Springfield Ballet History
In 1976, the Springfield Civic Ballet, Inc. was founded as a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the efforts of creating a ballet company to perform throughout the four state area; to offer a comprehensive dance curriculum; to make available first-class performances by visiting professional dance companies, films, etc.; and to help focus interest on the arts. The company consisted of dancers with an age range of 12–22 years who were residents of the Springfield area. The company was founded under Artistic Directors Eileen O’Rourke & Mark Carlson. A premiere performance was held at the Springfield Art Museum in November 1976, with the first ballet open to the public performed in March 1977.
In 1998, the official name of the organization changed to Springfield Ballet, Inc. The mission of Springfield Ballet, Inc. at that time was to offer the best in classical dance training, provide a higher level of instruction to more advanced dancers and to bring a vital art form to southwest Missouri.
The Springfield Ballet School moved into its first ballet studio in 1979 with a full class schedule. In the fall of 1986, the Ballet moved to the Frances Vandivort Center (now Hotel Vandivort). In 1997, the Ballet moved to 400 South Avenue. Four years later, on September 9, 2001, a devastating fire occurred that caused significant damage to the studios and office space. The Ballet resumed operations in temporary quarters. In July 2002, the Ballet returned to the remodeled South Avenue location. In the summer of 2005, the Ballet relocated to its current location at The Creamery Arts Center. This move was made possible by the generous support of the Springfield Regional Arts Council (SRAC). In 2012, the mission of the Ballet was revised to read, “Springfield Ballet, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the art of ballet through premier education, performance, outreach, and collaboration,” to better reflect its emphasis on growing a school and enhancing its position as an arts education resource.
The Ballet now produces two full length ballets each season at the historic Landers Theatre. Springfield Ballet, Inc. continues to operate a reputable ballet school that provides classical ballet instruction for ages 3–adult. In addition, the Ballet performs in a number of community events including Arts Fest and Cider Days, has performed with the Springfield Symphony in their pops series and holiday programs and participates in several community outreach programs focusing on underserved children in the area.
A 19-member Board of Directors governs the Springfield Ballet. The Board is comprised of individuals in the community with varied and diversified backgrounds. Public, private, and corporate donations; regional and state agency underwriting; and foundation gifts provide financial support. The Ballet Guild, a subsidiary of Springfield Ballet, is active in supporting social and production related activities of the organization through financial resources and volunteers.
Additional Historic Information: Past Repertoire | Staff History
The Creamery Arts Center History
The Creamery Arts Center, a City-owned building located in Jordan Valley Park, opened in 2002 as a headquarters for community arts groups. More than 30 organizations now use the building and about 30,000 people use The Creamery annually. The 35,000-square-foot building includes offices for the Springfield Regional Arts Council, Springfield Ballet, Springfield Regional Opera Lyric Theatre, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Community Center, Men’s Chorus of the Ozarks, Missouri Film Alliance of Springfield, First Friday Art Walk, and Care to Learn, as well as a shared costume shop and set design/fabrication studio managed by Springfield Little Theatre, an exhibition hall, board room, arts library, arts classrooms, and a film editing bay.
To read a retrospective history of The Creamery Arts Center and how this collaborative space came to fruition through the help of The City of Springfield and The Springfield Regional Arts Council, click here.