Columbia City Ballet – An Introduction
Columbia City Ballet offers Southeastern audiences the highest quality ballet and provides dancers with some of the finest professional dance training.
Artistic & Executive Director William Starrett has transformed it into a professional company with 21 paid dancers and more than 2,000 season members. Under the leadership of Starrett, Columbia City Ballet produces what critics have described as “some of the highest quality cultural entertainment in the Southeast.” The ballet attracts not only audiences from all over the region that are eager to attend performances, but also quality artists from all over the country and the world eager to be a part of such an accomplished ballet company. South Carolina claims one of the strongest, most versatile ballet companies in the region and country.
Since Columbia City Ballet’s founding in 1961, it has integrated the world of dance within the lives of Columbians. In that era, the Ballet was a community dance group staging only two performances a year. Columbia City Ballet has increased its total number of major performances to more than 80 per year, reaching more than 51,000 people in a season.
Columbia City Ballet’s mission is to bring new levels of excellence to ballet – both on and off stage. We will accomplish this through processes that are inclusive in scope, educational, and creative.
Through this mission, we will significantly advance ballet as an art form and enrich the cultural life of our community while providing artistic excellence, exhilarating performances, innovative choreography, and superb educational programs.
- Inclusive through making ballet accessible and meaningful to increasing segments of our community by:
- Expanding ballet’s relevance to the community by presenting works that reflect timeless emotions and current topical concerns.
- Demonstration of our strong commitment to diversity among our audience, artists, and staff.
- Including our traditional audience while working to develop new audiences.
- Educational through dedication to the ongoing enrichment and development of all our constituencies by:
- Illumination of the technical and artistic elements of dance, music, and the related theater arts.
- Developing new generations of artists while expanding the development of current professional dancers and staff members.
- Relating the dance legacy of the past to today’s contemporary works.
- Creative through the development of new works and interpretation of the art of ballet while preserving the extensive legacy of the art. We will accomplish this by:
- Examining and presenting the art form in new ways while honoring what has come before.
- Creating new works and allowing new choreographic voices to speak.
- Fostering and promoting individual expression in all people participating in the organization.
DIVERSITY, EQUALITY, AND INCLUSION MISSION
Columbia City Ballet’s Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) Mission is to: provide individuals an opportunity to achieve their full potential; enhance and strengthen our art form; and sustain our reputation as a preeminent arts organization, which embodies, excellence, diversity, and inclusion. We strive to present our art while fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment that celebrates and embraces all forms of diversity.
At Columbia City Ballet, our DE&I mission is defined by striving to reflect the diverse communities we serve; allowing a wide range of different voices to be heard; valuing and respecting differences, both visible and invisible; practicing humility and transparency in our DE&I mission and assuming responsibility for positioning ballet as an art form that is accessible to everyone. We further define diversity as appreciation and respect for the varied intersections of differences in society including, but not limited to race, gender or gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or age.
Columbia City Ballet will continue to celebrate and respect the confluences of our differences — recognizing that these differences make our dancers, staff, volunteers, and audiences who they are. We further recognize that this work does not embody a destination but rather is representative of a journey to which Columbia City Ballet stands committed both as an organization and as the individuals who make up that organization.
Columbia City Ballet believes that its mission as an artistic and creative organization is strongly enhanced by its commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. Inclusion of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences among our professional dancers, students, staff, repertoire, audience, board members and volunteers is of primary importance to us because it
- is the right thing to do;
- builds energy;
- fuels growth;
- inspires creativity; and
- fosters a welcoming environment that celebrates all forms of diversity
Columbia City Ballet recognizes that this commitment does not embody a destination but represents an essential and ongoing journey.
Board Of Directors 2020-2021
Jackie Vose – Managing Director, Customer Experience, Greenwich Associates, LLC
C. Adair Bledsoe, Jr. Esq. – Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
Shannon Eichelberger – Auditor, AG First Bank
Olivia Stafford Jones, Attorney/Owner Olivia Stafford Jones Law, LLC
Artistic and Executive Director
William Starrett – Artistic and Executive Director, CCB
Directors Circle President
Emily Welsh –Personal Trainer – The Firm
Advisor to Board President
Dr. Gail Morrison* –Deputy Director, SC Commission on Higher Education, Retired
Megan Pinckney* –Self Employed Consultant
Jared D. Smith* – Attorney at Law Offices of Jared Smith
Doug Bailey – Senior Tax Manager USC
Joy Bryant – Director of Sales, Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbia
Marvin Chernoff, Lifetime Member
Dr. Shelley Canright, NASA Sr Advisor for Education, Retired
Christy Davis, Christy Davis Interiors
Robert DeBerry – Columbia City Ballet CFO and Administrative Director
Joyce Martin-Hill – Philanthropist; Community Activist; Owner, Farewell Farms
Bruce Johnson –President and CEO, Johnson’s Garbage Service
Robert Livingston –President of Gregory Electric, Adjutant General for State of South Carolina
Jennifer McKellar – Assistance Solicitor, Fifth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina
Greg Middleton –Controller, Agape Senior
Victor Montgomery – Retired NYPD
Suzanne Pucci – President/CEO Pucci Enterprises, LLC DBA Stanley Steemer of Columbia
Matt Shaffer- Vice President Blue Cross Blue Shield
Fred Sheheen, Lifetime Member
Stephen Shroyer –President and CEO of Advanced Diagnostics and Heartfelt Hospice
Bud Tibshrany, Lifetime Member –Retired Executive, Time Warner Cable South Carolina
Jennifer Trogdon – About You Advanced Skin Care and Laser Center