The Denver Ballet Guild is an all-volunteer organization that supports dance arts in the Colorado community for more than 35 years. We directly impact the community through arts outreach programs that benefit at-risk Colorado youth. Additionally, we foster creative youth dance expression and excellence across the state.
We need your help to support the following DBG programs:
• The DBG touches the lives of more than 6,000 at-risk school children annually with Showcase of Dance. These children have the opportunity to see performances by local companies, such as the Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson and other professional dancers. The Guild spends more than $28,000 a year for this program.
• We sponsor the Young Dancers competition, one of the oldest dance competitions nationally. Colorado amateur dancers work with a nationally-known master ballet teacher and compete for financial awards totaling $20,000 annually.
• Through In-School Programs, the DBG works with professional dance companies to bring dance education to individual Metro Denver schools. More than 4,000 students see these performances annually.
Our Community Enrichment program provided grants to dance companies totaling more than $85,000 in 2017 to encourage development and innovation. Past recipients include: Wonderbound, Zikr Dance Ensemble, Boulder Ballet, Kim Robards Dance, Colorado Ballet & 3rd Law Dance, just to name a few.
• The DBG sponsors two youth dance arts appreciation programs - Les Cygnettes (middle school girls) and Les Demoiselles (high school girls) from more than 25 Metro Denver Schools, who gather together to attend dance performance and special theater events.
• We host and sponsor Le Bal de Ballet, a longtime Denver tradition spanning 50 years, and the DBG's signature fundraising event.
Since 1979, The Denver Ballet Guild has been a cultural force in Denver pursuing its mission to support dance as a performing art. The Guild was established to "stimulate interest in ballet and other forms of dance; to promote dance at all levels; to conduct dance education; to develop audiences; to conduct fundraising activities to support and promote dance; and disburse funds for such purposes."
The Denver Ballet Guild grew out of early efforts in 1958 to produce outstanding ballets in the Denver area as the Denver Civic Ballet Association. In an attempt to bring a new level of dance to the Rocky Mountains, Denver Ballet Academy and Denver Civic Ballet were added to the Association in 1969. Nutcracker performances with the Denver Symphony Orchestra in the Auditorium Theater became a Christmastime tradition.
With the Nutcracker a success and a 1969 spring production in the works, Denver Civic Ballet Guild organized Les Cygnettes for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls. The goal was to stimulate interest in and an appreciation of ballet in order to maintain an audience for dance. By 1974, the influence of ballet had expanded and reached the schools. The Guild had a group of ten dancers perform every Friday in the Denver public schools.
To raise money to support the dance outreach program, Le Bal de Ballet was started in 1969. The program introduced young ladies from Denver area families to Denver society. In 1978-79, the Denver Civic Ballet went through a re-organization. Many of the Association members joined the newly formed Denver Ballet Guild and continued the many traditions of the Association.
Today, the Denver Ballet Guild still carries out the great traditions of the original organization. In 1988, young men were added to the Le Bal de Ballet program as Young Men of Distinction. The young men and women in the program are a representation of the outstanding young people from the Denver area community. Le Bal de Ballet is the major fundraiser for the Denver Ballet Guild.
The Denver Ballet Guild established an Endowment Trust in 1992 for the purpose of supplementing the annual fundraising efforts, thereby perpetuating the objectives of the Guild. The Endowment Trust has shown continued growth since its formation.
The Denver Ballet Guild school programs provide an in- school dance experience for Denver area children. Denver area dance companies perform in the school for a small stipend. In 1997, the Guild created the Showcase of Dance. This program provides an in-theater experience for Denver area school children. The program spans three days with two shows daily. This allows thousands of children the opportunity to visit a theater and have an educational dance experience.
The Young Dancers Competition was begun in 1981, under the guidance of the Guild's first president, Florence Ruston. The event offers young students the opportunity to further their dance education, to perform in a public forum and to be honored for their dance achievements. Students compete for scholarships.
Denver Symphony Debs became a part of the Denver Ballet Guild in 2005. Young ladies in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades have an opportunity to attend cultural and theatrical events annually. The name Denver Symphony Debs was changed to Les Demoiselles in 2007. Together, both the Les Cygnettes and Les Demoiselles programs provide a seamless continuum for young ladies wishing to experience cultural and theatrical events throughout the year.
The Guild also disburses grants to Denver area dance companies. The Community Enrichment Committee reviews and allocates funding annually to dance companies that have submitted grant requests. The funds disbursed under the grants program are to be used for the production of a show. The goal is to increase both the quality of the production and the size of audiences.
Funds are raised by or donated to the Guild to continue these great traditions and to support the mission of the guild. Through the tireless work of 600 Denver Ballet Guild members, children benefit from the various programs of the Guild, which include dance scholarships, in-school programs and in-theater experiences.
"At Greenlee, we encourage students and staff to embrace our 3 Pillars: Healthy, Enlightened, and Expressive. Our participation in Showcase of Dance is so special because it enlightens our students and staff by exposing us to different forms of art. We also get to discuss how dance is a form of expression, another one of our student pillars. The Showcase of Dance really nicely aligns to our goals of developing the whole student and honoring the many talents and interests that our students have." Meg Kirby, Greenlee Elementary school teacher.
"I am so excited and overwhelmed by the honor of first place in category four; the Florence Ruston Award and the President's Award. I do not take this recognition lightly. I am so grateful for your encouragement and support as I pursue my dance career." Hailee Mae Wilson YDC award recipient 2017
"The Young Dancers Competition was incredible!! It was a totally different perspective from the dancer's side. This event is HUGE in the dance world. It is the premier competition in Denver. The prize money is what allows many of the dancers to continue classes and participate in summer intensive programs. Dance is expensive between classes, replacing pointe shoes every couple months, tutu, costumes, etc. "
"Bridget was accepted into the Pre-Professional Dance program at Belliston Ballet. She will have 17.5 hours of dance classes each week plus rehearsals. Dancers at her studio have won many of the top Guild prizes. Even parents of past winners come back to watch the competition. I left the competition feeling so proud to be a part of the Ballet Guild."