5 questions with Robert Curran of Louisville Ballet on its 65th anniversary

Published: Sep. 9, 2016 at 1:22 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2016 at 2:11 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Ballet is celebrating a big anniversary – it's 65th. Friday and Saturday they will open this special season with Stars + Stripes at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

The company will also pay tribute to Bonnie Dance Thornton, who was the first dancer to have graced the stage at the first performance of Louisville Ballet. She still lives in Louisville.
The Ballet's Artistic Director Robert Curran recently spent time with Thornton. He said he doesn't know of anyone else in his position who has had the opportunity of meeting one of their company's first dancers. 

Here now are my five questions with Robert Curran of Louisville Ballet.

1) How has Louisville Ballet changed over the last 65 years?

Louisville Ballet has always presented the highest quality of art in dance. The company has always had an open and collaborative approach to creating new work. And we have always been committed to this Louisville community. So in a lot of ways the company hasn't dramatically changed over the past 65 years, but as we look forward to the next 65 years I am excited about changes that are about to happen.

2) What's different about today's dancers?

Today's dancers have access to so many resources that just were not available in years gone by. Technology gives a dancer the ability to get on their smart phone and look at a performance of a favorite ballet, or a favorite dancer whenever they need inspiration or information. Dance science delivers information and strategies to prevent or manage injuries, prolonging the career of a dancer and removing the lifelong impact of the training. And although artists, in all genres of art, are not adequately compensated for their commitment and sacrifices, dancers are paid significantly better today, than in years gone by.

3) What's different about today's audience?

They know so much more. They demand so much more. They get so much more. We have so many opportunities to seek inspiration, and release from the drudgery of our lives. Technology gives us so much. But nothing can ever replace the shared experience of the theatre, where people come together in the flesh to share the adventure of art. The wonderful thing about Louisville Ballet is that you get an incredible mix of artistic genres; dance, music, visual art, design, architecture, fashion, technology, and

4) As Artistic Director of the ballet, what do you want people who have never been to a performance to know?

I want everyone to know that ballet is a contemporary art form. We're not stuffy and dusty and old-fashioned. We can respect our heritage and perform productions that are hundreds of years old and we can create brand new work that speaks to this society, this generation, and the generations to come.
I want everyone to know that each person who is involved in creating the art that Louisville Ballet presents, has given a little piece of themselves to it. The art that arrives on the stage is the sum of hundreds and thousands of sacrifices and gifts made by everyone involved. And most of all, that these sacrifices and gifts are made willingly and enthusiastically for the audience. Our priority is creating an experience for our audience that is beyond compare. We wouldn't exist without our audience!

5) What was your inspiration for this performance, Stars + Stripes?

I want to deliver an uplifting and energizing experience to everyone involved. The dancers are fiercely demonstrating their artistry and athleticism. The musicians of the Louisville Orchestra are bringing their all to old and new music. The designers are bringing every ounce of their creativity and commitment to create a visual aesthetic that is rich and diverse. The staff are anticipating every detail of the experience for our audience. The experience of live art is everything.

My inspiration is the team, the whole team. I can't thank them enough for what they do, so generously. My goal is to have people spontaneously, and uncontrollably, rising to their feet and hollering like they are at a sports event! 

For more information about Louisville Ballet or tickets go to

Previous installments
+ July 28: Founder of Frogglez
July 21: Owner of LIFEbar
July 7: Owners of new SET at Theatre Square restaurant

June 23: PR firm owner Bob Gunnell
May 26: Abbey Road on the River promoter Gary Jacob
+ May 20: S. Brandon Coan
+ May 13: Campbell Brown
April 28: Donna Barton Brothers
+ April 22: Wayne Hettinger
+ April 15: Milliner Kenzie Kapp
April 8: The owner of MexA Steak Tacos

March 31: The owners of Louisville's Drybar
March 25: Local entrepreneur Junior Bridgeman
March 18: Author Emily Bingham
March 11: PurseKeyper co-rounder Dana Robinson
March 4: Chef, restaurateur John Varanese
Feb. 26: Wicked Sheets Founder Alli Truttmann
Feb. 19: Lilly's Chef Kathy Cary
Feb. 12: Speed Museum Director Ghislain d'Humieres
Feb. 5: Miss Kentucky USA Kyle Hornback

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.