BalletMet Seeks Artistic Director
Overview: BalletMet, a professional ballet company and school located in Columbus, Ohio, operating on a $8 million budget, invites applications for the position of Artistic Director. BalletMet seeks an individual with artistic vision and leadership skills to develop artistic plans and programs for the 26-member Company and to provide direction for its Dance Academy. The ideal candidate will recruit, train, and supervise all artistic personnel including guest artists; and deliver high quality performances and services to the community in partnership with the Board of Trustees and the Executive Director. Candidates should be committed to a diverse repertoire that includes classical, narrative and contemporary ballets, and the creation of new work. Performances are presented in the 2,700-seat historic Ohio Theatre, the 900-seat Capitol Theatre and in BalletMet’s own 225-seat Performance Space.
Qualifications: Significant experience with professional ballet companies, including performing, teaching, choreography and artistic administration. Salary is commensurate with experience.
The BalletMet Artistic Director reports directly to the BalletMet Board of Trustees and is responsible for leading the artistic efforts of the organization consistent with BalletMet’s mission and core principles. The Artistic Director shall concentrate his or her efforts in:
Other responsibilities include:
BalletMet is an EOE.
For 45 years, BalletMet has served as a vital artistic, cultural, and educational resource for Central Ohio. Founded in 1974 as a civic company and school, BalletMet hired its first professional dancers in 1978 and has attracted world-class artists and choreographers to the region ever since. Today, BalletMet ranks among the largest ballet companies in the country, serving as cultural ambassadors for Central Ohio. We have performed in 28 states and toured internationally in Canada, Egypt, Poland, Spain, and Russia.
BalletMet is recognized for innovative artistry, exceptional dancers, and rigorous dance training. We perform ballets by leading choreographers that attract regional and national audiences. In our history, we have performed more than 200 world premiere ballets. Recent collaborators have included Amy Seiwert, Dana Genshaft, Ma Cong, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. We have been granted performance rights for world-renowned choreography by William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Twyla Tharp, Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, Jerome Robbins, and George Balanchine. Our local performances take place in the historic 2700 seat Ohio Theatre, the 900 seat Jo Ann Davidson Theatre located in the Riffe State office building and our own 225 seat black box performance space.
BalletMet company dancers are world-class artists selected through highly competitive, national auditions. Our dancers have trained at schools and performed with companies around the world. BalletMet artists are experienced in a wide range of styles and techniques, and they excel in diverse and demanding choreography.
Over its history, BalletMet has had five artistic directors – Wayne Soulant, John McFall, David Nixon, Gerard Charles and Edwaard Liang. Each brought their artistry and leadership to BalletMet to help serve our community through dance and grow the organization.
BalletMet strives through a variety of initiatives to make dance accessible to our entire community.
The BalletMet Academy, one of the largest schools of its kind associated with a professional company, provides rigorous ballet training unmatched in the region and serves as a resource for dancers of all ages and skill levels. The Dance Academy is the only local school that provides opportunities for young dancers to perform in professional shows. The Academy is also home to BalletMet’s nationally and internationally recognized Trainee program, in which students train six days a week in preparation for professional dance careers. BalletMet trainees have gone on to perform with prestigious ballet companies including Miami City Ballet, Memphis Ballet, and San Antonio Ballet.
Each year, the BalletMet Summer Intensive brings promising students from around the country to spend five weeks training at our studios in downtown Columbus. Since the pandemic, BalletMet has seen extraordinary growth in our summer programs. Last summer, BalletMet added a new program, Partnering Week, to attract promising young artists to our Academy. We initially anticipated enrolling approximately 40 students, but student interest far outpaced expectations. 70 students participated in the program, with 50 students on the waitlist. We believe the success of Partnering Week demonstrates that there is sufficient student interest to continue expanding our Academy offerings.
In 2014, BalletMet founded BalletMet 2, a second company of early career dancers who receive a modest stipend to train and perform with the professional company. Additionally, BalletMet 2 dancers serve as community ambassadors who perform at local events and in schools. Many BalletMet 2 dancers have gone on to successful careers at BalletMet and other professional companies including Atlanta Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Alberta Ballet, and more.
