Ketchikan Theatre Ballet History
Ketchikan Theatre Ballet’s beginnings trace back to the fall of 1961, when Virginia Klepser, a college graduate with a business degree and a graduate of the Novikoff School of Ballet, was in need of a Ketchikan career. She founded Virginia’s School of Ballet with 35 paying students and a mission to “teach more than dance…to balance recreational dance with serious dance study”. She successfully founded a school that continues to teach dance, discipline, organizational skills and positive self-image.
In 1968, Mrs. Klepser recognized the need for her advanced students to have more performing opportunities. Ketchikan Theatre Ballet, a non-profit performing company, was formed with Mrs. Klepser as Artistic Director and a Board of Directors to oversee operations and raising funds to support the company. Upon her retirement in 1980, Mrs. Klepser sold the dance school to the non-profit Board of Directors, therein becoming Ketchikan Theatre Ballet.
In 1984, the Board of Directors hired former student Marguerite Auger as the new Artistic Director. Marguerite’s training in New York City and Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts allowed her to bring not only spectacular teaching but also enthusiasm and dedication back to her hometown and to Ketchikan Theatre Ballet. With Auger’s dedication and guidance for over two decades, Ketchikan Theatre Ballet grew to house three dance studios, over 225 students, four instructors, a business manager, a development director and an office assistant.
The current dance faculty teaches creative movement, ballet, jazz and tap to students of all ages, six days a week, with an average of 100 students taking class each day. Strong alumni relationships help our program to thrive, as former students choreograph performance pieces or give workshops for current students. We are proud to be able to provide an environment where our dancers can return to their hometown and share their talents with our students.