Welcome to the Peoria Ballet

Wendy Thomasson

Wendy Thomasson

Executive Director

Ian Thatcher

Artistic Director

Brief Description of the Peoria Ballet

Peoria Ballet is a non-profit company celebrating over fifty-five 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 12,000 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, Sleeping Beauty, 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, Atlanta 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 significantly reduced ticket price. During the 2023-2024 season, over 3,500 students enjoyed performances of The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.

Board of Directors

  • Wendy Thomasson, President
  • Dr. MaryElizabeth Rashid, Vice President
  • Ann Pieper, Secretary
  • Ina Becraft, Treasurer
  • Athena Herman
  • Reagan Leslie
  • Brooke Martin
  • Gina Morss-Fischer
  • Vivian Standifird
  • Katherine Swise
  • Ian Thatcher, Artistic Director
  • James A. Maloof, Chairman Emeritus 1919-2013
  • Zan Ransburg, Director Emeritus

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.


Caterpillar Studio

Falcon Studio

Lobby waiting area for families