Sarah Joan Smith, from Columbia, SC, began her training at the age of eight in Kiev, Ukraine. Following her graduation from the University of
North Carolina School of the Arts in 2012, she performed as a trainee with Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet II. In 2013, Sarah Joan joined Richmond Ballet’s second company, joined Kansas City Ballet in 2016 as a company member, and then in 2019 joined Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB). She toured to China with Richmond Ballet, Mexico with RWB, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC with Kansas City Ballet. During summers, she also has performed with the Kansas City Dance Festival and the 15th annual National Choreographers Initiative. Sarah Joan now returns to Richmond Ballet for her first season with the main company.
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.
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 Year
First Row: Savannah Cherry, Sage Polak, Emma Block, Gianna DeMassio
Second Row: Sarah Shaw, Gabrielle Goodson, Maia Culbreath, Carrington Martin
Third Row: Madeline Duritza, Seth Mostofsky, Allison Bell, Darius Mealy, Claire Duritza
Richmond Ballet Trainees - First Year
First Row: Kennady Jackson, Ella Warren, Katrina May Thomas
Second Row: Carter Bush, Kendall Taylor, Parker Edmondson, Sheridan Brown, Anna Orzulak, Garrett Janiak
Third Row: Cade Bolz, Gavin Haas, Ephraim Bullock, Daniel Miller
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.