Local dance enthusiasts founded Richmond Ballet in 1957 as a performance outlet for students in local dance programsIt existed for almost 20 years as a small, civic company until 1975, when the School of Richmond Ballet was founded. The School sparked the evolution from a student company to the professional company of today.In 1980, Ms. Stoner Winslett became the founding artistic director. In 1984, Richmond Ballet became the first professional ballet company in the Commonwealth and was designated The State Ballet of Virginia in 1990 by then Governor Wilder. In 2000, Richmond Ballet moved into a newly renovated state-of-the-art facility at 407 East Canal Street in the heart of downtown Richmond. Today the Ballet reaches more than 100,000 people annually in communities throughout Virginia and beyond with a professional repertory that includes 47 original works, educational and outreach programs, and a thriving school that serves more than 700 students.