Artistic Director - Nevada Ballet Theatre, Las Vegas, NV

Swan Lake Swan Lake Photo by Virginia Trudeau

Applications are now closed for this position.  

Now celebrating its 45th Season, Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) continues to bring the Las Vegas community closer to the art form of dance.   With professional company productions at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, where it is the Resident Ballet Company, an affiliated Ballet and Dance Academy, as well as its numerous Education and Outreach initiatives, NBT is at the heart of Las Vegas’ cultural landscape.

The vision of a professional ballet company based in Las Vegas was brought to life in 1972 when Vassili Sulich, then the principal dancer with the Tropicana Hotel and Casino's famed Folies Bergere, gathered a group of ballet dancers from the Las Vegas Boulevard entertainment industry and presented a series of dance concerts to an enthusiastic public at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) Performing Arts Center's Judy Bayley Theatre. The overwhelmingly positive reception of the community, combined with the support of UNLV, was such that within two years a volunteer board was established --headed by founding chairman and former dancer, Nancy Houssels. And during the next 25 years, a professional ballet company emerged. 

In 1979, the company established an affiliated Academy in order to provide a premiere dance education to young people in Southern Nevada and groom the next generation of dance enthusiasts. After the organization received a major grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and a donation of land from The Howard Hughes Corporation, plans for a world-class home for the Company began. The Academy is now regarded as one of the top ballet and dance training centers in the city and offers a variety of classes for children through adult. In 1980, the Company expanded its offerings by sharing the art form of dance to students in underserved populations within Clark County. Now in its 25th Season, Future Dance is one of the longest running Education and Outreach programs in the state and provides scholarship opportunities to over 400 students a year. With all of its Education and Outreach initiatives combined, NBT reaches over 20,000 students a year. 

NBT’s long-awaited residency at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts became a reality on May 5, 2012, during the Company’s 40th Anniversary. That same year, NBT presented a brand-new and original production of The Nutcracker, complete with new sets, costumes and full orchestra. Choreographed by James Canfield, it is the first production of its kind built for the Reynolds Hall stage. 

With a solid focus on dance education, a versatile Company of professional dancers and a growing repertoire, NBT stands as one of the oldest performing arts organizations and one of the city’s most beloved community treasures. Consistently seeking to engage new audiences and cultivate its identity within the national arts scene, unique dance experiences like A Choreographers’ Showcase (ACS), NBT’s annual collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, create avenues of growth for local artists while providing the community with new and original dance works each year. Commanding critical acclaim, ACS embarks upon its 10th anniversary this fall.

With an eye on the future, NBT looks ahead to its 50th Anniversary and the continuation of presenting outstanding professional ballet and dance productions to the Las Vegas community. More information about the company can be found on NBT’s website: 


Las Vegas has a population of over 600,000 and a metro area population approaching two million people; the region is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. Its demographics are diverse and young, with a median age of 37.5. The cost of living is reasonable and slightly below the national average. Las Vegas is best known, of course, for the extraordinary entertainment options the city offers. This abundance of performers, directors, choreographers, designers, and technicians has also built one of the largest creative communities in the country. Some helpful sites on Las Vegas:


Beth Barbre, Executive Director & CEO

Beth Barbre joined Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2006 and is Executive Director and CEO of the 45-year-old organization. Beth’s efforts to strengthen the company helped pave the way for NBT’s status as Resident Ballet Company of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Under Beth’s leadership, NBT has eliminated its accumulated deficit and now operates with an annual balanced budget. Collaborating with Cirque de Soleil, Beth launched A Choreographers’ Showcase, a unique joint performance of NBT and Cirque artists. For the fall 2012 season, she arranged a first-ever collaboration between three ballet companies to dance George Balanchine’s famed ballet, Jewels. Beth was previously Managing Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre. She also served five years as Administrator of The George Balanchine Trust in New York City, licensing the works of the 20th Century’s greatest choreographer, and five years as Company Manager of the New York City Ballet, America’s preeminent dance company. Beth earned her B.A. from the University of the South and her M.A. degree in Performing Arts Administration from New York University.

Board of Trustees

NBT is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 29 members, including business leaders, lawyers, bankers, community volunteers, and corporate executives. There is a balance of long-standing trustees and newer members. The Board’s Co-chairs are Nancy Houssels – the co-founder of NBT, and Jerry Nadal – Senior Vice President of Cirque du Soleil. Mr. Nadal is also chairing the Artistic Director Search Committee of six trustees and the CEO. 


In 1996, the organization received a major grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and with a donation of land from The Howard Hughes Corporation, built a home for the company and its academy in Summerlin. The 36,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, designed by internationally renowned JMA Architects, features eight dance studios, scenery and costume room, administrative offices, a corporate board room, and a fully equipped Pilates studio. This magnificent space allows students of all ages to train in the same facility as the company's professional dancers.  Sets reside in an offsite warehouse. 

