First State Ballet Theatre
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First State Ballet Theatre is a 501(c)(3) corporation, founded in 2000, whose mission is to bring the beauty and excitement of professional ballet performances to audiences throughout Delaware, to provide superb ballet training and performance opportunities to aspiring Delaware dancers and to educate the Delaware dance audience of the future.

First State Ballet Theatre—A Brief History

First State Ballet Theatre—Delaware’s professional ballet company—has written an unparalleled chapter of artistic, educational and financial achievement in Delaware dance history and is the only major Delaware performing arts company to have presented a statewide season with regular performances in theaters and schools in all three counties from Wilmington to the Beach.

In November 1999, shortly after opening the Russian Ballet Centre in Newport’s Greystone Plaza, Pasha and Kristina Kambalov  asked long time ballet supporters and friends to serve as the board of directors for a new 501 (c)(3) ballet school with Robert Grenfell as Board President.

They chose the name First State Ballet Theatre to signal that they intended to be a ballet company for the entire state and they adopted a family-friendly pricing policy to enable families to enjoy the beauty and excitement of their art form.

In early 2003, the company was invited to relocate to Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. With funding from the City of Wilmington, the Longwood and Welfare Foundations and individuals, they designed and built beautiful, state-of-the-art studios.

In September 2008 they launched Delaware's only professional ballet company. They began the 2008-09 season with 10 dancers and have grown the roster every year to the current 23 dancers.

The first ballet performed was Coppélia at the University of Delaware’s Mitchell Hall in May 2000.  Its Delaware premieres have included Giselle, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet. World premieres have included three major ballets by Viktor Plotnikov—Everlasting Arms, based on the sculpture of Charles Parks, Nonsense in the Sense of innocence and The Adventures of Pinocchio.

First State Ballet Theatre is proud of its artistic, educational and financial achievements and looks forward to bringing the beauty and excitement of this extraordinary art form to future generations of Delawareans.

Artistic and Professional Staff

  Pasha Kambalov   Artistic Director

Pasha Kambalov
Artistic Director

  Joan Beatson   Director of the School

Joan Beatson
Director of the School

  Kristina Kambalov   Executive Director

Kristina Kambalov
Executive Director

  Paige Obara   Business Manager

Paige Obara
Business Manager


Paige Obara, Business Manager
Joan Beatson, Director of the School
Tisa Della-Volpe, DanceWorks! Director and Company Photographer*
Genevieve Fanelli, Technical Director
Paige Obara, Stage Manager
Devin Short, Graphic Designer
Joanne Epstein, Wardrobe Manger
Diane Fretwell, Prop Manager
Bob Eizember, Videographer



*Photographs throughout the site are by Tisa Della-Volpe.



Joan Weston

Vice President

Joe P. Yeager, Esq.


Paul Andreas


Debra H. Horak

Peggy Ableman

Peter Campbell

Diane Clemens

Andrew Gromley

Shameeka Jelenewicz

Kristina Kambalov, ex officio

Pasha Kambalov, ex officio

Karyn Lamb

Mimi Link

Mattie Moore

Executive Director Emeritus
Robert Grenfell