In 2005, Indianapolis' only professional ballet company, Ballet Internationale, shut down. Victoria Lyras, a former Pennsylvania Ballet dancer who had recently relocated to the city, was distressed by the state of Indianapolis' art scene and saw a chance to rejuvenate it. Within two months she started making plans to found the Indianapolis School of Ballet, an institution that's thrived under her leadership. Eleven years later, Lyras is ready to complete her vision, by adding a professional company. "The community wasn't ready before," says Lyras. "But the time is now."
Lyras and board president Michael O'Brien announced plans in May, setting a $1.2 million capital campaign into motion. Set to launch on January 8, Indianapolis Ballet will have 10 to 12 dancers as well as apprentices. The school's advanced day program will provide supplemental dancers for some performances. The ensemble will feature former Cincinnati Ballet dancer Chris Lingner and ISB alumna and former Nashville Ballet dancer Kristin Young, both Indianapolis natives. The company's spring season will include two residencies at the Tobias Theatre at Newfields. Program highlights include Raymonda, Act III, and Lyras' own stagings of Firebird and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Lyras, who trained at the School of American Ballet, plans to eventually incorporate more Balanchine works into the repertoire, but notes that, as her dancers come from many different backgrounds, she wants to give the company a chance to mesh stylistically.