Denver Ballet Guild
Denver Ballet Guild has been a cultural force in Denver since 1979
Denver Ballet Guild is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit with no paid staff or personnel. Dedicated volunteers contribute funds and countless hours of service on behalf of dance. The structure of the Guild as an umbrella organization with no dance company of its own which allows the Guild to host events that include a diverse group of dance companies, dancers and students. The Guild makes a significant impact on the dance community by awarding annual grants to professional dance companies, sponsoring dance education and in school programs, and awarding scholarships to young dancers.
Since 1979, the DBG has been a cultural force in Denver by pursuing its mission to support dance as a performing art. The DBG grew out of early efforts in 1958 to produce outstanding ballets in the Denver area as the Denver Civic Ballet Association. In an attempt to bring a new level of dance the Rocky Mountains, Denver Ballet Academy and Denver Civic Ballet were added to the Association in 1969. Nutcracker performances with the Denver Symphony Orchestra in the Auditorium Theatre soon became a Christmastime tradition.
With the Nutcracker a success and a 1969 spring performance in the works, Denver Civic Ballet Guild organized Les Cygnettes for 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls. The goal was to stimulate interest in and an appreciation of ballet in order to maintain an audience for dance. By 1974, the influence of ballet had expanded and reached the schools. The Denver Civic Ballet Guild had a group of 10 dancers perform every Friday in the Denver Public Schools.
To raise money to support this dance outreach program, Le Bal de Ballet was started in 1969. The program introduced young ladies from Denver area families to Denver society. In 1978-79, the Denver Civil Ballet went through a re-organization. Many of the Association members joined the newly formed Denver Ballet Guild and continued many of the wonderful traditions of the Association.
Today, the DBG still carries out the great traditions of the original Association. In 1988, young men were added to the Le Bal de Ballet program as Young Men of Distinction. The young men and women in the program are a representation of outstanding young people from the Denver area community. Le Bal de Ballet is the primary fundraiser of the DBG. In 2001, an additional fundraiser, “A Taste for Dance” wine event and auction was inaugurated.
The DBG supports and operates In School Programs and Dance Showcase. In School Programs which has been bringing dance companies into Denver-area schools since 1974 to provide students with an interactive dance experience consisting of performance, instruction and group dance among teachers, students and principals.
In 1997, the DBG, created the “Showcase of Dance” program to complement the “In-School” program. The Showcase of Dance spans three days each November, and provides an in-theatre experience for Denver area school children.
In addition to these programs, the DBG also founded the Young Dancers Competition in 1981 under the guidance of the Guild’s first president, Florence Ruston. The event offers young students the opportunity to further their dance education, to perform in a public forum and to be honored for their dance achievements through scholarship awards.
The DBG also distributes grants to Denver area dance companies. The Community Enrichment Committee allocates funding annually to dance companies that have submitted grant requests. The funds distributed under the grants are to be used for the production of a dance performance. The goal is to increase both the quality of the production and the size of the audiences.
Denver Symphony Debs became part of the DBG in 2005. Young ladies in 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades, as members, have the opportunity to attend cultural and theatrical events annually. The name Denver Symphony Debs was changed to Les Demoiselles in 2007. Together, both Les Cygnettes and Les Demoiselles programs provide a seamless continuum for young ladies wishing to experience cultural and theatrical events throughout the year.
The mission of the Denver Ballet Guild shall be to stimulate interest in ballet and other forms of dance; to promote dance at all levels; to conduct dance education; to develop audiences; to conduct fundraising activities to support and promote dance and to disburse funds for such purposes.