19 years of
Wilmington Ballet Company is a pillar of the arts in Southeastern North Carolina
Wilmington Ballet Company integrates diverse audiences and performers from wide ranging socio-economic, cultural, racial, age, ability, body type, and educational backgrounds into professional calibre ballet productions and educational outreach programs. Through decades of experimentation, the organization has discovered and perfected innovative inclusion techniques that engage a potpourri of people into the art of Ballet. The non-profit production company creates truly impactful experiences for both audiences and participates.
As a non-profit, the company's mission is to impact, educate, and inspire diverse populations through intimate exposure to professional calibre ballet. Collaboration with community groups is the cornerstone for successfully assimilating diverse groups into performances.
Special Olympics, senior performing groups, inner-city outreach organizations, public school drama programs, college art clubs, community opera groups, local theater associations: these are just a sampling of the partner organizations that make the companies’ remarkable diversity possible.
The company additionally intends to grow a diverse audience for the art of ballet. In partnership with US International Ballet, a cutting edge professional ballet company, productions are designed to entertain a twenty first century audience. Visual effects, digital background, and circus arts are all combined with professional ballet to create an exciting theatrical spectacle.
The Wilmington Ballet Company also contracts professional ballet dancers, guest circus artists, visual artists, innovative costumers, seasoned actors, eclectic puppeteers, and a variety of technical artists in order create highly visually entertaining productions. For this reason, the vast majority of performances are sold out!
Ballet outreach is too often simply a lovely performance without any lasting effect for the attendees. Since 1999, Wilmington Ballet Company has been dedicated to creating lasting impact for underserved populations in Southeastern North Carolina. The company partners with educational institutions to create long term opportunities for those who would otherwise be excluded from learning ballet.
Wilmington School of Ballet partners with WBC by offering annual scholarships to outreach participants who show interest but are socio-economically disadvantaged. Inspiration Dance Center partners to bring a classically trained ballerina weekly into a rural city to expand the classical offerings locally available. The company provides curriculum to public school teachers to further the experience of a production into the classroom. Weekly adaptive dance classes are offered with a sliding scale to dancers with mental and physical disabilities. These are just an example of the long term outreach programming provided to the community by the company.
Wilmington Ballet Company is devoted to the belief that arts can heal cultural divides and wounds by bringing diverse peoples together in a creative mission. Below is a link to WHQR about a quintessential Wilmington Ballet Company production where races, ages, and genders were combined in a way that brought social and cultural issues to the forefront in a healing and honest way.
Every year Wilmington Ballet Company produces four theatrical productions that are attended by as many as 5000 people. Over 700 people directly perform and over a dozen community organizations participate. Wilmington Ballet Company intends to be a cultural force for change by opening to all peoples the historically elite art form of ballet and thereby, enriching our world through the beauty of classical dance.
Wilmington Ballet Company (WBC) is committed to making ballet truly accessible to dancers of all abilities. Adaptive dance is based on the belief that everyone can dance. Classes and performances are designed to allow each dancer to be their very best as a student and a performer. Everyone is welcome.
Ballet is an artform meant to deeply impact both the dancer and the audience. Frequently, audience members express emotions about the beauty and meaning of our adaptive dance numbers. Our special dancers feel appreciated and successful when they hear the applause of an audience. Truly our adaptive dance programs achieves the ultimate goal of impacting both the dancer and the audience through the art of ballet.
Adaptive dancers are integrated into performances in one of two ways. Select adaptive dancers may be assimilated directly into a piece in the ballet. However, this is not the perfect fit for all adaptive dancers. Assimilating directly into the ballet may mean managing changing lights, loud music, and being on a specific time frame. This can be too stressful for some adaptive dancers.
WBC strives to give every adaptive dancer a successful performance experience. Therefore, an intermission show is frequently performed by adaptive dancers. This allows for the lights and music to be calm. There is not a specific time limit or other distractions on stage. Inclusion specialist dance team members can be on stage with the adaptive dancers.
Often our company dancers join our adaptive dancers in these intermission show numbers. Adaptive dancers love these special performances, especially the bows! During an intermission show, an adaptive dancer can take all the time they need to bow. This is often an exhilarating experience for both the audience and the dancer.
