Carolina Ballet

Artistic Director/CEO Robert Weiss

Carolina Ballet is one of America’s premiere arts organizations. Launched as a professional dance company in 1997 under the direction of Artistic Director/CEO Robert Weiss, Carolina Ballet has since garnered critical praise from the national and international media, staged 80 world premiere ballets, and toured internationally in China and Hungary. Weiss, former artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet and principal dancer at New York City Ballet under the legendary George Balanchine, programs traditional ballets by legendary masters and new works by contemporary choreographers.

Carolina Ballet Fund a Dream Video


Carolina Ballet, Inc. was founded in 1984 as Raleigh Dance Theatre, Inc. by Ann Vorus, owner of the Raleigh Dance Theatre. As a student company, its purpose was to provide performance opportunities for students of the school. Over several years, both the school and the company grew in reputation and stature in its metamorphosis as Carolina Ballet Theatre, a pre-professional regional company under Ms. Vorus and her successor as Artistic Director, Mary LeGere. Performances of the company began to attract favorable notice from area dance critics. In the fall of 1993, Raleigh lawyer Ward Purrington suggested to Ms. Vorus and the Raleigh Dance Theatre board that the company aspire to professional status. Market research suggested a professional dance presence in the Triangle region was not only needed but desired as well.

After exhaustive planning and subsequent interviewing of candidates from all over the country, Robert Weiss, former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and past artistic director of Pennsylvania Ballet, was selected in April 1997 as the founding artistic director of the new professional company, known as Carolina Ballet, Inc.

Vision Statement

Carolina Ballet’s vision is to remain one of the top ballet companies in America with national and international recognition, thus contributing to the enhanced reputation and ever-increasing quality of life in our community and the State of North Carolina.

Mission Statement

Carolina Ballet’s mission is to perform world-class professional ballet, entertaining and enlightening audiences in Raleigh, the Triangle region, the State of North Carolina and beyond. It will accomplish this mission by attracting, developing, and retaining excellent dancers and artistic personnel combined with a fiscally responsible management and board of directors. It will also commission new works by innovative choreographers, present traditional ballets of legendary masters and educate current and future audiences through programs for school-aged children and other performance outreach activities.


Notable productions

* Handel’s Messiah, choreography by Robert Weiss, premiering in 1998
* Beethoven, Janá?ek, J. Mark Scearce The Kreutzer Sonata, based on the Tolstoy novella, 2000
* Carl Orff, Carmina Burana, choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, first performed in 2001
* Poulenc, Debussy, Chausson Monet Impressions, 2006
* Paul Moravec, Tempest Fantasy, based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, 2007

Dancers of the Carolina Ballet


  • Attila Bongar
  • Timour Bourtasenkov
  • Jan Burkhard
  • Gabor Kapin
  • Richard Krusch
  • Marcelo Martinez
  • Alain Molina
  • Lara O’Brien
  • Pablo Javier Perez
  • Melissa Podcasy
  • Margaret Severin-Hansen
  • Lilyan Vigo Ellis

  • Dameon Nagel
  • Randi Osetek
  • Lindsay Purrington
  • Eugene C. Barnes III
  • Alicia Fabry
  • Sokvannara Sar
  • Yevgeny Shlapko
  • Nikolai Smirnov

  • Sean Armstrong
  • Oliver Beres
  • Adam Crawford Chavis
  • Lola Cooper
  • Marria Cosentino
  • Carmen Felder
  • Malea Grubb
  • Ashley Hathaway
  • Cecilia Iliesiu
  • Elice McKinley
  • Sarah Newton
  • Elizabeth Ousley
  • Zalman Raffael
  • Adam Schiffer

Lilyan Vigo Ellis

Performance Repertoire

* Adagio
* Agon
* Allegro Brillante
* Ancient Airs and Dances
* Apollo
* Awakening
* Barber Violin Concerto
* Carmen
* Carmina Burana
* Chiaroscuro
* Cinderella
* A Classical Ballet
* Code of Silence
* Concerto Barocco
* Coppelia
* Dance for Piano and Violin
* Departed
* Divertimento
* Donizetti Variations
* Don Quixote
* Endymion’s Sleep
* Evening Star
* Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen
* The Nightingale
* The Shadow
* The Ugly Duckling
* Firebird
* The Four Temperaments
* Great Galloping Gottschalk
* Hush Little Baby
* Jota Aragonese
* Kick
* La Sonnambula
* Lilac Garden
* Love Speaks
* Messiah
* A Midsummers Night’s Dream
* The Miraculous Mandarin
* Monet Impressions
* Picnic on the Grass
* The Gardens at Giverny
* The Moor’s Pavane
* Nutcracker
* Oblique Dreamscape
* Peter and the Wolf
* Petit Ballet Romantique
* Prodigal Son
* Reflection
* Romeo & Juliet
* Rubies (From Jewels)
* Serenata
* Sleeping Beauty
* Spiritual Journey
* Vivaldi’s Gloria
* Ipse Dixit
* Poulenc’s Gloria
* Stars and Stripes pas de Deux
* Steadfast Tin Soldier
* Steptext
* Stravinsky’s Clowns
* Symposium
* Swan Lake
* Tarantella
* Tempest Fantasy
* Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
* Time Gallery
* Triptech
* Valse Fantaisie
* Valse Triste
* The Visitation
* Water Music
* Who Cares

