History

Amherst Ballet was started under the name of the Amherst Ballet Center by Therese Brady Donohue in 1971 upon her arrival to the area. Despite being forced to move a couple of times, the Center quickly grew in number of students. In 1976, Donohue founded the Amherst Ballet Theatre Company to give young dancers the opportunity for professional performing experience as well as to bring to young audiences an awareness of dance through educational programs in schools and communities. Unlike the Center, the Company was a non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors from the community. Two years later, Donohue purchased a house next to Wildwood Elementary School and with the help of her students and their families, she built two studios adjacent to it. This house has been the home of Amherst Ballet ever since. In 1988, Donohue established the Amherst Ballet Theatre School that offered previously-trained dance students between the ages of twelve and seventeen a complete dance education with performance experience by high school graduation. The school existed as a separate entity until the year 2000, when it was merged with the Company into a single non-profit organization. Succeeding from Donohue, who stepped down from the position that year, Catherine Fair served as Artistic Director for the subsequent ten years and produced a number of original performances. In 2006, with the help of generous donors led by Al and Norma Geller, grandparents of a dancer at the time, Amherst Ballet obtained the building it was housed in. After Fair departed in 2011, two more talented Artistic Directors, Sueann Townsend and Molly Stamell, served Amherst Ballet.

Ever since its founding, the Amherst Ballet Theatre Company has promoted and maintained close ties with local people and has contributed in creating an inclusive community centering around dance. All of the directors have consistently collaborated with musicians and composers in the area and produced not only artistic but innovative original performances.  The company also has a long history of engaging in outreach activities at schools, public libraries, and nursing homes in and around Amherst. Moreover, while the school has been successfully training those who pursue dance as their career, it has also been a place where dancers of all levels, ages, genders, and body-types can improve themselves to their wants and needs.

