Filling a much needed void on the island, Galveston Ballet was founded in 1986 by Artistic Director, Lynn Nigliazzo who was in search of an opportunity for her daughter to receive advanced ballet instruction. It all began at the Studio I Dance company where Lynn first enrolled her daughter, Caryn, to participate in the summer program. A summer play was produced which featured ballet and dance on the stage in the old Lutheran Church. This instantly inspired a full dance production to be incorporated into the summer camp that following year. Seeing the potential growth and success of the new youth program, Lynn and Studio I developed a dance company that would allow the students to perform annually while introducing the art of ballet and dance back into the Galveston community.
In the beginning many productions were performed in local small venues such as the historic Ashton Villa. But after visiting The Grand 1894 Opera House, Lynn was convinced that the students should experience performing at such a unique and beautiful performance venue. The first performances at The Opera House included the classical ballet productions of LA BOUTIQUE FANTASTIC and COPPELIA, ACT II. At the time the company was very small with only three girls en pointe, Caryn, Janel Allego (now current instructor, Janel Amsallem) , and Cassie Raftis. Soon after the success of The Grand Opera House productions, instructor Cathy Harvin was hired and enforced Lynn's concept of classical ballet training.
Galveston Ballet debuted their first performances, PETER AND THE WOLF and THE SLEEPING BEAUTY with very limited set, props and production budget. In order to provide more financial support to the company, Lynn was able to purchase Galveston Ballet and bring forth its mission. With the help of Jayson Levy, the non-profit status was achieved and has been providing a place for young dancers to receive the same opportunity that Lynn provided for her daughter. To this day, Lynn's heart is so deeply embedded into the organization that she remains as one of its biggest supporters. Much of the costumes and props you see in our current productions are still constructed and contributed by Lynn herself. Today the ballet has more than 100 students who all share her same love of classical ballet.