Prodigal Son - Carolina Ballet 2012

source: and the official website of the Carolina Ballet


RALEIGH, NC — During the upcoming 2012-2013 season Carolina Ballet, the Triangle area’s professional ballet company, will celebrate yet another milestone, its 15th anniversary. The season could be subtitled “The Best of…” as it will highlight works of artistic directorRobert Weiss, principal guest choreographer Lynne Taylor Corbett, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine – including favorites from the repertory and several premieres. The productions will be performed in the AJ Fletcher Opera Theater (AJF) and Raleigh Memorial Auditorium (RMA) both located at the Progress Energy for the performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The schedule for the season is as follows:

An Evening of Robert Weiss, September 13-30, 2012 (AJF)

Dances at a Gathering
, October 11-28, 2012 (AJF)

Nutcracker, November 23-25 & December 14-23, 2012 (RMA)

An Evening of Lynne Taylor-Corbett, February 7-24, 2013 (AJF)

A Balanchine Celebration
, March 7-24, 2013 (AJF)

Fancy Free & Carolina Jamboree, April 18-21, 2013, (RMA)

Giselle, May 16-19, 2013 (RMA)

In 1999, at the start of Carolina Ballet’s second season, with no repertory of its own to pull from, Robert Weisspresented An Evening Direct from New York, focusing on work by choreographers all closely associated with New York City Ballet where Robert Weiss had been a principal dancer. Now fourteen years later, the company is in a far different place with 90 new works under its belt – 45 of which were created by Robert Weiss. It seems only fitting that the anniversary season should open with An Evening of Robert Weiss featuring his acclaimed Symposium choreographed in 2004 to Leonard Bernstein’s “Serenade.”

The Carolina Ballet production of Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering in October 2012 will be a Raleigh premiere of what Robert Weiss calls a “seminal work in the history of classical ballet, speaking directly to the heart and soul of an entire culture of changed perceptions.” Jerome Robbins created Dances at a Gathering in 1969, in the middle of the “Flower-child” era of American youth. Weiss goes on to say that the opening night of Robbins’ ballet was such a success that the audience didn’t stop applauding for close to half an hour. Dances at a Gathering, to music of Frederic Chopin, has consistently remained in repertoires of many companies around the world and is as popular today as it was 43 years ago.

The second half of the season opens February 2013 with an Evening of Lynne Taylor-Corbett, featuring several of her ballets created on Carolina Ballet and a ballet she choreographed on New York City Ballet in 1992. When Lynne Taylor-Corbett was named principal guest choreographer in 1999, the Herald-Sun wrote “to witness such a mind at work is a tremendous thing; that it is here, available to all, is nothing short of miraculous.” Her work never fails to satisfy and engage the audience; the diversity of her ballets ranges from Dracula to The Ugly Duckling to Carmina Burana. On this program, Carolina Ballet will reprise Code of Silence; December Songs, a song cycle of love songs by Maury Yeston, sung by Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy on stage with the dancers; and the Raleigh premiere of Mercury to music of Joseph Haydn, her first ballet created for New York City Ballet.

A Carolina Ballet season would not be complete without paying tribute to Robert Weiss’ mentor George Balanchine. Not only was Balanchine the founding artistic director and choreographer of New York City Ballet, he choreographed on Broadway and in Hollywoodas well. Robert Weisshas chosen Who Cares? as the centerpiece for this Balanchine program, as it always proves to be a crowd pleaser, and the dancers particularly enjoy performing it. Balanchine had a long standing personal relationship with George and Ira Gershwin; Who Cares? is his homage to their work. According to Weiss, Balanchine challenged anyone leaving the theater after a performance of Who Cares? “not to be walking on air.” Other Balanchine favorites will round out the program.

In April 2013, Carolina Ballet presents a program that offers a breath of fresh air for the spring season with the pairing of Jerome Robbins Fancy Free, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Carolina Jamboree accompanied by The Red Clay Ramblers. Fancy Free was choreographed by Jerome Robbins in 1948 on American Ballet Theater. It is a very American look at ballet using classical technique but in a very clever, jazzy way. The ballet was so popular that the following year it was made into a movie called “On the Town” with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. Carolina Jamboree with The Red Clay Ramblers is one of Carolina Ballet’s most popular programs with the dancers “strutting their stuff” from blues to blue grass to swing.

The 15th anniversary season will close with a “new” Giselle. As he did with his productions of Coppelia and Sleeping Beauty, Weiss will use the ballet’s original choreography, that of Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli, modifying it only when necessary for the size of his company. “If there were one ballet that would be considered by balletomanes to be more important than all the others it would be Giselle,” says Weiss. “There has been a running debate since ballet’s early history among critics, the audiences and practitioners of the art about whether ballet should tell a story or just be about the dance. Giselle (to the music of Adolphe Adam) combines both of these points of view into one of the greatest works in western civilization.” In 1972 dance critic Peter Williams reviewed Giselle at the Royal Ballet in London saying “Giselle is probably the most deceptive role in all classical dance since sheer dancing ability is not enough to make it work. The ballerina has to be totally convincing as a human and, later, as a supernatural being.”

Carolina Ballet’s “magical” Nutcracker will return next season over Thanksgiving weekend and December 14-23 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. The company will also perform Nutcracker at DPAC in Durham, for two shows on December 27.

Subscription packages may be purchased now by calling the Carolina Ballet box office at 919 719-0900. A sales representative will assist patrons in putting together the package, with their preferred seating choices, that best fits their schedule. Subscribers also get the first opportunity to purchase Nutcracker tickets.

Carolina Ballet, Inc. has taken its place amongAmerica’s premier arts organizations. Under the innovative direction of artistic directorRobert Weiss, a talented company, fiscally responsible management and community support, Carolina Ballet exposes audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers. This fourteenth season represents the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever-increasing quality of life experienced here in North Carolina.


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