History & Mission

Founded in 1969 by Suzanne Aker, Ballet Lubbock is a private, nonprofit organization that strives to be an integral component of Lubbock’s cultural fabric.

We envision an inclusive community transformed by art, embracing dance as an enriching and integral part of life.

Ballet Lubbock changes lives. As a pre-professional dance school, we enhance our community through premier dance training, performances, and outreach.

At Ballet Lubbock, we truly believe that art transforms lives. When students train at our school, they not only learn the technique of dance, but they are educated in the values of creativity, discipline, focus, and commitment. Thus, our greatest successes occur off the stage. Our graduates, regardless of whether they pursue dance professionally, take these skills with them on all paths of life. They are mature, creative young adults who have learned the value of a focused passion and the reward of creating for their community.

It has been said that art is a reflection of society. We believe art penetrates society.

Art seeks truth in values, culture, and ideas. Either challenging or celebratory, art transcends cultural and personal differences to satisfy the universal need for human expression. This expression gives permission for all people to be themselves. Whether they are on the stage or in the audience, people are able to freely give and take ideas, create and analyze new beliefs, and solve difficult concepts without fear of judgment or barriers of language, class, or circumstance.

We measure our success not only by the number of students that walk through our door, but by the diversity of our student population, and the number of collaborations and relationships we can sustain. We want to bring the power of art to all citizens of the South Plains.

At the heart of Ballet Lubbock’s mission and guiding principles is the School, which operates from September through May. Our classical ballet curriculum and stirring performances featuring both local and world-renowned artists are parallel to none in our region. Therefore, we aggressively seek to make our programs known and available to all citizens of the South Plains. Our free and subsidized dance classes at various community centers and the $30,000+ of scholarships granted each year break down financial barriers. We host classes for students on the autism spectrum since art has a profound impact on us all. The donation of over 3,500 performance tickets including special performances for LISD and area schools each year ensures dance excites all walks of life. We work every day to be a relevant and integral part of the greater Lubbock area’s cultural community.

Despite national economic hardships, Ballet Lubbock has seen our student body population quadruple in size in the last eight years. In the past two years alone, Ballet Lubbock has experienced a 50% budget increase. These numbers not only suggest that Ballet Lubbock is fulfilling a community need, but that we have only scratched the surface of what dance can do for the South Plains. Thus, we prioritize expanding our capacity to inspire, educate, and engage our community.

The Ballet Lubbock Company was formed with the goal to present quality ballet performances for the local community and provide advanced ballet students with the opportunity to prepare for a career in dance. It is the official company of the Ballet Lubbock School. This pre-professional Company performs all season long in a variety of capacities, from the Ballet’s season productions to community and charitable events throughout the South Plains region. Each December, the Ballet presents The Nutcracker, a beloved and popular holiday production that attracts audiences of all ages. Each April, a Spring Performance takes place, and features either works of mixed repertoire or standard ballet repertoire, such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2007), The Firebird (2009), The Sleeping Beauty (2010), Peter and the Wolf (2011), Cinderella (2012), and Coppelia (2014). The 2013 Spring Production was another first, as Ballet Lubbock joined the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra for a joint concert of music and dance during the 2013 Arts Festival featuring the music of Beethoven, Corelli, and Bartok. Debuting in our 2009-10, 40th Anniversary season was the Fall Performance, a showcase of mixed and newly commissioned works that expand the repertoire and expose our audiences and dancers to a range of dance genres.

In 2011, Ballet Lubbock offered the Fall Performance in a Dinner Theater format to further Ballet Lubbock’s unique offerings to Lubbock’s cultural scene. 2011 marked the first Choreographers’ Concert, a showcase of original pieces choreographed and performed entirely by the Ballet Lubbock Company. In 2012 the Choreographers’ Concert was expanded to a weekend of workshops in choreography for dancers of all genres and backgrounds. Ballet Lubbock wishes to grow The Choreographers’ Concert into a community dance festival complete with guest artists and multiple performances. As is customary in all classical ballet schools, an annual School Performance is held every May giving all ballet students the opportunity to perform at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre.

Founded in 1969 by Suzanne Aker as Lubbock Civic Ballet, Ballet Lubbock is a private, nonprofit organization that strives to be an integral component of Lubbock’s cultural fabric. Lubbock Civic Ballet’s debut performance was a collaboration with the Texas Tech Symphony Orchestra and the Amarillo Civic Ballet. As the Avalanche-Journal’s Jack Sheridan states, “It was an evening that was not only the beginning of a new era of culture in Lubbock, but also a night to remember and a pattern set for the future.”

For the next several years, the school and repertoire season grew to include children’s ballets and divertissements from Act II of The Nutcracker. In 1978, The Nutcracker was performed for the first time in its entirety. Beginning with this first production, Ballet Lubbock’s Nutcracker has always enjoyed live orchestral accompaniment.

From this point on, the annual performance seasons became The Nutcracker each December, a spring performance of mixed repertoire, both from the canon and newly commissioned, and an annual school performance. This format continued until a fall program of mixed repertoire was added in 2009.

Realizing a significant need for additional rehearsal space, the Ballet’s board of directors negotiated with Lubbock ISD in 1980 to utilize the rehearsal studios at Lubbock High School for a daily rental charge of $2.50 per day.

In 1985, Lubbock Civic Ballet’s Board of Directors voted to change the official name of the organization to Ballet Lubbock to create a broader and more regional spectrum.  It remains to this day that Ballet Lubbock is the only pre-professional ballet school and company in the South Plains-Eastern New Mexico region.

As Ballet Lubbock grew, adding additional classes such as Pre-ballet instruction and a formal Company, Lubbock High School, the Boys and Girls Club, and Lubbock Community Centers served as the Ballet’s rehearsal spaces until 1997 when Ballet Lubbock was able to move into its own rented facility large enough to host all classes. The growth of the school continued, and through generous community support Ballet Lubbock broke ground in 2003 on its own state-of-the-art dance facility which houses four studio-classrooms equipped with dance equipment, sound systems and pianos, a workshop for costumes and prop design, and storage.

Since opening Ballet Lubbock’s new facility, student enrollment has more than quadrupled, forcing the Board of Directors to focus on facility expansion. Current plans involve relocating Ballet Lubbock to a larger facility in the heart of Lubbock’s Downtown Cultural Arts District.