Past Repertoire

2019AprilMidsummer Night's Dream
2018December"ConcorDance" at the UMass Museum of Contemporary Art
MayMoving Parts: "Variations from Le Corsair", "Variation from Paquita", "Pulsing Coexistence", "Virus", "Water Suite", "Catch and Release", "Fellow Mortal"
2017DecemberSnow White
Magic Flute
2016DecemberSnegurochka, The Snow Maiden
2016MayMusic, Motion, & Emotion: "Schon", "Phosphenes", "Fourtellings", "Habibi", "La Bayadere Betrothal Scene"
Sleeping Beauty
2015JunePineapple Poll (in collaboration with the Valley Light Opera)
2015MayMoving Parts: "Scenes from Childhood", "Entr'acte", "1 Trillion Down", "Animated Frescoes from The Little Humpbacked Horse", "Grand Defile"
2014DecemberCinderella
2014MayJuxtaposition
2011March"Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major by Franz Schubert" in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Symphony
2011March"Hansel & Gretel", "Prelude, op. 28, no. 7 from Chopiniana", "What Happens When", "Markitenka", "Character Dances", "The Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major by Franz Schubert"
2010MayClassical & More...: "Chopiniana", "Variation from La Sylphide", "Emily of Amherst selected excerpts", "Trio", "Breaking Through Life", "Rhapsody of Youth", "Bach Variation with Glenn Gould", "Krater, Ewer, Amphora"
2009December"Tchaikovsky - Character Dances from Nutcracker", "Chopiniana - A ballet to the suite Les Sylphides" in collabration with the Pioneer Valley Symphony
2009May"Emily of Amherst"
2008MarchDance Diversity: A Collage of Works: "The Five Elements", "Che Che Cole", "Space Oddity", "Excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty"
2007March30th Anniversary Celebration of Dance: "Dances From the Earth: The Arctic & The Rainforest", "Vivre", "Hungarian Festival of Dance", "Excerpts from Don Quixote"
2006March"Dances From the Earth: The Arctic", "Dances From the Earth: The Rainforest", "Excerpts From The Firebird"
2005DecemberTook part in "Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker"
2005MayBarefoot Books Ballet Stories: "Swan Lake", "Shim Chung: The Blind Man's Daughter"
2004DecemberTook part in "Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker"
2004May"Nature's Waltz", "Theorem", "Too Darn Hot!", "High Tone Places", "Forge", "Out of Darkness", "The Sleeping Beauty"
2003DecemberTook part in "Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker"
2003May"Ribbon Festival", "Alam Al-Mithral", "Cello Suite", "Italian Concerto", "Concierto Del Viento", "Forge", "Coppelia"
2002March25th Anniversary Gala: "An Evening of Music and Dance with Johann Sebastian Bach", "Ribbon Festival", "Miles A La Mode", "Creation of Narnia"
2001May"An Evening of Music and Dance with Johann Sebastian Bach"
2000March"The Magician's Nephew"
1999April"A Sweep of Dark", "Chinese Dance", "Octet", "Rainbow Etude", "Les Deux Arabiques", "Archean"
1998May"Fairies in The Garden", "Walking with Emma and Jake", "A Sweep of Dark", "Sevilla", "Archean"
1997March/April"Flower Fairy Ballet", "Nebula", "Atlantic Sky", "Ribbon Festival", "Bicycle Waltz", "Sevilla", "Divertimento", "Favorite Israeli Waltzes", "Celebration Waltz"
1995April"Concerto", "Vices or Assets?", "June is Busting Out All Over", "Gently", "Matisse's Circus"
1994February"Sevillanas", "Hoe Down", "Beat on Time", "Salsa Nuestra", "Sea Study", "Cello Concerto"
1993May"Cello Concerto", "Hands of Life", "Dancing with Dubuffet"
1992April15th Anniversary Gala: "Beat on Time", "Sevillanas", "The Emperor's Nightingale", "Cello Concerto", "Hoe Down", "Thrid Rhyme", "Victorian Marketplace"
1990June"Language", "Spring and The Danube", Sevillanas", "Excerpts from Swan Lake", "Don Quixote", "Salsa Nuestra"
1989June"Violin Concerto in A Minor", "Pas de Trois", "Spiral", "Transitions", "The Dream", "Variation", "Paderewski Theme With Variations"
1988March"Selections from Carnival of Animals", "Uncle Wiggily and the Duck Pond"
1987May"Graffiti", "Third Rhyme", "After Miro", "Persimmon", "12 Variations on a Star", "Amaranth", "Cello Concert in D"
1987April"Peter and The Wolf"
1986December"Punch and Judy and The Magic Puppeteer"
1986April"The Emperor's Nightingale"
1985December"Punch and Judy and The Magic Puppeteer"
1985JulySerbia"Beat on Time", "Harvest", "Hans and The Ladies", "Defiant", "Elegie in White", "After Miro", "Canticle", "Evolutions"
1984October"Beat On Time", "Yiddish Songs", "Defiant", "Harvest", "Elegie in White", "Evolutions", "Three Scriabin Preludes", "Chase the Clouds Away"
1984April"Graffiti", "Homage to Miro", "Canticle", "Cahoots", "Ritual Moves"
1983"Les Sylphides", "Jazzamatazz", "Undine's Solo", "One Thousand Cranes"
1982"Cat's Cradle", "Vignettes", "Carnival of Animals", "Trilogy", "Joie de Vivre", "Persimmon", "How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance?" "Vigil",
1981"The Emperor's Nightingale", "Symphonie Espagnole", "Tom Saywer's Saturday", "Dancers", "The Way It Is"
1980"Amherst Poets", "Variations on 10 Movements", "Degrees of Freedom", "Punch and Judy", "Blue Tomorrow? Jazz It!", "Saturday Morning", "Spring Rhapsody"
1979"Soma#27・17・56・4・21・52", "Uncle Wiggily and the Duck Pond", "Grand Pas de Duex from Don Quixote", "Handel Suite", "Joie de Vivre", "Windflow", "Street Cries of London", "Orion's Belt"
1978"Cat's Cradle", "Blue Bird Pas de Deux", "The Golden Goose", "Persimmon", "A beginning", "Blake Prospect", "Judgment of Jeb"