Since the 1960s, ballet has been a prominent fixture of the Oklahoma City arts community, fostering exceptional artistic direction and renowned performers. Today, Oklahoma City Ballet is home to an elite dance school, accessible community-wide programs, and an extensive repertoire with something for everyone to enjoy.
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Oklahoma City Ballet first opened as the Oklahoma City Civic Ballet with the Company under the artistic direction of Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.
The Oklahoma City Ballet Society was incorporated to support the Company.
The Board of Trustees formed the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Ballet Society with Yvonne Choteau staying on as founding Artistic Director. International ballerina and Oklahoma native Maria Tallchief worked together with Ms. Chouteau to audition dancers for the company.
Chouteau was succeeded by New York City Ballet Principal Dancers Conrad and Joy Ludlow as the Company’s new directors. During this time, the Ludlows founded the Company’s affiliate school.
American Ballet Theater dancers Bojan Spassoff and Stephanie Wolf-Spassoff attained direction of the Company and began the change from a civic company to a semi-professional company with three productions in addition to The Nutcracker in a single season.
The Company name changed to Ballet Oklahoma and moved into a newly renovated facility the following year.
New York City Ballet star Edward Villella joined the Company as Artistic Director and brought the work of George Balanchine into the repertory during his three seasons.
Dallas Ballet dancers Bryan Pitts and Laura Flagg-Pitts joined the company as Artistic Director and Assistant to the Director, respectively. During the Pitts’ tenure, the Company instituted its annual ArtsReach program to bring students from across the state to the Civic Center for a live ballet performance. This program received the Governor’s Arts Award in 1997.
The Company pulled from within the organization for the first time by appointing former dancer Robert Mills the new Artistic Director and changed its name to Oklahoma City Ballet.
The School name changed to The Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School, stemming from a generous gift from Kirkpatrick Philanthropies to honor our founder Madame Chouteau.