Dayton Ballet School

The mission of the Dayton Ballet School is provide the very finest dance training to any child or adult who seeks to experience the wonder and the fun of dance.

The goal of the School is to serve the community by not only strengthening legs and arms, but also by introducing accomplishments and discipline to the spirit of all participants.

For 81 years, Dayton Ballet School has provided excellence in dance training. Founded by Josephine and Hermene Schwarz, the Dayton Ballet School is not only the oldest dance school in Dayton, but is one of the oldest dance schools in the United States. As the only ballet school in the Miami Valley associated with a professional dance company, the Dayton Ballet School continues the tradition established by Miss Jo and Miss Hermene of "offering the highest quality dance training to professionals and non-professionals."

From the beginning, Dayton Ballet School’s primary goal has been to prepare dancers for professional careers. However, Dayton Ballet School realizes that most of our students will not pursue a career in dance. These students benefit from dance in many ways by building grace and poise and obtaining the mental and physical discipline that promotes a strong and focused character. Many students follow related careers in physical therapy, costume design, scene design or teaching. They also form an appreciative dance audience.

Dayton Ballet School students enjoy many performing opportunities. Dayton Ballet II Senior and Junior are our pre-professional training companies chosen by audition and often perform with the Dayton Ballet dancers in selected works. Dayton Ballet II and Level V students also perform a special presentation at the end of the school year.

Some of our best known graduates are:

  • Rebecca Wright performed with American Ballet Theatre, on Broadway in Merlin, and with the Joffrey Ballet.
  • Dan Duell danced with the New York City Ballet and is the artistic director of the Chicago Ballet.
  • Donna Wood performed with Alvin Ailey.
  • Stuart Sebastian, is the former Dayton Ballet artistic director and also worked with Washington National Ballet.
  • Bonnie Pickard, is dancing with Suzanne Farrell Ballet
  • Rebecca Carmazzi, performed with Dayton Ballet and BalletMet and is now a member of the North Carolina Ballet Theatre.
  • Penny Freeh is a choreographer for the James Sewell Ballet.
  • Geraldine Blunden is the former director of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Peter Means was a company member Milwaukee Ballet, Washington Ballet and Ballet Met.
  • School Director, Carol Jean Heller danced with Ballet Repertory in New York.

Many others have dances professional with ballet and modern dance companies; others have performed on Broadway and taught in school and universities.