Welcome to the Peoria Ballet

Wendy Thomasson Executive Director
Wendy Thomasson
Executive Director
Eric Otto
Artistic Director
Laura Otto
Ballet Mistress

Art That Moves

Our Mission: To provide “art that moves” through high-quality dance  instruction and stimulating performances.

Peoria Ballet’s Vision

To become a premier dance academy and company that is nationally recognized by presenting diverse performances while remaining financially viable.


Board of Directors 
Peter Lynch – President
Dr. Deborah Garrison – Secretary
Ina Becraft – Treasurer
Jami Webster Hall
Linda Hallmann
Joshua D. Herman
Sabrina Higdon
James Lynch
Steven Marx, Ph.D.
Dr. Heather McCarthy
Rebekah Ross
Helena Stovall
Erin Totosz
Eric Otto – Artistic Director
Wendy Thomasson – Executive Director
James A. Maloof – Chairman Emeritus 1919-2013
Zan Ransburg – Director Emeritus

Brief Description of the Peoria Ballet

Peoria Ballet is a non-profit company celebrating fifty years of providing the finest in dance performance and dance education to Central Illinois. Well known for its annual production of The Nutcracker, the performance features live orchestral music, professional guest artists dancing the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, and more than 100 of the Academy’s own dancers. Each season also features a full-length theater production in the spring. The Peoria Ballet also collaborates with other arts and non-profit organizations in an effort to ensure the art of dance continues to be strong and vibrant in the community.


Peoria Ballet is housed in a 14,000 square foot facility with four modern studios, a costume shop, and extensive prop storage. The costume inventory includes thousands of costumes for classical ballets such as Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Firebird, and Cinderella, as well as costumes from numerous original works.

Peoria Ballet Academy

The Academy offers over fifty classes per week to more than 170 students, ranging in age from three to adult. Since its founding, more than 2,200 students have trained in pre-professional ballet training including pointe, partnering, repertoire, variations, modern, lyrical, jazz, and tap. Recent academy students have attended summer programs at Houston Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Nashville Ballet. Students have been accepted to study at year round programs at North Carolina School for the Arts, Atlanta Ballet, The Rock School, and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Students have gone on to join major ballet companies as Kansas City Ballet II, Rochester City Ballet, Ballet Memphis, and Ballet West.

Education & Outreach

Educational and outreach programs are an important component to the Academy. Educational programs for children take place at various locations including area schools and public libraries. Peoria Ballet is pleased to offer local schools an opportunity for their students to attend special performances of our productions at a drastically reduced ticket price. During the 2015-2016 season, over 3,500 students enjoyed performances of The Nutcracker.