Mid-Michigan’s premiere semi-professional ballet company was founded in 1990 by Founding Artistic Director Barbara Banasikowski Smith. The Greater Lansing Ballet Company has performed internationally, nationally and regionally and is also our community’s doorway to some of the world’s finest ballet dancers and instructors. The company has hosted dancers and instructors from around the world including members of the National Ballet School of Gdansk, Poland and the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St Petersburg, Russia.
Greater Lansing Ballet has participated in three international cross-cultural exchange projects to date. In 1995 the company participated in a two-month exchange with the National Ballet School of Gdansk, Poland. The exchange culminated in both groups performing in Sopot, Poland; Troy, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Lansing, Michigan.
The company’s second exchange occurred in 1997 when the company, in a diplomatic mission, represented Lansing as a Sister City delegation. The company hosted dancers from St. Petersburg, Russia’s renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy and the Mozaica Dance Troupe. Additionally, GLBC performed at the Red Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The 1997 exchange established a relationship with the pedagogue Maria Gribanova who has returned to Lansing annually to teach during Greater Lansing Ballet Company’s summer intensive dance program. Maria Gribanova is now the Dean of Faculty at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. With the support of the Sister City Commission, GLBC hosted an exchange with the Vaganova Ballet Academy in January 2003.
Greater Lansing Ballet Company was privileged to host the 2001 Mid-States Festival in East Lansing. GLBC performed in Regional Dance America’s first national festival in Houston, Texas. Since 1994 GLBC has performed in Kalamazoo, Flint, Ann Arbor, Interlochen Arts Academy, Napersville, Illinois, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kansas City, Kansas, St. Louis, Missouri, Anderson, Indiana.