Corvallis Academy of Ballet began as the Corvallis Arts Center School of Ballet, founded by Jutta Hardison in 1984-1985. Located in the basement of the Corvallis Arts Center, Jutta Hardison taught ALL of the Creative Movement, Preballet, and beginner and intermediate ballet classes by herself (sometimes hiring middle school and high school age ballet students to help her with the larger classes) until about 1990, when she met Catherine Levi. Before they met, the Corvallis Arts Center School of Ballet did not offer higher levels of ballet technique beyond the Ballet III/IV level (prepointe and beginner pointe). Catherine Levi began teaching advanced ballet technique and pointe work classes in a large studio at OddFellows Hall in downtown Corvallis. Students in these classes used a roll-out marley dance floor, which had to be rolled-out at the start of classes each day and rolled up again at the end of classes each day! These new advanced-level classes offered by the Corvallis Arts Center School of Ballet eventually led to the creation of Willamette Apprentice Ballet, a pre-professional student company that eventually became the performing branch of the Corvallis Academy of Ballet in 1995, and then achieved its 501(c)3 non-profit arts/education status in 2007. The Corvallis Arts Center School of Ballet became the Corvallis Academy of Ballet when Jutta Hardison and Catherine Levi moved all of their classes into our beautiful studios at 108 NW Second Street in downtown Corvallis.
The Corvallis Academy of Ballet offers training in the Russian (Vaganova) Method of classical ballet technique. Students who begin their studies with CAB will learn the important ballet fundamentals of body alignment, posture, balance, classical ballet vocabulary, and the physical, mental, and emotional discipline that is neccessary for success in this demanding art form and many other career paths. In class sizes of 16 students or less, each student receives individual, personalized attention, to ensure that they learn the proper positioning and break-down behind both simple and complex movements; building upon the foundation established in the beginner and intermediate levels as they continue into the advanced levels. Once the basic fundamentals of classical ballet technique have been achieved, students may supplement their training with classes in Character Dance, Pointe/Variations, Partnering, Modern Dance, Chinese Dance, and Pre-Professional performance experiences, all under the watchful and trained guidance of the academy’s professional instructors.
Dozens of advanced students from the Academy have continued their studies during the summer months by being accepted at some of the most prestigious summer workshops in the country. The list includes the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis School (American Ballet Theatre), The Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Austin, Boston Ballet, The Bolshoi Academy at Vail, Colorado Ballet, Joffrey Ballet (NY), Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C., School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Orlando Ballet Academy, Miami City Ballet, and the Whitman College Ballet Intensive.
In addition, several graduates of CAB have earned degrees from renowned college dance departments such as the University of Utah and Butler University, and CAB graduates have danced and/or currently are dancing professionally with Minnesota Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Austin, Eugene Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, American Midwest Ballet, Ballet Quad Cities, Rochester City Ballet, Ballet Vero Beach, Ballet Victoria, Agnieshka Laska Dancers, Paradosi Ballet (Tacoma, WA) and Kim Robards Dance Company (Denver, CO).