cwblogo2015whiteABOUT US

Since 2004, René Daveluy and Leslie Ann Larson, both former professional dancers, have led Central West Ballet to new heights. As Artistic Director, Mr. Daveluy has brought to Central West Ballet a new vitality and a fresh outlook for the future. As choreographer Daveluy has created for CWB new full length ballets such as Romeo and Juliet and Peter Pan. as well as numerous contemporary works and entertainment style shows. Together with Ms. Larson, they have staged classics such as Giselle, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. With Executive Director Cynthia Coughlin, they have shared their resources with Modesto’s community to further the Company's artistic growth on the dance scene and attracting a growing number of key professionals in the business, suggesting the establishment of Central West Ballet as a new company on the national circuit. In March 2006, Mr. Daveluy received the Award for Excellence in Dance from the Stanislaus Arts Council. Over the last decade, Central West Ballet has continued its road to fulfillment with enhanced quality production values and increased budget operations. In 2010, Central West Ballet moved to its current location on Pentecost Drive, North Modesto, acquiring new studios. In 2014, the Central West Ballet Academy was created to continue the Company's full services to the Central Valley. In 2015, the addition of CWB II, a training company, increased performance experience opportunities for dance students.

As a cultural ambassador, Central West Ballet completes the identity of Modesto with a distinctive energy. The company grows along with its community and celebrates the unique qualities of California's Central Valley. Central West Ballet's Operations Manager is Barbara J. Ealey.



Modesto’s cultural history changed in 1987, when Mrs. Juline Schmitz, Founder of Juline • School of Dance and Mrs. Gretchen Vogelzang took on the pioneering job of establishing a ballet company for Modesto and the greater Central Valley. Already an instant hit in the community, Juline • School of Dance was in its twelfth year of existence at the inception of Bravo! Repertory Dance Theatre, geared toward giving local dance talent opportunities for advanced training and performance experience. In a short time, this exciting dance troupe quickly established itself as a distinctive youth ballet company. From its full scale Nutcracker to other full-length ballets such as The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Coppélia, the company became an integral part of other community performing arts groups in Modesto. Its founding Artistic Director, Mrs. Gretchen Vogelzang, became a driving force behind many new works created or staged on the company. On this road to excellence, the Company acquired an Honor Status within the Regional Dance America Association (RDA), paving the way for Modesto to have its own recognized dance institution. On its Tenth Anniversary, the name of the company was changed to Central West Ballet to reflect the growing reach of the company in the Central Valley. In the early 2000s, following the passing of Mrs. Juline Schmitz, Mrs. Debbie Bertucci became the Director of Juline • School of Dance. In 2001, after fifteen years of fulfilling creativity and strong leadership, Gretchen Vogelzang moved to Virginia to become President of the RDA. From 2001 to 2004, Central West Ballet’s artistic directorships included tenures by Karen Burns and Coleen Patterson.


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