South Carolina's Largest Performing Arts Organization Celebrates 60 Years!

2018-2019 Season Announced!

Here’s what we can expect for this upcoming season:


Dracula: Ballet with a Bite!

Based on Brahm Stoker’s classic novel, Count Dracula and his maidens return to open our 58th performance season in this dance experience as legendary as the Count himself. Exhilarating and seductive, this is Columbia’s Halloween cult favorite! Don’t miss this must-see event at the Koger Center for the Arts, October 26-27 at 7 p.m.

Gala with a Bite

Count Dracula requests your presence at his annual Masquerade Ball at Castle Dracula. Immediately following the Friday performance of Dracula: Ballet with a Bite, this gala evening will include a silent auction, musical entertainment, an open bar and much more. Purchase your tickets now for what is quickly becoming Columbia’s hottest annual event, Gala with a Bite!


Holidays are times filled with tradition and Columbia’s family holiday tradition is Columbia City Ballet’s Nutcracker. With 6 sumptuous, snow-filled performances, we can accommodate the entire family’s bustling holiday schedules. Nutcracker enjoys the distinction of being the Koger Center’s first and longest consecutively running annual arts event. This year’s production is an extravaganza not to be missed.

Nutcracker Tea

While planning your attendance for Nutcracker, mark your calendar now to include joining us for our bespoke Nutcracker Tea at 1:30 on December 8, 9 and 15, prior to the matinee performances. Enter the Land of the Sweets while enjoying a seated tea with all the trimmings, including arts and crafts and visits from Nutcracker characters. One of Columbia City Ballet’s signature events, seating is limited and in high demand, so reserve your place today. Tea tickets are $30/each and must be purchased in advance by calling the ballet office: 803-799-7605.

Sleeping Beauty

Columbia City Ballet proudly announces its third annual collaboration with the South Carolina Philharmonic in presenting The Sleeping Beauty. Featuring the magnificent Tchaikovsky score conducted by Morihiko Nakahara, the entire family will delight in this beautiful presentation of the classic fairy tale. First produced by Columbia City Ballet in 1967, this production marks the 12th time the Company has staged this tale of the beautiful Princess and her Prince Charming. “…A storybook perfect performance of the full length classic Sleeping Beauty.”- The State. Purchase your tickets now for this culturally rich, bucket list worthy event.

Beatles, the Ballet

The year was 1964 and America was about to be taken by storm. Four young men from Liverpool, England brought a phenomenon known as Beatlemania to the United States. This world premiere, multi-media ballet created by Executive & Artistic Director William Starrett will explore the Fab-Four and their impact on our culture. See how these dynamic young men helped fuel the cultural revolution of the 1960s in America and masterfully used their music to elevate social consciousness. Join us in your grooviest attire and be the first to experience Beatles, the Ballet!

Letter from the Director

Artistic Director William Starrett reflects on this season and what we can expect next year:

“Welcome and thank you for attending Cleopatra, the final ballet of our 57th performance season. We have enjoyed quite a successful season. Allow me to briefly recap some of the highlights of the season. We had record breaking sales of Dracula and Nutcracker; a tremendously exciting Gala with a Bite; another amazing joint performance with the SC Philharmonic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and, as if that weren’t enough, a packed house at the historic Township Auditorium for our presentation of Off the Wall & Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green. We also sold out our performance of Off the Wall & Onto the Stage at the Sottile Theatre in Charleston. To go one step further, we also sold out both performance of our annual Body & Movement Explored. None of this would be possible without the support of our phenomenal audiences. Thank you for continuing to support Columbia City Ballet!

With all these extraordinary successes under our belts, we now approach the end of the 2017-2018 season with one of the largest and most lavish ballets in our repertoire, and mark the retirement of our incomparable Ballerina, Regina Willoughby. Regina personally selected Cleopatra as her final stage performance. This is very appropriate since I created this ballet for Regina in 2008. At that time, I was struck by what I saw as Regina’s strong resemblance to the legendary actress, Elizabeth Taylor. I decided I just had to see her in one of Taylor’s iconic roles, and since my nature is “go big or go home,” I thought, why not Cleopatra. We last presented this ballet in 2010.

