Atlantic City Ballet

Atlantic City, New Jersey
🏆 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant
🏆 Brazilian Gold Medal of Honor
🏆 Hall of Fame of the American Repertory Ballet
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Atlantic City Ballet, founded in 1982 by Phyllis Papa, is a professional ballet company based in Atlantic City, NJ. Known for their technical expertise and exuberant stage presence, the company features a multicultural ensemble of professional dancers from around the world. They offer fully-staged performances and educational programs, promoting appreciation and participation in the art of ballet. With a diverse repertoire that includes both classical and innovative works, the Atlantic City Ballet continues to uphold a tradition of dance excellence and cultural enrichment for audiences in New Jersey and beyond.
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“This is what they do for a living. This is their career. It’s not a hobby, and ballet dancers dedicate their whole life to being in the studio and being in class to do great performances,” Papa said.
Atlantic City Ballet
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Atlantic City Ballet Biography

Founded in 1982 by Phyllis Papa, Atlantic City Ballet has established itself as a premier ballet company, enriching the artistic landscape of Atlantic City, NJ, and its surrounding areas. Comprised of professional dancers from diverse backgrounds, the company has garnered national acclaim for its technical expertise and captivating stage presence.

The Atlantic City Ballet provides access to fully-staged performances, showcasing the artistry and skill of its highly talented company of dancers. From the grand stages of Showboat, Caesar’s, and Resorts casinos to the historic venues like the Strand Theatre and STAC, the ballet company has mesmerized audiences with their artistry and passion.

In addition to their performances, the Atlantic City Ballet is committed to educational outreach, tailoring programs to meet the needs of a diverse student population. Through these initiatives, they inspire appreciation for the art form and foster the next generation of ballet enthusiasts.

The company’s dedication to diversity is exemplified by its engagement of a multicultural ensemble of professional dancers, honoring the richness of world cultures. While their home base is at the iconic Historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, the ballet company has graced theaters along the entire east coast and across the country, sharing their artistry with audiences far and wide.

Under the visionary leadership of Phyllis Papa, who serves as the Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer, the Atlantic City Ballet has established a repertoire of original works. While they pay homage to classics like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake, Ms. Papa is renowned for her innovative productions, such as Dracula, Romeo and Juliet, and her full-length Carmen.

Phyllis Papa herself brings a wealth of experience to the company. Her illustrious career has taken her around the world, dancing for esteemed companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Royal Danish Ballet, and Stars of American Ballet. She has graced prestigious stages, performing for influential figures like President Johnson and the Shah of Iran, as well as in numerous Royal Command Performances in Europe. With principal roles in Les Sylphide, Etudes, Swan Lake, The Lady, and the Fool, and Triumph of Death, she has partnered with some of the most celebrated male dancers of her time.

Beyond her accomplishments as a dancer, Phyllis Papa has also made significant contributions as a choreographer and educator. She has choreographed over thirty ballets and has been the recipient of grants, including the prestigious New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant. Ms. Papa’s passion for ballet extends beyond the stage, as she has worked with the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Development, creating and teaching programs for neurological brain growth.

Recognized for her outstanding contributions to the world of ballet, Phyllis Papa has received numerous accolades. In 1998, she was honored with the Brazilian Gold Medal of Honor, awarded by diplomats from Brazil, England, Italy, China, and the United States. Her accomplishments have also earned her a place in Marquis’ Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who of the World, The Social Directory, and the National Biographical Society. In 2015, she was elected to the Hall of Fame of the American Repertory Ballet, further solidifying her status as one of the finest dancers and teachers in the American ballet scene.

With a mission to bring joy, artistry, and appreciation for dance to the world’s stage, the Atlantic City Ballet strives for artistic excellence through exhilarating performances, innovative choreography, and superb educational programs. The company is committed to expanding its audience and making ballet accessible to the widest possible public through touring, educational initiatives, the creative use of media, and other outreach efforts.

As a classically trained international company, the Atlantic City Ballet embraces a diverse repertoire, blending the time-honored ballets with new works that push boundaries. They attract award-winning dancers, providing them with an environment where they can thrive and further develop their art form. The company’s professionalism and dedication make them accessible to a broad and growing local, national, and international audience.

Alongside their artistic endeavors, the Atlantic City Ballet takes pride in its world-class Academy, offering top-notch instruction for professional dancers and meaningful programs for non-professional dancers. They remain steadfast in their commitment to preserving the traditions, aesthetics, and standards of artistic excellence in the world of ballet.

As a cultural treasure of New Jersey, the Atlantic City Ballet continues to captivate audiences and inspire future generations of ballet enthusiasts. With their unwavering dedication, the company strives to bring the beauty and artistry of ballet to the forefront of the performing arts landscape, enriching lives and fostering a deep appreciation for dance.

Denise Donatelli Biography

Denise Donatelli, a three-time GRAMMY® nominated vocalist, presents her latest album, “Whistling in the Dark – The Music of Burt Bacharach.” Released on August 27, 2021, this remarkable project showcases Denise’s lifelong love affair with the legendary songwriter’s music. Produced by the renowned Larry Klein, the album marks Denise’s first concept album dedicated to a single composer and highlights her exceptional collaboration with Klein.

Recorded live at The Village Studios in Los Angeles in October 2020, the album captures Denise’s warm vocal elegance accompanied by a hand-picked all-star jazz/pop quartet. The quartet includes Larry Goldings on piano and organ, Anthony Wilson on guitar, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Larry Klein himself on bass and additional keyboards.

“Whistling in the Dark” presents an intimate and soulful collection of Bacharach’s iconic hits, as well as some lesser-known gems. Denise breathes new life into classics like “The Look of Love” and brings her own interpretation to Warwick’s renowned songs such as “Walk On By,” “In Between the Heartaches,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” and “A House is Not a Home.” The album also features collaborations with Elvis Costello on poignant tracks like “Toledo” and “In the Darkest Place.”

Denise’s artistic journey leading up to this project has been shaped by her passion for jazz. Growing up in Allentown, PA, she fell in love with the genre, drawing inspiration from vocalists like Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, and Ella Fitzgerald. After launching her singing career in Atlanta in the early 90s, Denise moved to Los Angeles in 2000, immersing herself in the vibrant music community.

Throughout her career, Denise has collaborated with esteemed musicians and earned recognition for her exceptional talent. Her previous albums with producer/pianist Geoffrey Keezer garnered four GRAMMY nominations, including three for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In 2012, she was honored as Jazz Vocalist of the Year by The Los Angeles Jazz Society. Known as a “musician’s singer,” Denise’s innate musicianship and pure tone have captivated audiences and led to various notable performances, including appearances on “The Simpsons” and TV promos for popular shows and brands.

Denise’s connection to the American Heart Association holds a special place in her heart, honoring the memory of her son.

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