dance school and theatre, buffalo, ny

“Since dancing at Ballet Buffalo, I have developed even more as a dancer. The instruction is outstanding.”


Established in 2000 as Configuration Dance Theatre, Ballet Buffalo is a unique, contemporary ballet company whose dynamic programs are as diverse as the ensemble’s make-up.

Driven to explore the creative possibilities within the art form, Ballet Buffalo draws inspiration for its dance programs from associations with a roster of internationally renowned dancers, choreographers and artists. The troupe has received critical acclaim for its ability to combine elements of classical dance with contemporary choreography. Dance Magazine referred to Ballet Buffalo’s performances as “a living art gallery.”

Ballet Buffalo performs in a variety of theaters and venues locally and across the country and their principal dancers and soloists have been affiliated with the Dance Theater of Harlem, Susan Marshall Company, Atlanta Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Monte Carlo Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and the New York City Ballet, among others.

Ballet Buffalo is also known for its highly successful apprentice program, which allows younger artists an opportunity to work with established dancers and choreographers.

Artistic Director // Founder: Joseph Cipolla
Managing Director // Co-Founder: Kolleen Fischer


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Director and Co-Founder // Ballet Buffalo
Artistic Director and Founder // BalletBuffalo

New York born, raised and trained, Joseph Cipolla’s technique was described as” crisp and stylishly deft” by The New York Times, and his stage presence as “charismatic and sexy” by The Birmingham Post. The Village Voice admired his “nuances of love and friendship,” profound qualities that set him apart, made him a star, and a desired acquisition for the royal flagship of British ballet, a company New York Magazine dubbed “the heart of Ashton’s legacy.”

In 1979, Cipolla began as a groundbreaking principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem. In 1986, Sir Peter Wright brought him to England’s legendary Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (now the Birmingham Royal Ballet), where he joined one of the finest repertoires and companies in the world. A favorite with audiences and choreographers for his artistry, technique, insight and ability to portray any role, Cipolla became the touchstone by which others are compared when recreating his original roles.

In 1993, in recognition of his achievements in dance, he was nominated for an Olivier Award, the most prestigious award in British theatre, equivalent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar and the American Theatre Wing’s Tony awards. Cipolla performed at the Olivier Awards with Catherine Batcheller in 1994 and with Marion Tate OBE in 1995. He presented the award to William Forsythe in 1996.

Cipolla has performed in BBC-televised Royal Ballet productions; in Margot Fonteyn’s The Magic of Dance, Hobson’s Choice, The Nutcracker, and Nutcracker Sweeties; and in a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

He retired to his home in New York in 2002, but returns to England for administrative and dancing roles. Ballet Dance Magazine reviewed one of his 2007 performances as “the welcome return of longtime favorite, Joseph Cipolla, as De Guiche in David Bintley’s Cyrano,” noting, “ even under costume and heavy make-up, there was no mistaking his commanding presence.”

Cipolla has been honored by his alma mater, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, with induction into the Fine Arts Wall of Honor, in recognition of his achievements and contribution to the arts.


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