On a personal note, I want to say thank you to Regina for sharing her amazing talent and for being such an integral part of Columbia City Ballet. I certainly don’t have to tell our audiences what a one-woman tour de force Regina is. What both you and Regina may be unaware of however, is the fact that she has been an amazing gift to me as an Artistic Director. Due to her amazing confidence and her ability to abandon herself totally to the dance, I have never had to worry when Regina is on stage, I know that she is always going to deliver a memorable performance. In these, her final appearances, I say to Regina, thank you for your artistry, your beauty and your heart.

All of life is marked by passages, and as we say farewell to Regina, we are also excited to embrace the future and celebrate the incredible depth of talent of the current and future Company members of Columbia City Ballet. Already, we are turning our thoughts to our 58th performance season. In the coming weeks we will hold national auditions, bringing even more talent to the company, and we also have next season’s productions selected.

We’ll open the 2018-2019 Season in October with Dracula: Ballet with a Bite and an even more exciting Gala with a Bite! For the holidays, we will produce Nutcracker, Columbia’s oldest and largest performing arts event. While these productions are annual events, we always incorporate new elements to keep them fresh and exciting.

In January 2019, we will enter our 3rd annual joint performance with the SC Philharmonic as we present The Sleeping Beauty. With Morihiko Nakahara conducting the extraordinary Tchaikovsky score, this is guaranteed to be a ballet you don’t want to miss. Please see additional information about our Dream Team in this dancebill to learn who makes this artistic collaboration between the two organizations possible.

Once again, we will return to CMFA Arts Space, to bring you our annual Body & Movement Explored. Described as “an evening of dance where the visual and physical collide,” this presentation features original works by a variety of choreographers from across the region.

We are ending the 2018-2019 performance season with an exciting world premier ballet that will return us to the incredible world of America in the 1960s. We’ll showcase the only invasion of America since the Revolutionary War. That’s right, the British Invasion led by the Fab-Four, the one and only, The Beatles! Grab your grooviest garb, climb into your flower-power painted micro-bus, and head to the Koger Center to see Beatles the Ballet! I can assure you of an unparalleled entertainment experience in this new multi-media ballet which I am creating.

Now, allow me to invite you to join me in the ancient land of pyramids and desert sands for an inside look at the mighty civilization of Egypt and its most celebrated Queen, Cleopatra. Enjoy the performance and thank you for your continued support of Columbia City Ballet.

All my very best,

William Starrett”

Q&A with Ballerina Regina Willoughby

As Cleopatra quickly approaches, Ballerina Regina Willoughby’s professional dance career with Columbia City Ballet is coming to a close. With her retirement, Regina is celebrating over 20 years of dance in Columbia. Her final performances with the company will be March 24, followed by a gala that evening commemorating Regina’s years with Columbia City Ballet and her contribution to the Columbia arts scene. We interviewed Regina and here’s what she had to say:

 Q: What are your feelings about retirement and leaving Columbia City Ballet? 
 Regina: Retirement will be bittersweet. My professional career, which has been primarily with CCB (21 years), is a huge part of who I am. My passion for ballet is something that will forever be a part of me but I have a definite peace about the time of retirement. A repose for my mind, body and schedule will be welcomed but I will miss many aspects as well.
 Q: Why did you choose Cleopatra to be your retirement performance? 
 R: Cleopatra was a ballet created on me which is an honor for a ballet dancer.
 Q: What is your favorite part of dancing the role of Cleopatra? 
 R: The score and pas de deux are incredibly moving which makes it rewarding for me.
 Q: What is your favorite role that you’ve danced with Columbia City Ballet? 
 R: Juliet would probably top my list. The curtain went up and it was the end of the ballet before I realized. Prokofiev’s score tells the story in such an incredible way and to have that flow through my body was like nothing else.
 Q: If you could leave one message for the rest of the ballet company what would it be? 
 R: Enjoy each stage of your career and don’t wait until tomorrow to push yourself harder or step out of your comfort zone. Tomorrow never comes.