The Westchester Ballet Company, which celebrated 60 years of dance in the year 2011, is one of the oldest community ballet companies in the United States. In 1951, Iris Merrick, a former student of Michel Fokine and soloist with the English Opera Company, established the Westchester Ballet Company with the goal of making it the best regional company in Westchester County. Iris Merrick retired in 1980, after 30 years as director. For the next six years, the Company was led by Gabriela Ionita, a former principal of the Bucharest Opera Ballet Company and a graduate of the Vaganova Academy (Kirov) in Leningrad.
Shortly after Gabriela Ionita resigned in 1986, Beth Fritz-Logrea and Jean Logrea, both principal dancers with the Graz Opernhaus Ballet, agreed to take over as artistic directors. WBC has grown tremendously under the direction of Jean Logrea and Beth Fritz-Logrea in size, professionalism, repertoire, venues and reputation in Westchester County- and beyond. The Logreas have infused the Company with energy and excitement. Thanks to their exacting standards and the dedication of its dancers, WBC productions have been compared favorably to those of the finest professional companies.
The Company is perhaps best known for its production of The Nutcracker, which is performed annually at the Westchester County Center. This production includes a cast of over 125 dancers and guest artists, with exquisite choreography, many special effects, and lavish costumes and scenery. It has become a seasonal family favorite for over 7,000 attendees annually. Among the many other ballets in the Company’s repertoire are Peter and the Wolf, La Boutique Fantasque, Graduation Ball, Les Patineurs, Pas de Quatre, and Les Sylphides, as well as excerpts from Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Bayadère, La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Our dancers’ dedication, discipline, and artistic expression are acclaimed by audiences of all ages.