Artistic Director, Patricia Lavoie, established Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater (SNHDT), located in Bedford, NH, in September of 1996. Ms Lavoie, a native of Bedford, not only brings back to the community her established skills and reputation as a teacher, but also her knowledge and experience as a professional dancer.
SNHDT is now known for its outstanding Pre-professional Dance Program and has quickly become the most well respected dance school in the New England area. The school’s highly skilled & diverse faculty is committed to providing students with exceptional dance training in a caring and nurturing environment. In 1998, Artistic Director Patricia Lavoie, established the school’s affiliate performing company, Southern NH Youth Ballet (SNHYB).
In 2001, SNHDT became the resident Nutcracker performing company at the historic Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH. The school has presented this Holiday Classic alongside a live professional orchestra for nearly 20 years.
During a span of over 25 years, dancers from SNHDT have garnered the interest of several renowned choreographers who have staged original and classic works for the Youth Ballet. Among them are: Ashley Walton, former dancer with Atlanta Ballet & Dayton Ballet; Benjamin Briones, Artistic Director of Briones Ballet; Bafana Matea, former dancer of Battery Dance Theatre; Mary LeGere, Artistic Director of Raleigh Dance Theatre; Jeremy Collins, former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre; Peter Pawlyshyn, Former Director of Kansas City Ballet School; and Kitty Seale, Artistic Director of Alabama Dance Theatre.
George Balanchine Trust
Southern NH Dance Theater has been recommended by repetiteurs of the George Balanchine Trust to be granted permission to perform Mr. Balanchine’s ballet “Valse-Fantaisie.” SNHDT was coached by former New York City Ballet dancers Darla Hoover and Deborah Wingert. Dancers from the Youth Ballet had the distinct honor of performing this renowned ballet in 2001, 2002 and 2007.
Regional Dance America
Southern New Hampshire Youth Ballet is a Regional Honor Company of Regional Dance America (RDA) Northeast, a national organization of pre-professional dance companies. Its purpose is to encourage and develop companies with high standards and to offer the directors, choreographers, teachers and dancers additional opportunities to perform and study with master teachers and choreographers and to make contacts within the professional dance world. Evaluated in the spring of 2005, the Youth Ballet is the first company from New Hampshire, and currently the only company from New England, to be accepted into this prestigious organization. In 2014, 2015 and 2017 the Youth Ballet received the prestigious National Choreographic Recognition Award for its outstanding performance of Ashley Walton’s original works Ascending (in 2014) and Impetus (in 2015) and Metamorphosis (in 2017) at the RDA Northeast and National Festivals.
Youth Ballet dancers have participated in many prestigious programs across the country, including Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Harid Dance Conservatory, Ellison Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Academy East, and more.
Our Graduates and Alumni
Graduates of the Youth Ballet have been contracted with professional companies including The Joffrey Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Ballet Austin, Sacramento Ballet, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Phantom of the Opera Touring Company, Nevada Ballet Theatre and The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.