History and Programs

Rockingham Ballet Theatre was formed in 1993 under the auspices of the Rockingham County Recreation Department. In 2000, RBT was incorporated as a separate 501(c)3 non-profit ballet company. Since 1995 RBT has presented 34 productions of full-length classical ballets with professional guest dancers to the community, providing exposure to the art of classical ballet that the area would otherwise not have. RBT's Nutcracker has become a beloved community holiday tradition.

RBT also presents 1-3 repertory programs to the community annually, which feature excerpts from other classical ballets and original choreography created for the company by professional guest choreographers. RBT also partners with other arts organizations such as the JMU Opera, the Shenandoah Bach Festival, Massanutten Regional Library and Court Square Theater to bring classical ballet to the community.

RBT's productions provide invaluable training opportunities in classical ballet for local dance students. RBT dancers have been accepted to some of the most prestigious dance programs in the world, including American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Royal Winnipeg (Canada) among many others. Several of these young women have received scholarships and several have gone on to have careers in dance as performers, choreographers and teachers. For the first time this year, an RBT male dancer has auditioned for and been accepted, with a partial scholarship, to the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive.

In addition to performance opportunities, RBT sponsors a Summer Intensive each year with guest Master Teachers from around the world. RBT has also co-sponsored master classes with the JMU dance department and Court Square Theater.