History & Mission


“Unmatched, Unbelievable, Unforgettable”- Festival Ballet Providence, Rhode Island’s premiere professional ballet company, thrills audiences with a wide ranging repertoire of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary dance. As one of the nation’s top regional ballet companies, Festival Ballet Providence enriches and inspires the lives of its audiences with world class dance. As a professional arts organization, the company enhances Rhode Island’s local culture by serving as a destination for those wishing to perform professionally while maintaining a vital role in contributing to the state’s economy and quality of life. FBP’s educational outreach programs connect with more than 5,000 children each season in workshops, demonstrations, and in fully produced mainstage performances. Additionally, the FBP School elevates the minds and spirits of children and adults seeking the finest dance education. There are programs for aspiring professional dancers, as well as those who simply love to move and express themselves through dance.

FBP is a non-profit organization committed to bringing the transformative power of dance to the widest possible audience.


Originally conceived by the late Lydia Petine, Festival Ballet was founded in 1978 by Christine Hennessey and Winthrop Corey, former principal dancers with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Ms. Hennessey worked tirelessly to develop and grow the young company, bringing in talented international choreographers while also working with the local community to advance dance education and appreciation for dance.

Ms. Hennessey led the company artistically until her death in 1997. After her passing, her daughter, Elizabeth acted as the interim artistic director. In the summer of 1998, after an international search for her successor, Mihailo “Misha” Djuric was hired. At the same time, the Board of Trustees purchased the Dance Center from the Hennessey family, making it an integral part of this non-profit performing arts organization.

A native of Yugoslavia who previously served as artistic director of Ballet New England, Mr. Djuric’s career in Europe and the United States includes that of actor, dancer, choreographer and costume designer. His vision for the company focused on increasing the number and the variety of performances, developing a strong resident company, and increasing community collaboration and outreach throughout New England.

In September 2001, the newly renamed Festival Ballet Providence moved to its current home, 825 Hope Street, on Providence’s historic East Side. A dream for over ten years, the facility has three state-of-the-art studios. The FBP School offers over 80 hours of classes each week during the academic year, providing comprehensive training for students of all ages.

As Artistic Director, Mr. Djuric expanded the company’s repertoire both in terms of its depth and complexity. Each season now includes important works from the classical and post modern periods. He also introduced the wildly successful up CLOSE on HOPE performance series which continues to present groundbreaking Rhode Island and World Premieres from critically acclaimed choreographers. Recently, Mr. Djuric has successfully petitioned both The George Balanchine and The Antony Tudor Trusts to perform selected works. Reviews and articles featuring FBP in Dance Magazine, Dance Europe and Pointe Magazine are indicative of the growing national and international reputation of the company.

In November 2006, the company toured throughout Venezuela as part of the 1st Internacional Ballet del Siglio XXI Festival. On July 31, 2010, Festival Ballet Providence dancers performed with the RI Philharmonic Orchestra at WaterFire kicking-off a long awaited collaboration between the two arts organization that will feature the Philharmonic at select performances.

With the generous support of corporate, foundation, government and individual donors, Festival Ballet Providence remains passionate in fulfilling its mission, “To thrill and move our audience, dancers, choreographers, students, supporters and staff, with art and discipline. We dance to enrich and inspire lives.”

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