Founded in 1956, as the Academy of the Dance, Wilmington Ballet has the longest-standing tradition of excellence in dance training in the region. Wilmington Ballet’s professional faculty is dedicated to providing exceptional ballet training to students of all ages. Wilmington Ballet students have advanced to the world’s top companies, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Martha Graham Company, Royal Ballet Flanders, Stuttgart Ballet, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, as well as Broadway and more.
Since 1967, the annual performance of The Nutcracker at the Playhouse on Rodney Square in the beautiful historic Hotel duPont has provided our students the opportunity to perform with world-class professional artists and live orchestra.
Wilmington Ballet is conveniently located in the walkable and vibrant Trolley Square neighborhood at 1709 Gilpin Avenue.
Wilmington Ballet is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enrichment of the community and provides superior classical ballet training and performance opportunities to students of all ages.
The Academy of the Dance (now Wilmington Ballet) was co-founded in 1956 by Madame Helene Antonova, a dancer with the Diaghilev Ballet and Ballet Russe, and the acclaimed American dancer, teacher, and choreographer James Jamieson. The first studio was located at 906 West Street in Wilmington, Delaware, and in October of 1958, the ballet studio was moved to 209-211 West 14th Street before coming to its current location in Trolley Square in 2009. In 1967, Wilmington Ballet began its beloved holiday production of the The Nutcracker. After the passing of Madame Antonova in 1974, Mr. Jamieson remained as Artistic Director, and Victor Wesley, who trained at the Academy of the Dance and had a career with Scottish Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Boston Ballet joined the organization. Mr. Jamieson passed away on Christmas Day in 1993, nine days after he appeared as the grandmother in the opening night of the 27th annual production of The Nutcracker. Mr. Wesley continued on as the owner and artistic director of the school. In 1995, Mr. Wesley asked Arthur Hutchinson, also a former student of the Academy with an international career, to return to join Wilmington Ballet as artistic adviser and faculty. When Mr. Wesley retired and closed the location on West 14th Street in February of 2008, Ms. Amanda Hughey was given the name of the school and she transitioned it into a nonprofit organization. Mr. Hutchinson was asked to join the Board of Directors. He choreographed the Nutcracker in 2008, and brought in Barbara Sandanoto’s School to collaborate. Mr. Hutchinson asked Jorge Laico to become Artistic Director in 2009. Mr. Laico had danced professionally with several ballet companies such as Philippine Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Manila Metropolis Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet. In 2012, Mr. Laico took a year off and Ms. Sandanoto became director that season. Mr. Laico continued as director until December 2017. In May of 2018, the Board of Directors appointed Ann Cole Executive and Artistic Director.