Artistic Director - Dayton Ballet

Arts Consulting Group

Dayton, OH 45402




Feb 08, 2023

Founded in 1937, the Dayton Ballet is the second-oldest ballet company in the United States. Celebrating its 85th Anniversary season 2022-23, the Ballet produces four to five performances each season which highlight new, innovative works alongside ballet classics such as Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake. Dayton Ballet makes its home in the 1,139-seat Victoria Theatre and the 2,300-seat majestic Benjamin and Miriam Schuster Performing Arts Center.

In 2012, the Dayton Opera, Dayton Ballet, and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra forged a groundbreaking and innovative merger into one organization, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA). The only merger of all three art forms in the nation, the DPAA serves the Dayton region as a single, integrated organization working together toward a shared purpose. That shared purpose is to inspire as many people as possible to fall in love with the performing arts. Its fundamental conviction is that the arts are for everyone. Dayton Ballet is crucial to achieving that shared purpose.

The 2022-2023 Dayton Ballet season features The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Nutcracker, a Diamond Anniversary celebration, and Peter Pan. The 2023-24 season will feature Dracula: Bloodlines, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, and a repertory show. While performances are the Ballet’s most high-profile events, the commitment to dance education, training, and outreach remains central to the organization and allows the Ballet to develop future audiences. Before there was the Dayton Ballet, there was the Dayton Ballet School, founded in 1927 by sisters Josephine and Hermene Schwarz. Presently, there are 200 students and includes Dayton Ballet II, a pre-professional training and performance company with senior and junior levels. Dayton Ballet has a long-standing association with Wright State University Dance Department. In addition, through the generosity of a sponsor, the DPAA offers five-dollar tickets to almost every performance, a program that has yielded substantially younger and more diverse audiences for all three art forms. Special funding provides free access to ballet classes for children from lower-income families and military families. In total, all performances through the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance reach an audience of more than 90,000 people in peak years, and the rich arts education programming serves over 65,000 schoolchildren in 150 schools in southwest Ohio.

The DPAA has a 31-member board of trustees led by Chair Ed Tomme, and Patrick J. Nugent serves as President and CEO. For the year ending June 30, 2022, the DPAA reported a total revenue of $8.4 million, with $6.6 million from contributions and grants (including federal recovery aid) and $1.7 million from program services. Total expenses were $7.4 million. The 2023-2024 budget is projected to have $8.4 million in expenses and revenues. The Dayton Ballet has nineteen professional dancers and an artistic budget of $1.3 million. In the fall of 2022, ballet audiences returned in record numbers, selling out three performances of a brand-new Halloween-themed story ballet and setting all-time revenue records for the Nutcracker.

Known as the Gem City and the birthplace of aviation, Dayton is an urban city with a dense suburban feel. Located in Montgomery County, which has a population of 782,200, it is rich in history and innovation as the sixth largest city in Ohio with a population of 126,000. Dayton has been voted the 67th best city to live in the US and the 4th most livable city in Ohio. Acclaimed for inventions, academics, and flight, it ranks among the top 20 metropolitan areas for recent college graduates. As an aerospace innovation hub, its proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the National Museum of the US Air Force provides grounds for the prominence of technology and aviation.

Dayton houses a populace with a diverse and inclusive arts and culture scene. The famed, world-class 388,000-square-foot Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center opened in 2003 and represents the cornerstone of Downtown Dayton’s renaissance and revitalization and hosts top musicals throughout the year presented by Dayton Live (a separate organization). The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company which celebrates dance rooted in the African-American experience, and The Human Race Theatre Company are both led entirely by women. The four seasons of Dayton offer residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the 14,000 acres and 25 different facilities of Five Rivers Metro Parks year-round through educational programming. The region boasts the largest network of paved bicycle trails in the nation, over 300 miles’ worth. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy baseball with the Dayton Dragons, Gem City Roller Derby, and seven golf courses.

Dayton sits in close proximity to 19 institutions of higher education. Wright State University (with its Raiders basketball team) and the University of Dayton (with the Dayton Flyers basketball team) Sinclair College are the closest. Central State University and Wilberforce University, both historically black institutions, are nearby and have partnerships with DPAA. Ranking 19th for access to healthcare, Dayton is also home to Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and three major health systems. Montgomery County encompasses 16 public school districts with 56 private schools and 22 public charter schools in Dayton and 27 public schools in the city serving more than 29,000 students.


Position Summary
Reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Artistic Director of Dayton Ballet will provide inspirational leadership, creating a clear artistic vision that respects the legacy of ballet and DPAA’s history while imagining an exciting future in the evolving world of dance. They will curate a robust mix of dance programming that grows and diversifies audiences. They will recruit and mentor highly skilled dancers and create deep and meaningful community partnerships with local organizations. As a key member of the Artistic Leadership Team (ALT), consisting of senior artistic and administrative staff, the Artistic Director will ensure that ballet programming is integrated with that of the other art forms, fulfill DPAA’s shared purpose, nurture loyal audiences, and appeal to new lovers of ballet. The ALT is advised by a committee of board and community members. Close collaboration with the Artistic Directors of the Dayton Philharmonic and the Dayton Opera presents exciting and unique artistic opportunities for the Ballet. As the public face of the Dayton Ballet, the Artistic Director will engage with audiences, donors, funders, students, the media, and other community members, amplifying the company’s reputation and brand locally, nationally, and internationally. Committed to making ballet accessible to people from all backgrounds, the Artistic Director will be at the forefront of equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, ensuring that Dayton Ballet is a place where everyone feels welcome and a sense of belonging.