Although Las Vegas has no shortage of show venues, for decades it did not have a suitable performing arts center for local professional arts groups. That changed in 2012, when The Smith Center opened on the north side of downtown Las Vegas This remarkable center, designed by David M. Schwarz Architects, is host to two resident companies – NBT and Las Vegas Philharmonic – as well as to The Smith Center’s presentation series of concerts and Broadway touring productions. NBT performs in Reynolds Hall, a stunning venue with 2,050-seats on five-tiers. 


The Ballet currently operates on an annual budget of $5 million. There is no accumulated debt. The Ballet’s season consists of five productions. The season begins with a production in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. Titled A Choreographers’ Showcase, these performances highlight choreographic talent from both NBT and Cirque and are held in the Mystère Theatre. Four mainstage productions – The Nutcracker plus three others – are presented in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center. Finally, guest and company choreographers present new works in The Studio Series, held in NBT’s “Studio One.” NBT’s company is non-ranked. There are currently 16 members of the professional company on a 32-week contract. Additionally, there are seven (7) apprentices and 17 Trainees. 

NBT’s commitment to dance training, education and community engagement is significant. NBT’s Academy has an enrollment of over 500 students including adults. The spectrum of community engagement programs is vast, including “Go Move Dance,” (reaching 1,000 elementary aged students annually, culminating in a year-end performance), scholarship programs, school matinees, in-school performance programs, and Insights – a pre-performance discussion aimed at adult audience members.  Currently, NBT’s Education and Outreach initiatives reach over 20,000 students annually. 


The Artistic Director is the Chief Artistic Officer of NBT.  Reporting directly to the Executive Director and CEO, the Artistic Director is responsible for the Ballet’s look, style, quality, repertoire, and choreography, as well as serves as an Artistic Advisor to the Academy of NBT.

With a mind to fiscal responsibility and an ear to the community’s desire for entertainment in balance with artistic achievement, the Artistic Director develops the professional working atmosphere and environment for artistic growth of the ballet dancers, through exciting artistic plans and an industry-leading professional artistic staff.

The expectation is that the next Artistic Director will bring a breadth of artistic perspective. There is no desire for the Company to become a repository for a single choreographic voice. The Search Committee is open to candidates who are choreographers, although this is not a requirement for the position. The Committee will consider candidates who have not previously held Artistic Director positions, but applicants will need to have had experience in artistic, school or production management administration.

Please note that in the requested application materials below, there are three (3) questions to which each candidate is asked to respond.

Core Responsibilities:

The most important roles for the Artistic Director are the following:

• Direct and lead all the artistic and production aspects of NBT, which includes choosing a season that will further the Ballet’s mission and that work within approved budget guidelines and goals.

• Hire, supervise and motivate dancers, artistic staff and production personnel.

• Engage the artistic and production/design team for each production and provide oversight, seeking to retain the artistic quality for which NBT has become known.

• Forge an effective working relationship with the CEO, including being keenly involved in the strategic planning process.

• Work closely with the staff and Board to accomplish fund-raising objectives of the Ballet, including personal involvement in developing key donor relationships.

• Act as one of the Ballet’s principal voices in the community. 

• Serve as an Artistic Advisor of the NBT Academy and outline strategies to strengthen the ties between the professional company and Academy.

• Take a leading role in forging collaborations and partnerships in the field to increase the visibility and importance of NBT.


The hiring of the Artistic Director will be accomplished through a search committee of six trustees and the CEO. The Search Committee will make its judgment based upon the following desired skill sets:

• An accomplished ballet artist at the highest level, including strong staging and producing skills.

• Understanding of ballet operations and a track-record of working in organizations producing work of significant size, scope, and artistic merit, including an understanding of financial issues in managing a complex artistic organization. 

• A minimum of three years of senior artistic management/administrative experience in an organization of significant size and scope.

• A skilled teacher and coach, with the ability to maintain high artistic standards within the Company and in advising the Academy.

• The ability to work collaboratively with the CEO and a nonprofit board of directors.

• Proven success in collaborative work with a team of highly skilled professionals.  

The following personal attributes will also be considered important to the Committee:

• Strong social and interpersonal skills and a desire to represent the Ballet in multiple contexts.

• Deep commitment to education and training.

• A desire to be fully rooted in the Las Vegas community.


Application materials should include the following:

• Cover letter 

• Résumé or CV

• For candidates who are choreographers, links to representative work of your creation. (Note – these must be electronic links; please do not send CDs or tapes.)

• Responses to the following; please limit each response to no more than about a half page each (two pages’ total):

o Describe your aesthetic, training and approach to the art form.

o In your view, what are the fundamental elements that make a successful Artistic Director?

o What type of working culture do you hope to create? Provide some specifics on how you have accomplished creating that culture in previous workplaces.

The salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. Finalists will be asked to provide permission for background checks as reasonably necessary. Benefits include:

• Health insurance (50% employer funded)

• Dental (50% employer funded)

• Vision (100% employee funded)

• Paid vacation/holidays/sick leave.

The committee hopes to make its decision by mid-to-late summer, with the candidate onsite as soon as possible thereafter. Recommendations of candidates are welcomed. Send materials or recommendations to the following firm retained for this important search:

Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: David Mallette

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Subject Line: Nevada Ballet Theatre AD Search

Last modified on Friday, 16 June 2017 07:11