Weekly adaptive dance classes are available on a sliding scale. Adaptive dance classes teach the fundamentals of ballet and contemporary. Dance classes provide physical, and social stimulation for adaptive dancers.
Classes teach fundamental coordination, ballet terminology, musicality, and spatial awareness. Dancers learn to work together in making formations and maintaining patterns. Adaptive dancers develop self esteem as they feel the accomplishment of being a part of a dance group.
Contact us for further detailed information.
Wilmington Ballet Company has a long history of breaking boundaries and ceilings for members of our community. WBC is committed to creating opportunities and opening doors for those who experience limitations in our region.
Limitations are not limited to one race, ability, gender, or peoples. Limitations come in all shapes and sizes. Wilmington Ballet Company collaborates with numerous organizations with the sole purpose of creating opportunity.
Socio-economic challenges, physical/mental limitations, and gender expectations currently are the focus of our groundbreaking work.
Mrs. Hester, Executive Director of Wilmington Ballet Company she is also the Founder of the Wilmington School of Ballet & Dance, the Wilmington Preschool of Fine Arts, Glitz & Glam, and ZFitness Wilmington. Her goal in establishing these companies was to provide many opportunities to students in the Lower Cape Fear Region of NC for quality dance education.
Hester was a soloist with Raleigh Dance Theater and a former faculty member of the Raleigh School of Ballet. Hester studied at the Atlanta Ballet as a scholarship student, the Walnut Hill School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, East Carolina Dance Program, and the Richmond Ballet, & has a degree in Civil Engineering from NC State.
2018/2019 Season Partners
Below is an overview of the extraordinary integration practices developed by Wilmington Ballet Company.
Special Olympics - performs a piece in the production and a special intermission show
Dreams (Inner City Outreach) - has performed with WBC for numerous years
New Hanover County Public Schools - numerous school specific performances
(with curriculum provided for teachers)
Wilmington Children’s Museum - annual ballet character event at the Museum
New Hanover County Library System - annual ballet day event at the Central Library
Thalian Association - singing live during the snow scene of Nutcracker
Coastal Christian High School - drama department produces a “show within a show” that
Narrates the spring production
Southside Dance Centre (Rural Dance Studio) - Columbus County) - from a Rual county that
Doesn’t have a professional theater - this studio have over 30 dancers annually perform a Candy Cane scene in the Nutcracker since 2009
Inspirations Dance Centre (Rural Dance Studio - Brunswick County) - WBC tours to
Neighboring Brunswick County and partners with this local dance
Studio to include local Children in Nutcracker - WBC also sends out
A ballet teacher weekly to offer ongoing education
Wilmington Celebration Choir - an adult to Senior Choir that performed the pre-show of Nutcracker
Leland Cultural Center - Free Community Performance
YWCA - Free preschool and afterschool dance program
Girl Scouts - Arts Events and Discounted ticket programs
Wilmington School of Ballet - scholarship partnership and performing partnership
Coastal Dance Academy - Performs in an intermission show
Babs McDance (Adult Ballroom Dance Studio) Adults and Seniors have performed adult dance in Nutcracker party scene for many years
Glory Academy of Fine Arts (Christian Dance Studio) - performed pre-show
Gore Dolls - Collaboration for Character displays in lobby ranging from children’s characters at Family Friendly Ballets to Haunted House Characters at Vampires, the ballet
Juggling Gypsy - provide circus artist including stilt walkers
Hannah Block Community Arts Center - free community performance
Brunswick County Arts Council - community arts events
Other Community Partners
Highlights of other community partner Agencies that have collaborated on projects with WBC in Wilmington:
Lower Cape Fear Hospice - Wilmington Ballet Company “re-invented” a beloved local tradition event - Cape Fear Festival of Trees - see “news” page
New Hanover Memorial Hospital - Gala Fundraising Event
UNCW - Cultural Arts Department - Free school show performances
UNCW - Watson School of Education - create curriculum for school performances that meets standard course of study for teacher use
Cape Fear Raptor Center - include live rescued birds in the lobby and production of Swan to bring attention to the local rescue facility
Cape Fear Community College Art Club - create a snow backdrop for Nutcracker. Gave student artist the opportunity to explore creating professional backdrops and created a lasting set peice
Cape Fear Community College Music Department - performed vocals live of snow Scene
Ashley High School Singers - performed vocals live for Snow Scene
Cameron Art Museum - Kids at CAM - Community youth work with professional
choreographers to create a “reflection on an exhibit” dance event that is free to children in the community
NC Aquarium - Community educational events
Reenactors Society - performed fight scenes in lobby and played characters in performance Glow Academy - sent out professional dance teacher to set a dance on Glow Students who are generally from socio-economically diverse background and are predominantly minority. Glow students performed a court dance in Swan Lake
Snipes Academy - has performed numerous times an intermission show. Title one school.
