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Arts and Entertainment

NCDT announces name change
New name pays homage to Charlotte, ballet
 
Published Thursday, May 1, 2014
by Michaela L. Duckett

North Carolina Dance Theatre has changed its name to Charlotte Ballet.

The change is part of a branding initiative to define and clearly communicate the organization, its mission and contributions to the region.

“The transformational shift will enable us to redefine the perceptions of ballet, celebrate our dancers and better connect the company to the community we serve,” said Executive Director Douglas Singleton.

Founded in 1970 by Robert Lindgren, former dean of dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the international touring company also operates a school, which trains 700 students annually. The school’s name will change from North Caroline Dance Theatre School of Dance to Charlotte Ballet Academy.

“Our new name reflects our commitment to being a part of the thriving and vibrant arts community of Charlotte,” said Charlotte Ballet dancer Pete Leo Walker. “We are proud to be a part of this region’s development and to celebrate the city that has been celebrating us for years.”

With the support of corporate partners and members of the board of directors and marketing committee, the organization has been moving through a strategic planning and branding process with key stakeholders, resulting in the decision to change its name.

“This transformation is not about changing what we do – it’s about defining it,” said former New York City Ballet star Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who took over artistic leadership of the company in 1996. “Our dancers are known for their ability to perform classical ballets as well as innovative, contemporary works. No matter how far we push the perceptions of ballet and infuse other dance styles, our performances have always been and will continue to be, rooted in the tradition of ballet.”

So why did the company change its name after more than 40 years?

“We recognized that we are at a compelling moment in our identity and evolution,” said board Chair Tracey Hembrick. “Today, our revenue drivers are more sustainable and predictable than any other time in our 44-year history. This has created the opportunity to re-examine our brand and align long-term, sustainable strategies for growth.”

Last year, the company embarked on a historic three-year partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem, offering annual contracts to two of their school’s top students. The partnership is supported by the annual Step Up event, which raises funds for the recruitment and retention of a diverse roster of the nation’s best ballet talent.

“The growth in audience continues to provide financial stability, and through this stability, all areas of the organization are thriving, expanding, and testing new and innovative initiatives,” Singleton said. 

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