1950s by Dr. Ruth Carse and Muriel Taylor before taking its official name of Alberta Ballet in 1966 in Edmonton, Canada. (See the amazing story about the beginnings of the friendship between Ruth and Muriel and a passion for ballet on Talk Alberta Ballet!) In 1990, Alberta Ballet and Calgary City Ballet merged into the company it is today.
The organization’s main administration headquarters are located at 141 - 18 Avenue SW – a renovated train station – in Calgary, Canada. Alberta Ballet has numerous other operating locations, including a box office on 12th Avenue in Calgary, an administrative and box office on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton, and a 10,000 square foot warehouse in Southeast Calgary that contains existing sets and is used to build new ones. The official training centre of Alberta Ballet, the School of Alberta Ballet, attracts students from around the world every year and has amassed a reputation as Western Canada’s preeminent ballet institution.
In 2016-2017, Alberta Ballet performs its 50th season and boasts a company of 28 classically trained professional dancers from as far away as Japan and as close to its home-base of Alberta.
Jean Grand-Maître, the company’s Artistic Director, joined Alberta Ballet in 2002 and has elevated the profile of the organization to a global position. Recently, the company has caught the world’s attention for its ‘portrait ballets’ – collaborations with popular music icons including Joni Mitchell, Sir Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, and k.d. lang. Excerpts from Joni Mitchell’s The Fiddle and The Drum were performed during the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, where Grand-Maître also acted as Director of Choreography.
Alberta Ballet reaches thousands of Albertans each season from September to May, as well as performs across Canada and internationally. The company invites leading and world renowned conductors, choreographers, and other guest artists to take part in its seasons, as well as presents the best of Canada's ballet companies including the National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and Ballet British Columbia, as well as leading foreign companies, such as Houston Ballet, Pilobolus, Shaping Sound, and Ailey II.
THE SCHOOL OF ALBERTA BALLET
Since its beginning in 1979 as the Lindsay Walsh School of Dance, under founder and director Lindsay Walsh, the School of Alberta Ballet grew to become part of the Alberta Ballet family in 1991 through the leadership of Artistic Director, Ali Pourfarrokh.
With some of the world's foremost teachers in ballet on staff, the School also boasts its own private junior and senior high academic program alongside its full-year residence in partnership with Mount Royal University. The School has grown into one of the leading training institutions in Canada with an annual enrolment of more than 500 students in its Open Division and Professional Division under the leadership of Artistic Director Edmund Stripe.
The School offers programs year-round and its main season runs from September to June, culminating in a year-end performance involving all students. The School offers two divisions to nurture and develop young dancers to their greatest individual potential. The Open Division emphasizes physical health, discipline, and the enjoyment and appreciation of music and dance. The Professional Division establishes a base on which to build a career in dance. Students in the Professional Division follow a more intensive and specialized training program. In the past seven years, there have been eight dancers who are graduates of the School who have gone on to dance professionally with Alberta Ballet and 38 others who have gone on to dance professionally in companies around the world.
The School of Alberta Ballet has recently expanded to include a location in Edmonton, and has also launched Alberta Ballet II, Canada's newest program for emerging artists.