The Company

About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

One of the most exciting ballet companies in the United States, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has built a legacy of excellence and innovation since its founding in 1969. Its eclectic style and irrepressible energy have been shaped by four distinguished artistic directors over four decades. In the 1980s, former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Patricia Wilde led the Company to new heights and national acclaim with an emphasis on virtuosic technique and works by the modern masters, including her mentor, George Balanchine. Since 1997, the Company has flourished under the direction of Terrence S. Orr, former American Ballet Theatre ballet master and principal dancer. Mr. Orr has created a powerful repertoire, including fresh versions of traditional ballets, original works commissioned to contemporary American music and dramatic works that push the boundaries of ballet as an art form. Through more than 50 performances each year at home and on tour, PBT audiences discover the passion and joy of ballet. 

Mission

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is a community based and internationally recognized professional ballet company that performs traditional and contemporary ballets and develops innovative works. It seeks to perpetuate excellence in the art of ballet through performances, superior training of student dancers and community engagement initiatives. 

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre History 

1969

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is incorporated in affiliation with Point Park College. Mr. Nicolas Petrov is the founding Artistic Director and Mrs. Loti Falk is the founding Board Chair.

1970

PBT offers its first subscription season.

1971

Main stage productions begin at Heinz Hall.

1973

PBT moves into its headquarters on the Boulevard of the Allies. Corps de Ballet includes 40 dancers.

1975

Subscriber base reaches a total of 3,000.

1976

Nicolas Petrov steps down as Artistic Director. PBT becomes fully independent of Point Park College.

1977

Patrick Frantz is named the new Artistic Director. Anthony Bryan is appointed Board Chair. Subscriber base reaches a total of 4,000 and the budget tops $1 million.

1979

PBT School is organized.

1980

Intensive Summer Program is launched. Subscriber base reaches 6,000.

1982

Patricia Wilde, former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, appointed Artistic Director. Wilde responsible for developing the clean, precise technique she was famous for herself in the company, and for commissioning 32 new works during her tenure.

1983

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre agrees to become a constituent of the newly-renovated Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, marking its first partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

1984

After a $2 million capital campaign, PBT moves into its current headquarters on Liberty Avenue in the Strip District.

1986

PBT School launches the Schenley Program for high school students.

1987

Mrs. Falk retires as Executive Director, and is succeeded by Stephen Richard. A stabilization campaign is launched to raise $1.5 million. PBT moves main stage productions from its former home at Heinz Hall to the Benedum Center.

1989

First arts education and outreach programs are offered.

1990

Anthony Bryan steps down as Board Chair and is succeeded by Linda Dickerson.

1991

Steven Libman succeeds Stephen Richard as Executive Director. Stabilization campaign is completed. $1.2 million is invested in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

1993

PBT launches the Campaign for Permanence, an $18 million capital campaign to expand the endowment, fund new works, improve facilities and create a working capital reserve.

1998

Terrence S. Orr succeeds Patricia Wilde as Artistic Director. F. James McCarl is appointed Board Chair.

1999

The number of productions is reduced from six to five.

2002

Hal Waldman is appointed Board Chair. The New Nutcracker campaign is launched to raise $1.2 million for the new production.

2004

Steven Libman steps down as Executive Director. Jeanne Gleason is appointed Board Chair. Endowment tops $9 million.

2005

Robert Petrilli is named Interim Managing Director. Board of Trustees forms an Oversight Committee, conducts an organizational assessment and decides to perform the season to taped music.

2006

Harris N. Ferris is named Executive Director. LeRoy Metz is appointed Board Chair. The Say It With Music campaign is launched to restore the orchestra. The orchestra is returned for two productions of the 2006-2007 season, which opens with Swan Lake to wide acclaim.

2007

PBT’s turn-around plan is successful; the organization completes the fiscal year with an operating surplus. The Board adopts a three-year strategic plan.

2008

Carolyn Byham is appointed Board Chair. PBT presents the North American premiere of Derek Deane’s Alice in Wonderland. PBT ends the fiscal year in the black for the second year in a row.
2012PBT presents the premiere by an American ballet company of internationally-renowned choreographer John Neumeier's A Streetcar Named Desire. PBT becomes only the 4th company in the world to perform this strikingly dramatic piece and only the 3rd American company (joining American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet) to have presented a work by Mr. Neumeier.