Two programs provide free Academy training to under-resourced students. Soar on Saturdays, in partnership with the King Arts Complex, offers a series of free dance lessons for students with no prior dance experience. Classes are held in a variety of styles at both the BalletMet and KAC campuses. The recently expanded Discover Dance program offers full tuition scholarships and free dancewear to students selected through an audition process that may be renewed on an annual basis. Current BalletMet company dancer Vincent Van Harris began his ballet training as a Discover Dance student in 2010, demonstrating the importance of access programs that support students in the long term.
EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
BalletMet offers two complimentary ticket programs to expand access to our performances. The first is KidTix, a longstanding program which distributes free tickets to children and families in need through partnerships with social services, faith-based, and special needs organizations. In September 2022, BalletMet piloted an additional ticket access program with Columbus City Schools that offered free tickets to BalletMet at the Ohio to CCS students and families. More than 2,000 individuals attended as a result of the offer, many of whom had never seen a ballet before. In February, we decided to expand the program to students from both CCS and Reynoldsburg City Schools for Dorothy and the Prince of Oz. Demand was so high that after just a few hours, we were able to give away 5,000 tickets to students and families. We look forward to continuing to develop this successful method for engaging with local families.
Another way BalletMet creates accessibility is through our in-school programming. BalletMet works closely with local school districts and other programs that serve diverse student populations. Studies have shown that participation in the arts can help students achieve positive academic, social, and economic outcomes throughout their lives. Dance education is associated with positive physical and emotional health outcomes. However, in Franklin County, just 1% of students are enrolled in dance during the school day. BalletMet fills an unmet need for high quality movement education in schools.
EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION
BalletMet recognizes that there are ways in which our organization and our art form can grow to better reflect the diversity of our world. Anti-racist practices help us create better art and build better relationships across our community. To that end, BalletMet works to understand the ways in which we can better serve our diverse artists, students, and audience members.
Three years ago, BalletMet founded our Anti-Racism and Equity Coalition consisting of community leaders, company dancers, staff, and organizational leadership who review our practices and advise us on the best methods for engaging our entire community. The Coalition examines all aspects of our organizational structure including governance, policies, programming, marketing, communication, education, and staff training. We recognize that lasting change requires long-term commitment and will continue working with our Coalition to identify ways we can grow in accordance with our values.
BalletMet has been working with Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, an Assistant Professor of Community Engagement through Dance Pedagogy at the Ohio State University, as an ongoing consultant to help us achieve our anti-racism and equity goals. Dr. McCarthy-Brown authored Dance Pedagogy for a Diverse World: Culturally Relevant Teaching in Research, Theory, and Practice and has published research in the Journal of African American Studies, the Journal of Dance Education, Arts Education Policy Review, Research in Dance Education, Whiteness in Education, and the International Journal of Education and the Arts. Dr. McCarthy-Brown works with several organizations in addition to BalletMet including San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and the Rutgers Dance Department. Dr. McCarthy-Brown provides training on internalized bias in the dance field for BalletMet staff and board members.
Several recent initiatives help us to develop as a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization:
Columbus, Ohio is the state capital and 14th largest city in the United States. It is home to The Ohio State University, many international corporations, and a vibrant arts and culture community. The central Ohio region is becoming a preferred destination for major corporations such as Wells Fargo, Intel, Google and Honda. It was announced in 2022 that Columbus will soon be home to one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturing plants. Intel will make an initial $20 Billion investment to build two new chip factories and Honda announced it is investing $3.5 billion to support a battery plant. It has a robust and growing workforce, affordable living and logistical infrastructure which attracts new business and residents from around the world. Columbus has been described as a friendly city of sleek modern high-rises mixed with century-old buildings along the Scioto River.
Columbus loves art, so there is a focus on performance, theatres, galleries, museums and cultural activities. Year-round performances fill theatres, including the Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, and Lincoln Theatre. Patrons and artists look forward to annual events like the Columbus Art Festival, which drew around 50,000 visitors last year and features over 200 visual artists from around the country. Of course you can also catch the Nutcracker ballet performed by BalletMet every holiday season.
Columbus is one of the most diverse Midwestern cities, highlighted by large Japanese, Korean and Indian populations. It is also home to the second-largest Somali population in the U.S. Columbus is also an LGBTQ+ friendly city.
Images by Jennifer Zmuda