Celeste Gaiera’s love for dance began as a young child in New Zealand where she grew up and trained in many different styles of dance. After arriving in the United States, she joined a pre-professional ballet training program in Oregon, after which she moved to San Francisco to further her dance training. She then was selected to join Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s Graduate Program on scholarship, where she enjoyed many opportunities performing with the company. She joined Texas Ballet Theater as a company member in 2017, under Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., performing a variety of both classical and contemporary ballets during her four years there. Celeste attended Nederlands Dans Theater in 2016, where she performed works by Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Mengahn Lou, and Crystal Pite. Celeste was selected to attend the National Choreographers Initiative in 2022. Celeste is thrilled to be back for her third season with Richmond Ballet.
Dance Education & Training
Marian McDermott School of Dance New Zealand, Portland Festival Ballet, Marin Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Professional Experience / Career Highlights
Company member with Texas Ballet Theater 2017-2021
What inspired you to become a professional dancer?
My love for dance. I still remember the moment when I was eleven years old, in ballet class, and the most enlivening passionate feeling came over me. I had always had a deep passion for dance but in that moment I knew I needed to follow that feeling and I’ve never looked back!
What brought you to Richmond Ballet?
I first worked with Jerri Kumery at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2019, which initially sparked my interest in the Richmond Ballet. I believe this company is extremely special because of the integrity and passion every member in the organization embodies. It’s wonderful to work with people who are extremely talented dancers and wonderful people as well!
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing off-stage?
I love singing, spending time with my friends, the outdoors, and somatic movement healing!
Our professional company is made up of elite dancers from around the world who have helped earn Richmond Ballet critical acclaim. Dance/USA says Richmond Ballet is “a jewel among U.S. dance companies,” while The Washington Post calls it “a company to which dance fans everywhere ought to pay attention.” We’re proud of all that our company dancers bring to Richmond, and the world.
The Richmond Ballet Studio Company is the highest level of School of Richmond Ballet, featuring exceptional student dancers from across the country. The eleven-month program includes a diverse range of performance opportunities such as Lecture Demonstrations, Richmond Ballet Company mainstage performances, and the end-of-season showcase with the Richmond Ballet Trainees.
Second Row (L-R):
Katrina May Thomas
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Founded in 1993, the nationally recognized Richmond Ballet Trainee Program offers select advanced students a transitional experience to bridge the gap between the academic ballet setting and the world of professional dance. The Richmond Ballet Trainee Program is one of the few in this country that enables aspiring dancers to pursue formal dance training and gain valuable performance experience with a professional company.
First Row (L-R):
Second Row (L-R):
Third Row (L-R):
The Artistic Staff at Richmond Ballet is made up of international professionals who each bring incredible talent, expertise, and credentials to their respective roles. With impressive backgrounds and world experience, they offer a unique perspective that has helped shape our organization over the years. For over 40 years, Stoner Winslett has served as the founding Artistic Director of Richmond Ballet, the first major company of professional dancers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is one of the longest tenured artistic directors of a major ballet company and one of the country’s few female artistic directors. In June 2020, acclaimed choreographer Ma Cong joined Richmond Ballet as its first ever Associate Artistic Director.