Role and Responsibilities
Artistic Curation and Leadership
* Conceive and develop Dayton Ballet’s artistic vision, clearly articulating that vision to dancers, staff, board, funders, and audiences.
* Curate an exciting and balanced mix of programming that includes traditional ballets alongside contemporary works, including creations by women and individuals that are Black, Indigenous, Latin, Hispanic, Asian, and from other segments of the global majority frequently underrepresented or marginalized in the dance or fine and performing arts spheres.
* Conduct auditions and dancer evaluations, mentoring and nurturing dancers, and directing, teaching, and supervising classes and rehearsals, ensuring that dancers maintain a high standard of artistic excellence.
* Embrace innovative, creative, and accessible digital approaches to dance making and performance.
* Increase the presence of Dayton Ballet II dancers in performances alongside the main company.
* Serve as the animating artistic and pedagogical presence in the Dayton Ballet School to actualize the school’s enormous potential, and inspiring students at all levels to pursue their love of dance as far as their interest and ability will take them.
* Embrace other artistic curation and leadership activities, as required.

Community Engagement, Fundraising, and External Relations
* Collaborate with other local arts organizations, deepening and creating partnerships in order to expand community engagement through the Dayton and Ohio region.
* Partner with the development department, cultivating and nurturing relationships with donors and sponsors to support increased contributed revenue.
* Serve as a public spokesperson for Dayton Ballet, attending cultural events throughout the community and engaging with a wide variety of community members and the press in order to build visibility for the organization.
* Work with VP of Learning and Community Engagement to develop new programs, workshops, and masterclasses that engage young dancers in order to support a pipeline from students to professionals.
* Embrace other community engagement and external relations activities, as required.

Organizational Collaboration
* Partner with DPAA’s President and CEO and other Artistic Directors, unifying the artistic mission with organizational priorities, including a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.
* Develop artistic budgets alongside the VP for Artistic Planning and Operations and the Chief Financial Officer, ensuring that all artistic and programming decisions are made within clear financial parameters.
* Support the marketing department in ensuring that dancers are promoted in a way that aligns with the company’s artistic vision.
* Work with the VP for Marketing and Audience Development on expanding the Ballet’s already-strong audiences, with a focus on younger people, communities of color, and others who may not yet feel at home in the Ballet audience or School.
* Liaise with other members of the Artistic Leadership Team in season planning.
* Unite with the VP for Learning and Community Engagement on pedagogy, teacher standards and training, the artistic vision of the Dayton Ballet School, integration of students into performances, and meeting the Ballet School’s enormous potential.
* Foster a positive culture and work environment across all organizational levels that welcomes all voices, creates safe spaces for conversation, and values equity, diversity, inclusion, and access.
* Embrace other organizational collaboration activities, as required.


Traits and Characteristics
The Artistic Director of Dayton Ballet will be an inspirational and visionary leader who will serve as the public face of the company. With experience rooted in classical ballet yet able to think beyond its boundaries, they will be a community-centered individual who creates and develops deep community relationships. With a growth-mindset, the Artistic Director will have a curious and adventurous outlook, who is aware of trends and conversations within the art form. As a charismatic and collaborative team-player, the Artistic Director will develop strong relationships with staff, board members, donors, and other stakeholders. They will be empathetic and approachable, and at the forefront of advancing the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all artistic decisions. They will share the DPAA’s commitment to pervasive inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Other key competencies include:

  • Personal Accountability and Diplomacy – The ability to be answerable for personal actions, while effectively and tactfully handling difficult or sensitive issues.
  • Leadership and Teamwork – The capacity to organize and influence people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction, as well as cooperating with others to meet objectives.
  • Planning, Organizing, and Project Management – The dexterity to establish courses of action to ensure that work is completed effectively, as well as identifying and overseeing all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results.
  • Flexibility – The flexibility to readily modify, respond, and adapt to change with minimal resistance.

Dayton Ballet does not require any specific educational credentials or a set number of years of experience. Qualified candidates should demonstrate skills in artistic leadership, artistic development, programming, community engagement, and building relationships with donors, audience-members, and the media. It is desirable that the successful candidate be an active and successful choreographer, and they must possess a deep understanding of ballet and have wide connections within the dance field. A commitment to dance education is required and exceptional verbal presentation skills are expected.

Compensation and Benefits
Dayton Ballet provides a competitive and equitable compensation package, with an annual salary range between $120,000 and $150,000. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; health, long-term disability, and life insurances; and a voluntary 403(b) retirement plan with an employer match.