Ballet Virginia was founded in 2008 by Suzanne Lownsbury and Janina Michalski. Together with a handful of talented artists, including Lydia Roberts Coco and Lisa McCarty, and a devoted group of BV families, they began to grow a ballet academy in Norfolk. By the summer of 2019, Ballet Virginia had opened its second academy location in Virginia Beach and launched a full-time professional company.
Parents and staff worked together with a construction team to bring the main location’s historic building back to life. This beautiful building now houses five large dance studios, a wardrobe room, offices, and dressing rooms. It is home to a thriving dance academy of over 400 students plus the professional company.
Ballet Virginia students are regularly accepted into nationally recognized summer training programs such as the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, English National Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet West. We are proud of our alumni who have gone on to dance with professional companies including American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet and Nevada Ballet Theater.
Additionally, many of Ballet Virginia’s dancers have been accepted into top-level academic institutions both for dance and other disciplines. This is a testament to the holistic approach that Ballet Virginia takes toward dance education. Their graduates have received academic degrees from institutions like Penn State, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary. They have also pursued artistic degrees from prominent universities such as Fordham, Brigham Young, and North Carolina School of the Arts.
The professional company offers a full season of classical and contemporary dance. Our annual “The Nutcracker” is a holiday favorite with live orchestra from Symphonicity. In addition, the company performs a full-length ballet in the spring along with mixed repertoire performances in the fall and late winter. Our second company, BVII, has the opportunity to perform with the company regularly. Young dancers from our academy and the community have had the experience of performing in our full-length ballets.