Sarah Joan Smith, from Columbia, SC, began her dance training at age eight in Kiev, Ukraine. She continued her training in the US in Columbia, SC until age sixteen when she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduation in 2012, she joined Boston Ballet as a trainee and in 2013, Sarah Joan joined Richmond Ballet’s second company. During her time at Richmond Ballet, she participated in the main company’s tour to China. Sarah Joan joined Kansas City Ballet in 2016 and then joined Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 2019 with whom she frequently toured internationally and even choreographed her first work. In the summers, she performed with Kansas City Dance festival and the National Choreographers Initiative in Irvine, California. Sarah Joan begins her second season as a company member with Richmond Ballet.
Education & Training
High school, graduate of University of North Carolina, and Boston Ballet trainee
Professional Experience / Career Highlights
Professional experience includes RBII form 2013-2016, company member at Kansas City Ballet from 2016-2019, corps de ballet at Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 2019-2021. Highlights include performing William Forsythe’s In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated, touring to China with Richmond Ballet and Mexico with RWB.
What do you enjoy about being part of Richmond Ballet?
The community and joy that the dancers here have!
What do you like about living in Richmond?
I love the architecture, the greenery, and the restaurants!
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing off-stage?
I love cooking, baking, hiking, and traveling!
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.
Richmond Ballet II, our second performing company, is comprised of talented young dancers between the ages of 18 and 22. RBII members perform their own diverse repertoire on tour across the Commonwealth as well as alongside the main company in mainstage productions.
RBII Apprentices are the top level of the Pre-Professional Division of School of Richmond Ballet. They receive an intensive training program, full scholarship, living stipend and are the bridge to RBII, our second company. Their time is divided between RBII rehearsals and the Trainee Program, performing in Lecture Demonstrations, Richmond Ballet Company mainstage performances and the end of season showcase performance with RB Trainees.
Richmond Ballet II Apprentices
Seated (L-R): Gianna DeMassio, Rachel Nash
Standing (L-R): Michael Duncan, Hannah MacLeod, Darius Mealy
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.
Richmond Ballet Trainees - Second and Third Years
First Row- Senior Trainees: Kennady Jackson, Sarah Shaw, Gabrielle Goodson
Second Row: Katrina May Thomas, Sheridan Brown, Anna Orzulak, Parker Edmondson, Kendall Taylor, Ella Warren
Third Row: Carter Bush, Gavin Haas, Cade Bolz, Garrett Janiak, Daniel Miller
Richmond Ballet Trainees - First Year
First Row: Anne Pearson Gremer, Kristen Soyars Green, Isabella Vanik
Second Row: Gillian Carr, BriAnna Binzak, Savannah Wyatt, Claire Kehoe, Alexis Dawson, Kinsey Phelps, Chelsea Hacking
Third Row: Kiera Luci Dulog, Gillian Grossman, Oliver Gardner, Sydney Stutzman, Benjamin Piner
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.