Los Angeles Ballet Prodigal Son Balanchine Walker Shimizu

LAB History

2021/2022 Season > LAB History

  • To perform outstanding classical and modern ballets that set the standard for dance in Los Angeles, nationally and internationally.

  • To passionately pursue innovation and creativity in performances. To preserve the best choreographic work of the past and become the impetus for the best choreography yet to come.

  • To be an instrument of hope, healing and joy, sharing the gift of dance with the broadest possible audience and in particular, distressed communities.

LAB Mission

Los Angeles Ballet debuted in December 2006 with its original production of The Nutcracker. Choreographed by Founding Co-Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, it featured costumes from a Royal Danish Ballet production commissioned by Mr. Christensen during his tenure as that company’s artistic director, and was complemented by a Southern California-themed set designed by Catherine Kanner.


LAB’s repertoire focuses on works and styles intimately known to, and mastered by, the artistic directors: Balanchine masterpieces as staged by Colleen Neary, and the revered Bournonville ballets as imparted by Thordal Christensen. As a répétiteur for The George Balanchine Trust, Ms. Neary is one of the few charged with carrying on the Balanchine legacy and genius. Balanchine’s mentorship of Colleen as a young dancer and as a répétiteur results in LAB’s stellar interpretations of his masterworks. In 2009 LAB presented Bournonville’s La Sylphide, its first full-length classical story ballet after The Nutcracker.


In addition to performing the beloved classical ballet standards such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, and The Sleeping Beauty, Los Angeles Ballet has commissioned 15 new works, two developed out of LAB’s Choreographic Workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to identify and nurture Southern Californian choreographic talent.

The Los Angeles Ballet Center, the home of both Los Angeles Ballet and the Los Angeles Ballet School, is located on L.A.’s Westside. The Center’s 12,000 square feet encompass three dance studios, LAB’s administrative offices, a home box office, a physical therapy clinic, a wardrobe department and costume storage.


A key component of Los Angeles Ballet’s mission is to “tour” Los Angeles. While rehearsals… LAB regularly performs across the county at multiple venues.


In September 2009, the Los Angeles Ballet Guild was established to support the mission of Los Angeles Ballet and provide the assistance to organize a volunteer workforce for performances and special events. The Guild has become an indispensable arm of the LAB support structure. Patrons of the Guild was formed in 2013; its mission is to provide vital support and advocacy for Los Angeles Ballet.


LAB’s Power of Performance! (POP!) outreach program has to date provided 50,000 free tickets to underserved and disadvantaged children, seniors, veterans and their families, through collaboration with community partners.

An additional LAB outreach program, A Chance to Dance, offers a monthly Community Day at the Los Angeles Ballet Center, where all ages are invited to take free ballet, jazz, and other dance classes and workshops, and to learn about fitness and nutrition from company dancers, staff, and physical therapists. A Chance to Dance Community Day attracts over 100 participants to each event, and fosters the development of a personal relationship between the artists of Los Angeles Ballet and the greater LA County community.


Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, who have shared a partnership both privately and professionally since 1985, blend unique artistic and aesthetic views resulting in a co-directorship that is multifaceted and complete. They credit a passionate and dedicated Board of Directors in providing immeasurable support, professional skills, guidance, and advocacy.


One of the greatest story ballets of all time, The Sleeping Beauty is the epitome of classical ballet, and is considered to be the most authentic of Marius Petipa’s work. Tickets On-Sale now!

Los Angeles Ballet La Sylphide Tigran Sargsyan LAB Ensemble

Founded in 2004 by Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, and Executive Director Emerita Julie Whittaker, Los Angeles Ballet is known for its superb stagings of the Balanchine repertory, stylistically meticulous classical ballets, and its commitment to new works. LAB has become recognized as a world-class ballet company.

LAB History

Robert Day Gibson Dunn
Los Angeles County Arts & Culture
County of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Ballet Guild
Mitch O’Farrel KCET
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