State Street Ballet: About


Company History

State Street Ballet is a vibrant, innovative professional ballet company based in Santa Barbara, California.  Founded in 1994 by former American Ballet Theatre dancer Rodney Gustafson, the company combines the discipline and timeless elegance of classical ballet technique with updated, cutting-edge choreography, producing original works that satisfy today's diverse audiences. State Street Ballet is applauded for the intelligently designed, versatile performances that have become the company's trademark, becoming a leader for dance in Santa Barbara. Housed in the beautifully renovated Gail Towbes Center for Dance, and a resident company at the majestic Granada Theatre, this small start-up has evolved into a globally recognized, widely praised, and highly sought-after performing arts organization.

By melding familiar storylines with exciting dance movement and multi-media visuals, State Street Ballet gives each tale a modern, passionate and unique twist. This inspiring mix of movement, music, lighting, and acting is successfully reaching new audiences, introducing dance as mainstream entertainment while honoring classical styles and traditions. As a fully professional ballet company with well-known credentials, State Street Ballet attracts dancers from around the world and collaborates with top-notch choreographers and arts organizations to produce new works that showcase the company’s signature elegant-but-edgy tone.

Choreographers whose works have been performed by State Street Ballet include Robert Battle, Autumn Eckman, Kevin Jenkins, Gina Patterson, Peter Pucci, Margo Sappington, Kassandra Taylor Newberry, Josie Walsh, and Edgar Zendejas, as well as the legendary Agnes de Mille and George Balanchine. Innovative new works draw from a team of visionary resident choreographers including Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson (The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet), San Francisco-based choreographer and Emmy Award winner Robert Sund (Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Taming of the Shrew) and renowned New York-based choreographer William Soleau (Carmen, An American TangoCarmina Burana).

State Street Ballet values artistic collaborations and arts outreach opportunities, and is committed to enriching every community we perform in, large or small. Inspiring future generations of performing artists, musicians, and creative minds is of the utmost importance to the company, and reaching a broader, more diverse audience is consistently a priority. Successful collaborations with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, Music Academy of the West, and the Santa Barbara Choral Society have become very popular and much-anticipated Santa Barbara traditions.

State Street Ballet tours both nationally and internationally, boasting a 90% rebooking rate, rave reviews, and standing ovations from coast to coast. In 2015, the company embarked on a nine-week tour throughout China, performing Beauty and the Beast in 25 different cities, and the summer of 2017 brought the company an invitation to perform at the International Ballet Gala in Santiago, Chile. Touring productions currently include Carmen, The Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, and Cinderella.