New Orleans Ballet and Dance
Like all of the other major performing arts, dance has a deep-rooted tradition in New Orleans. Long before professional dance companies were established in the United States, operas and stage productions featured dancers in colorful costumes, performing their graceful movement art to the accompaniment of classical music and what would later come known to be "show tunes."
In the days of the Old French Opera House, from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, ballet was very much a part of some of the classic French operas, as well as the epic operas in the Wagnerian German repertoire. On board the steam-powered riverboats that once plied the waters of the Mississippi River, dance revues, to the accompaniment of rollicking barrelhouse pianos, were very much a part of the live entertainment of those traveling up and down the river. Burlesque, once considered risqué and vulgar to the more cultured, also has a long, colorful history in New Orleans, and is now recognized as the performance art form it actually is.
Today New Orleans is home to the Marigny Opera Ballet, a professional, resident dance company that offers a full season of performances along with the New Orleans Ballet Association, which presents some of the world’s finest modern and contemporary dance companies. The New Orleans Ballet Theatre presents an annual summer concert, and the Delta Festival Ballet stages an annual production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker around the Christmas holidays.
Be sure to check out our events calendar for the latest offerings in the city.