South Dakota has a rich history of classical ballet. Across the state, there are thousands of young dancers participating in ballet instruction weekly. Ballet is nothing new for South Dakota, however it has yet to be recognized as a prominent part of South Dakota culture.
South Dakota was the last state in America to give life to it's own professional ballet company. However, you know what they say: Save the best for last.
South Dakota Ballet was founded in May 2019 by Madeleine Scott with two supporting board members; Ruth Scott (President, FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers Southeast South Dakota) and Johna Kern (RN, Manager, Clinical Services Sanford World Clinics).
Madeleine has had the desire to bring professional ballet to South Dakota for years. Her career has taken her across the globe performing renowned repertoire and bringing beauty to different people, cultures and countries. "There have been many times where I wanted nothing more than for my family to be able to see a certain performance or for them to hear a soul-piercing piece of music that I was so blessed to be performing to in front of a thousand people. I wanted them to be a part of it with me, but there was not a company in South Dakota for me to dance in", says Madeleine.
This lack of opportunity left a gaping hole between South Dakota's young, refined performing artists and the beautiful state they wish to call home. South Dakota Ballet is a bridge with limitless possibilities.
Many of the dancers who have left home to train professionally have never returned. Professional ballet dancers sacrifice their childhood and often their family at a young age due to the demands of this competitive career. Madeleine says, "I left home to train at a pre-professional level at the age of 13. I gave up my family, my friends, high school football games, you name it. Living far away in Philadelphia, I was lonely but I knew it was the sacrifice I had to make if I wanted to become a professional ballerina." She hopes that the presence of South Dakota Ballet will allot local talent the exposure needed to pursue a fruitful career in ballet without forcing them to leave home.