Girls Inc - discounted tickets - scholarship offerings
Techniques in Motion - performed Mother Ginger in Nutcracker. Predominantly a hip hop/tap Studio - bringing diverse dancers to the ballet
Cape Fear Roller Derby Girls - performed the role of Wolves in the Jungle Book production
Pop Warner Cheerleading - performed the role of Vines in the Jungle Book production
Opera Wilmington - performed the music for the snake scene in Jungle Book
Dance Cooperative - performed the night sky lights scene in Jungle Book
Cripple Creek Cloggers - performed the elephant thunder in Jungle Book
Wilmington Girls Choir - has performed as a guest for Wilmington Ballet Company and Wilmington Ballet Company has performed as a guest in Girls Choir Concerts
Kathy Snow Productions - performed Lobby show and intermission show
Providence Preparatory Academy - performed Narration for Jungle Book
Wilmington Christian Academy - performed the pre-show for Nutcracker
Port City Gymnastics - Performed in Mother Ginger in Nutcracker
Gymnastics Unlimited - Performed in Mother Ginger in Nutcracker
Friends School of Wilmington - Performed Narration for Jungle Book
Cape Fear Academy - Performed the music pre-show for Nutcracker
East Brunswick High School - Performed an intermission show for Nutcracker on tour
Brunswick School of Dance - Performed in Nutcracker both in Wilmington and on tour to Brunswick County
East Brunswick High School Show Choir - Performed in Nutcracker on tour
Azalea Festival Multicultural stage - WBC has performed numerous times for the Azalea Multi-Cultural Stage as well as other Azalea Festival Events
Chinese American Association - performed authentic Chinese dance in WBC production
Mexican American Association - performed authentic Mexican dance in WBC production
Philippine American Association - performed authentic Philippine dance in WBC production
Evolution Dance - performed in the preshow of a production - predominately a competition studio - bringing a diverse group of dancers to a ballet
Southport Christian High School - performed a handbell pre-show for Nutcracker
Dance Quest - Performed a pre-show for WBC production - typically a clogging studio - Bringing a diverse group of dancers to a ballet
October 25 & 26, 2019
at Thalian Hall (Wilmington NC)
April 26, 2020
at the Wilson Center (Wilmington NC)
December 15, 2019
at the Wilson Center (Wilmington NC)
December 20, 2019
at Odell Williamson Auditorium (Bolivia NC)
June 5, 2020
at Kenan (Wilmington NC)
New Hanover County Schools - January 30th, 2019
Wilmington Ballet Company will be performing a children’s production of Wizard of Oz at Minnie Evans Performing Arts Center exclusively for New Hanover County School System students. Supplemental curriculum will be provided for teachers to use in the classroom to achieve standard course of study goals.
Students will explore the correlation between literature and ballet. Original film and visual effects will compliment professional ballet to bring the characters to life for the children.
Contact us directly for further detailed information.
Children’s Museum Ballet Day - May 4th, 2019
Ballet day at the Wilmington Children’s Museum is a community favorite. A reduced fee day of the museum features characters from a storybook ballet. Have a tea party with a character, watch a child specific performance, and meet a real live princess! The Museum day is always correlated to the WBC spring ballet performance. Young preschoolers can experience ballet characters before they are old enough to attend a theater performance. Exposing children to arts experiences is formative in developing a love for culture.
New Hanover County Library Princess Event - May 11th, 2019
The Main public library dedicates the top floor once a year to host a ballet princess event. Children experience interactive activities that bring ballet to life. Crafts with characters, storybook time with a ballerina, and live interactive performances are just some of the activities offered. As a free event, the day offers an excellent opportunity for all children in the community to experience ballet.