Where did we come from?
Although the Shenandoah Ballet is a new name, the concept is far from that! In the fall of 1999, Missy Floyd opened the Shenandoah Academy of Dance in Lexington, Va. with the desire to train classical ballet dancers for careers in dance or simply for the enjoyment of dance. Dancers from the academy have been accepted into summer intensives all over the country and have also gone on to major in dance programs during their college years. Adult students of the academy simply rediscovered or, in some cases, discovered for the first time their love of ballet and the art of dance.
In the fall of 2008, facing difficult economic times for the studio, Floyd relocated the academy to Buena Vista, Va. Times got better for the academy and Floyd decided to embark on the setting of the Academy's first full-length story ballet, Cinderella. After seeing that the academy's dancers along with participants from the community and Southern Virginia University could handle the strain of a full-length ballet, Floyd proceeded to challenge them to Rockbridge County's first and only full-length production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. The following spring, the Academy once again proved its strength by accepting the challenge of Floyd's production of The Sleeping Beauty. After moving the studio one last time in the fall of 2011, the academy continued the holiday tradition by producing its second annual production of The Nutcracker. In the spring of 2012, the academy, with the honor of being named the Second Best Performing Arts Venue in the Shenandoah Valley by Virginia Living Magazine, again came to the stage with a full-length production of the comedy classic Coppelia.
In the fall of 2012, the holiday tradition continued with The Nutcracker and with that, the birth of the Shenandoah Ballet.
What have we accomplished ...
With the founding of the Shenandoah Ballet, Floyd choreographed an exciting Alice in Wonderland for its first performance as a formed ballet company. A huge undertaking in many ways but the ballet was well received and very successful!
After producing the company's fourth annual production of The Nutcracker, Floyd decided to take a trip down Shakespeare alley with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Another adventurous "dream" completed so we headed back into Nutcracker season. Actually, our full-length Nutcracker turned five years wonderful that year!! Even though December comes first, we were forward thinking to Spring 2015 ...
After six successful seasons of full-length productions of The Nutcracker, it was time to venture down the Yellow Brick Road! We headed into Oz in May 2015 and completed yet another chapter in our giant storybook! With a score compiled by Floyd, Dorothy and her friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion came to life! A nostalgic journey for audiences and a pinnacle moment for the company as it bid three of its leading dancers .. we won't say farewell because that would not actually be true .. so we will leave it at .. see you soon!
After a Nutcracker in January 2016 .. we turned our focus to the story of Hansel and Gretel. After a quick turn around time for this ballet's rehearsal season, we closed the curtain on yet another original ballet for our history book. Hansel and Gretel was a delightful success!
Closing the curtain on yet another successful season of The Nutcracker (which in 2016 included 10 performances of the beloved Christmas delight ... four in January and six in December including two different venues ..), we took a look at life under the sea. The Little Mermaid proved to be a Shenandoah Ballet favorite among dancers, audiences and yes, even the artistic director! Based on the fairy originally published by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837, this ballet proved to tug on the emotions of many.
As our story goes, we rolled into Nutcracker 2017 again dancing to enthralled audiences in two different venues over two back to back weekends! But we quickly moved forward to our next premiere production of Beauty and the Beast. And again, another moment where our heart strings were pulled hard ...we bid farewell to a few members of the Shenandoah Ballet family .. but not totally. Guest appearances are always available!
Our 2018 - 2019 performance season is officially closed. Six more glorious Nutcrackers with returning alumni dancers .. again performing in two venues happened. This Christmas tradition will remain our mainstay for years and years to come!
May 2019 opened up with what I consider an amazing reconstructed version of my 2010 .. and first full length story ballet .. Cinderella. I expanded so much of my original work using more of Prokofiev's magical score along with a couple of enhancements from Prokofiev's other masterpiece score for Romeo and Juliet. More scenes were added to make room for more dancers! Audiences comment that this is "the best ballet yet .." .. scary and exciting at the same time. How do I make another .. better .. spring ballet in 2020 ..
Where are we now?
Nutcracker 2018 .. Cinderella 2019 .. officially in our history book ...
We have closed another magical and highly successful season of dance with our annual Nutcracker performances and a beautiful expanded version of one of my very favorites, Cinderella. My mind races to the coming season ..
Nutcracker 2019 ..
Spring ballet 2020 .... to be continued, so stay tuned ...
Continuing the Tradition ....
After tossing a few spring ideas around in my head, I've decided to take my company on a return to Wonderland!
With an all new score and an all new cast of leading characters, I think it's time to take Alice back down the Rabbit Hole to travel through Wonderland. We will meet the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Dutchess and the Cook .. the Frog and Fish Footmen and so many more wild characters ..
Make plans now ... who knows how this version will turn out!
Alice in Wonderland .. Presented by the Shenandoah Ballet, May 1-3, 2020 ....
March 2020 ... Enter COVID 19 ..
Covid 19 stormed in and added challenges to our company's home studio, the Shenandoah Academy of Dance. Forced to go to an all virtual training platform, rehearsals continued in spite of challenges. Then it was announced that our spring ballet was canceled. But not to be outdone, the Shenandoah Ballet continued on with Alice rehearsals. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Fast forward to fall 2020 ...
Classes resumed at the Academy in a hybrid fashion and thoughts of Alice filled our heads. In October 2020, we brought Alice in Wonderland to an outside venue and danced the abridged version to a lively and receptive audience! As we close the books on Alice in Wonderland, we turn our attention to our 2020 production of The Nutcracker.
Thinking outside the box a little, we will not miss a season of our holiday classic! Stay tuned for dates and venue for this season's holiday magic!
Looking ahead to Spring 2021 ...
Spring 2021's chapter is officially announced! The Shenandoah Ballet will take a turn at The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe based on the children's novel by C.S. Lewis. To Narnia we go! Details will follow as soon as they are set!