hen the Springfield Ballet was founded in 1976, it was started as an organization to bring in professional ballet performing groups to the Queen City and has since transformed into a successful ballet school in its own right.
“We have two season productions every year at the Landers Theatre which is where we are now and each year in December we do our version of "The Nutcracker," which has become a family tradition,” said Ashley Paige Romines, artistic and school director at Springfield Ballet.
For both of the Springfield Ballet’s most recent productions, "The Nutcracker" and "Alice in Wonderland," Romines says over 100 people were cast in each. “We’re excited to have such a community that is supportive of our productions that want to be involved with it,” she said.
Twelve-year-old Emma Grauberger is a four-year student of the Springfield Ballet and performed in both productions this season. She pulled double duty in "Alice in Wonderland," appearing as a sunflower and a heart of cards.
Emma Grauberger performs with the Springfield Ballet at the Landers Theatre in Springfield, Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Miles Boyer Photography.)
“Being able to perform in front of people is really fun,” said Emma. “Before you start, it’s a little scary, but when you're up there and just dancing it’s just really fun and then at the end when they applaud for you it makes you feel really proud of your performance.”
Emma says she plans on being active in ballet at least through high school and her main goal is to get through pointe.
“Springfield Ballet has impacted so many children in our community,” said Romines. “We do work hard and we’re serious, but you get lifelong friends through the classes and you really get to hone in on skills and your body and develop really good lifelong skills for athleticism.”
Springfield Ballet performs "Alice in Wonderland" at the Landers Theatre in Springfield, Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Miles Boyer Photography.)
Romines says down the road, she’d love to see the ballet grow into offering more productions than the two-a-year that are currently produced and develop into a school that is more known throughout the midwest.
“Having Springfield Ballet in the community is important because we are the organization that brings the ballet production to the community,” Romines added. “I encourage anyone who is in the Springfield area to come and visit the ballet as well as the other great art organizations in the city.”
Cover photo courtesy of Miles Boyer Photography.