Whether training to become professional dancers or exploring ballet as a hobby, students at Huntsville Ballet School hone their craft under the guidance of seasoned dance experts. Artistic director Phillip Otto taught master classes in ballet at Yale and Vassar College, and school director Rachel Butler danced and taught across the world in places like China, Australia, and Turkey. The school operates in tandem with the Huntsville Ballet, giving dancers an opportunity to audition for performances alongside the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Former students have gone on to study at prestigious dance schools across the nation, while others have become mirror models for bedroom danceoffs.
Train dancers with the best instruction possible. Give audiences professional work to watch. Inspire a love of ballet in the community at large. This is the three-part mission at Appalachian Ballet Company, and it hasn't changed since its founding in 1972. That aim to both educate and entertain informs every production the company performs, which includes classic stories such as Peter Pan, Cinderella, and an annual Nutcracker, complete with lavish sets and costumes.
Appalachian Ballet Company's artistic prowess has won it more than truckloads of roses. The organization was accepted into Regional Dance America's Southeast Regional Ballet Association in 1989, and became an Honor Company three years later. Artistic Director Amy Morton Vaughn has earned plenty of acclaim herself, including an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and a 2009 Teacher of the Year award from the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts.