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CCM's Mainstage Series presents 'Giselle.'

CCM Dance Celebrates Golden Anniversary

CCM Dance at 50

CCM's Department of Dance marks a major milestone this spring as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. In 1964 CCM’s dance program took root in an idea that was rarely attempted in dance education: a ballet-centered curriculum, which was also professionally oriented, with modern dance as a secondary component.

A proposed curriculum for a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance received approval that same year, followed by approval of a master of arts curriculum in 1965.

Cincinnati Ballet, a nationally recognized professional company, evolved as the official school for CCM Dance. It wasn’t until the late 80’s that the two parted ways and CCM Dance reinvented itself.

The true history of CCM Dance dates back even further to 1924 when Ella Daganova, a member of the famed Anna Pavlova company, taught the first ballet class in the Cincinnati Conservatory of Musicʼs Preparatory Division. With the hiring of ballet instructor Nancy Brown Bauer in 1927, CCM became the country’s first major music school to offer regular training in dance, with an emphasis on the academic tradition of classical ballet.

CCM's Mainstage Series presents 'Giselle.'

Now 50 years after its founding in 1964, the CCM Department of Dance's enrollment totals 59 undergraduates—a great leap from just five dance majors in 1965. CCM Dance has persevered and maintained its professional focus, uncovering new opportunities for its students to experience the profession’s rigorous challenges.

The program has established a reputation for seriousness of purpose, and has continued to develop curriculum to prepare aspiring dance majors in the twenty-first century for professional careers while simultaneously seeking accredited higher education.

Students of CCM Dance have gone on to perform as members in numerous dance companies including: Atlanta Ballet, Austin Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, Ballet West, Ballet Theater of Annapolis, Ballet Long Island, Ballet Omaha, Ballet Quad Cities, Bejart Ballet (Belgium), Cincinnati Ballet, Channel Islands Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Dallas Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Georgia Ballet, Harkness Ballet Company, Joffrey Ballet, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Kentucky Ballet Theater, Lewitzky Dance Company, Lexington Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Nashville Ballet, New York City Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Vienna Opera State Ballet and more. 

Two Cincinnati benefactors, Patricia A. and J. Ralph Corbett, recognized the merit of CCM’s blossoming Dance program, and created scholarships and provided funds for a spacious state-of-the-art dance wing. 

Dance at 50 - Opening celebration

In celebration of this monumental anniversary, CCM Dance opened this season with a concert featuring George Balanchine’s beloved Serenade, along with “The Kingdom of the Shades” from Petipa’s La Bayadère , as well as an exhilarating restaging of Cincinnati Ballet Choreographer and Artistic Director Victoria Morgan’s Unseen.

The anniversary celebration culminates this spring with a lavish production of the romantic ballet Giselle. Running April 17-19, Giselle marks the first time that a dance production has ever been included in CCM's acclaimed Mainstage Series! The production is directed by CCM's Corbett-McLain Distinguished Chair in Dance Jiang Qi and will featured live accompaniment by the CCM Concert Orchestra under the direction of Professor of Music Annunziata Tomaro.

For more information on the 50th anniversary celebration production of Giselle, please visit

 - Story by Janet Light