In May of 1957, the Erie Civic Ballet gave its initial performance at the Columbia Theatre in Erie under the artistic direction of Statia Sublette. During the 13 years of Ms. Sublette's directorship, the Company presented over 50 works at the Chautauqua Institute, and with several orchestras and opera companies. In 1948, the Erie Civic Ballet was accepted as a 501-C3 non-profit organization, offering quality dance training and performances to the community of Erie.
In 1987, the organization changed its name to the Lake Erie Ballet. Artistic Directors Robert Steele, Jeff Satinoff and Robert Vickrey carried on the tradition of excellence begun by Ms. Sublette and established the Lake Erie Ballet as a professional company whose home base is the tri-state area comprised of northwestern Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio and western New York.
Since then, the Company has taken what can only be described as a "quantum leap." In 1996, after dancing with the company for seven seasons, Christina Maria was appointed as head of the organization. Under her direction, the Lake Erie Ballet was able to combine its rich history in classical ballet with cutting edge new work. Repertoire included classics as The Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella as well as contemporary masterpieces by George Balanchine, Bruce Wells and Donlin Foreman. Lake Erie Ballet has also performed on tour throughout the region and as far away as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The Lake Erie Ballet has made its permanent home in the heart of downtown Erie's cultural district. The complex also houses the Lake Erie Academy of Dance, training over 150 students from beginner (age 3) through advanced pre-professional levels. With classical ballet serving as a core curriculum, the academy also offers classes in Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Character and Improvisation while providing workshops for better health, focus, stamina and performance.
In addition to offering training and performance opportunities, the Lake Erie Ballet also provides Arts-in-Education programming which has expanded to reach over 1,500 area students and residents in over a dozen original programs on a seasonal basis, since 2007.