In fall 1997, the first "steps" were taken under the banner of Ballet Society of Colorado Springs (renamed Colorado Ballet Society in 2016) with 26 students and two instructors. Founder and Artistic Director, Patricia Hoffman had arrived in the Pikes Peak region from Southern California, where she was a principal performer with the San Diego Ballet and was the founder and Director of La Jolla Festival Ballet and Dance Center. It was there that she formulated her approach to teaching the art form, which was based upon building supportive relationships while instilling a focused work ethic. Ballet Society's founding tenets were also based on promoting the health of its dancers to avoid recurring injuries. Using a rented studio in a historic building in northeast El Paso County, it became obvious that Ms. Hoffman's approach to dance and ballet produced excellent results. Additional faculty, who shared this philosophy, was added as demand grew.
2003 became a breakthrough year for Ballet Society. First, Ms. Hoffman found a partner in her enterprise, Holly Marble, a Colorado Springs native who had been a principal ballerina for the Nevada Ballet Theatre before returning home to continue her career as a teacher. In a short time, the number of talented students had reached a critical mass: a formal performing ensemble was ready to be born, and Colorado's Classical Youth Ballet (renamed Colorado Youth Ballet in 2009) came into being. In 2004, the Youth Ballet made its debut performance at the Pikes Peak Center featuring two renowned dancers from American Ballet Theatre: Soloist Sascha Radetsky and Principal Stella Abrera (former student of Patricia Hoffman, Ballet Society's Artistic Director). Next, an ideal facility was obtained. The nearly 10,000 square feet in the Sunrise Church building in northeast Colorado Springs afforded safe parking, sprung floors and ample space for dance, community interaction, and administrative operations.
From there on, the growth of the studio and its artistic achievement has been nothing short of astounding. Thousands of dancers have been a part of Ballet Society's program. As a regional performing organization- whether in its own name or under the banner of the Youth Ballet- it has become far and away the most successful dance organization in Southern Colorado. Colorado Youth Ballet has presented Lullabies and Love, which featured the world premiere of a ballet inspired by Benjamin Britten's A Charm of Lullabies with mezzo-soprano Jennifer DeDominici; the fully staged versions of Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella, and La Sylphide; and annually presents the company's own version of The Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center or the Ent Center for the Arts each December in downtown Colorado Springs, premiering their unique Nutcracker, A Colorado Nutcracker, highlighting the fascinating local history surrounding the founding families of Colorado Springs in 2017.
During the summer of 2016, Ballet Society moved into its Criterion facility. Then in the summer of 2018, Ballet Society opened a second studio, becoming a resident at Peak Gymnastics & Fitness, offering ballet, tap, hip hop, contemporary, and Broadway dance classes to the Falcon community. A new Peak Gymnastics & Fitness facility is currently under construction and will be completed in September 2019.
As Ballet Society has grown, they have added more performing companies and educational programs to their studio that afford additional performance and learning opportunities to dancers of different levels. Their resident companies include Colorado Youth Ballet, Connexus Dance Collective, Elevate Productions, and Praise Dance Ensemble.
Over the years, Ballet Society has engaged in artistic collaborations with the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Colorado Springs Chorale and Children's Chorale, the Colorado Springs Conservatory, the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. The Youth Ballet's June 2006 presentation of Menotti's The Unicorn, Gorgon and the Manticore with the Chamber Orchestra and Vocal Arts Ensemble received two Vision, Courage and Achievement Awards from the Pikes Peak Arts Council. In the 2008-2009 season, the Colorado Springs community was treated to two performances dedicated to the art of the ballet with orchestral accompaniment by the Philharmonic: Suites from Coppelia and The Firebird in October and A Midsummer Night's Dream in January. Then, in February 2019, Connexus Dance Collective joined the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs and Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble to present Menotti’s The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore and Aaron Copland’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Appalachian Spring -in its original musical version for 13 musicians as the world first heard it in 1944.
Dance education is a rewarding process even for students who choose non-dance careers. They develop skills which they carry throughout their lives including self-motivation, self-discipline, poise, grace, and an appreciation for the arts.
At Ballet Society, as our dancers progress within the art form, our professional faculty and staff encourage the development of additional qualities and skills. Students are guided towards exploring and expanding their abilities to:
work independently or in a group
concentrate on specific challenges
focus their thoughts
develop diligence and discipline
improve and perfect skills
develop flexibility and adaptability to change
think quickly under pressure
access energy and stamina
develop an engaging physical presence
The ballet syllabus introduces students to progressing level of study that incorporates elements from major training styles, including Royal Academy of Dance, Cecchetti, and Vaganova. This provides a sound foundation for those who aspire to be professional dancers as well as those who choose to dance recreationally.