Ballet goes ‘outrageous’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 23, 2014

Catawba College alumnus Richard Steinert ’81, the artistic director of Ballet Pensacola, will be back at his alma mater Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Keppel Auditorium on Catawba’s campus.
He will be accompanied by dancers from Ballet Pensacola and will work with students and faculty in the Catawba Theatre Arts Department in a collaboration entitled, “The Outrageous Dance Project.”
The piece will be composed of two acts and Catawba students will be dancing alongside professional dancers from Ballet Pensacola. Following these pieces will be a devised dance theatre piece conceptualized by directors Beth Homan and Steinert, with the Myth of Icarus at its source.
Steinert, a theatre major at Catawba, is known for his innovative and collaborative style. He has worked in the repertories of companies across the United States, including the Joffrey Ballet and Bob Fosse.
Since his inaugural season as artistic director at Ballet Pensacola in 2007, he has held the attention of the ballet and arts community through a series of critically acclaimed performances and projects directed at broadening the experience of the dance enthusiast. One of the hallmarks of his innovative and collaborative style is the graceful marriage of theatre and dance.
As the director of Ballet Arkansas, Ballet Theatre in Hartford, Conn., and as a founding director of Connecticut Contemporary Ballet Theatre, Steinert has a long creative history with more than 30 original ballets in his repertoire. His full-length “Nutcracker” has been in the national repertoire for more than 20 years, and his productions such as Dracula, Clue, Weisburg Suite and Quakes continue to receive critical acclaim.
Under Steinert’s the artistic direction, Ballet Pensacola has become one of the cultural cornerstones of Pensacola, Fla., committed to the production of both classical ballet works and innovative originals. It also boasts a strong educational program. Current operations include a performing company of 11 professional dancers augmented by talented student dancers from the Ballet Pensacola Academy. The Academy serves more than 300 students each year through its children’s, training and community divisions.
Steinert’s choreographic works have been sanctioned by such funding organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. He has held seats on the Board of Directors of the Midwestern Arts Alliance, SWRBA, the Alcoa National Choreographic awards, and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to a seat on his Arts-In-Education committee.
As a guest instructor at many pre-professional programs, Steinert is a sought-after master teacher throughout the United States. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of West Florida and a Scholar-In-Residence at The Bishops School in La Jolla, California.
He and wife Christine are parents of two adult daughters, Laine and Paige.
For more details about Steinert and Ballet Pensacola, visit

“The Outrageous Dance Project”
7:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday, Feb. 27 and 28, as well as Saturday, March 1.
Keppel Auditorium on Catawba’s campus.
$10 adults, $8 non-Catawba students and senior citizens, or 704-637-4481.