History of the School

History of the School

This year marks our 24th year! Previously known as Connecticut Ballet Theatre School and based in Southport and Fairfield, the school re-branded itself as Connecticut Ballet Center, official school of Connecticut Ballet, under the direction of Brett Raphael and opened on March 1, 1996.

From the beginning, the emphasis has been on providing excellent foundational and pre-professional training in ballet along with a broad range of other dance styles and techniques. CBC’s ballet faculty has included such distinguished teachers as Barbara Sandonato, Peter O’Brien, Cynthia Gregory, Tatiana Litvinova, Roni Mahler, Oksana Konobeyeva, Katherine Healy, Helen Coope, Elena Comendador, Alexander Tressor, Michelle Lucci, Oksana Maslova and Svetlana Caton. Other instructors have included Cheryl Smith/Olivier Tarpaga/Yaa McCoy (West African dance), Jessica Delia/Rachel Grisi (Graham technique), Robin Gilbert/Jahain Clark/Susan Matheke (modern), Corin Hollifield/Sharon Heller/David Roman (tap), Robin Dunn/Kenichi Ebina/Fujiko Ueda (hip hop), Hiromi Tsusue, Aya Kaneko (Horton technique), Fumilayo (East African dance), Quenia Ribiero/Efraim Da Silva (Capoeira), Rachel Tavernier/Peniel Guerrier/Yasmine Lee (Afro-Caribbean), Denise LaPointe/Lauri MacLean/Kari Nealis (Jazz), and Maya de Silva Chafe/Yohanna Escamilla (Flamenco).

Connecticut Ballet Center students are encouraged to audition for any number of competitive summer dance programs to achieve additional experience and test their standing in the larger world of dance. Students have attended American Academy of Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Ballet Theatre's Jackie Kennedy Onassis School, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Briansky Ballet Center, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, and Walnut Hill School of the Arts summer programs.

Connecticut Ballet Center students have gone on to attend major conservatory and college programs (American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, National Ballet School in Toronto, Connecticut College, University of Hartford, Purchase College, Juilliard School, Marymount Manhattan, Walnut Hill, Mercyhurst College, James Madison University, Dean College) and/or continued their professional development as Trainees with Connecticut Ballet. Company members have gone on to dance with companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Repertory Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Feld Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Richmond Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, MOMIX, and Hubbard Street Dance Company.