About Rochester City Ballet

David Palmer leads Rochester City Ballet, a professional company of 16 dancers, as its Artistic Director. Established in 1987 by its founding artistic director Timothy M. Draper, the company presents a broad range of classical and contemporary work at the Nazareth College Arts Center and Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. 

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Many RCB productions are presented with live music or through artistic collaboration with a vibrant array of musicians and ensembles such as the Cello Divas, Stephen Kennedy, Deborah Fox, Hans Davidsson and the Eastman Rochester Orchestra Initiative, Arabesque Winds, The Ying Quartet, pianist Elinor Freer, and Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO.)

In July 2010, RCB presented its first New York City season. In July 2013, RCB was selected to perform in the Inside/Out performance series at the renowned Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts. The company of 20 dancers lives in Rochester and almost half joined the company from our partner school, the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education.

After a career as a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet and The Joffrey, Palmer has created more than 40 ballets for companies including San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Miami City Ballet and others. A winner of the Choo-San Goh Award for choreography, he also led his own company Maximum Dance Company for nine years. Palmer, most recently Associate Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet, became a choreographer after an international career.

Since the company offered its first professional contract in 2003, Jamey Leverett served as Artistic Director. During her tenure, Leverett choreographed more than 20 new works including Images, a commission from the Rochester Philaharmonic Orchestra to music by Jeff Tyzik as well as the critically acclaimed full-length ballet The Blood Countess. Leverett announced in the Spring of 2015 she would step down to focus on choreography and training students in her role as Artistic Director of The Draper Center. The board launched a national search and Palmer joined the company in November that same year.

RCB has invited celebrated guest choreographers like Inma Rubio Thomas, Patrick Corbin, Daniel Gwirtzman, Bill Evans, and Edward Ellison to set work on the company. RCB also has performed American masterworks by George Balanchine (Serenade) and Gerald Arpino (Valentine).

RCB is committed to enriching the quality of life in the greater Rochester community. In May 2015, it held its first annual Sensory-Friendly performance for children on the Autism Spectrum. For numerous years, the company has performed for the entire second grade of the Rochester City School District, as well as taking dance into the schools through interactive performances and creative problem solving workshops.

RCB donates thousands of tickets to underserved youth, affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club, Sojourner House, Wilson Commencement Park, East House, and Hillside Children’s Center. Additionally, RCB conducts outreach activities at Barnes and Noble, Strong National Museum of Play, Stepping Stones Learning Center, and public libraries in Monroe and Ontario counties. RCB’s In Studio Series has exposed community members to an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and an opportunity to experience dance at a low cost.

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