In 1997, during his first year as artistic director,  JEAN-PIERRE BONNEFOUX, created INNOVATIVE WORKS to present contemporary ballet to the community. Now, 20 years later, it has become one of Charlotte Ballet’s most popular performances. 20 years of Innovative Works means 20 years of unforgettable memories. Read as our dancers, teaching artists, and choreographers share their favorite moments from Innovative Works.

INNOVATIVE WORKS runs every weekend until February 18. After the performance at the Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance, join us for a dessert reception with the dancers and artistic staff where you can share your favorite memories about Innovative Works. TICKETS START AT ONLY $25!



Company Dancer, 12th Season with Charlotte Ballet

glass-houses-1-photo-by-peter-zay“I can’t believe I have been performing in Innovative Works since 2002! My favorite memory from Innovative is when Mark Diamond presented City South in 2005. He used music by Bela Fleck, which was really fun.  I won the Princess Grace award and went to the awards ceremony right around that time.  Very good memories!

Another favorite memory I have from Innovative is performing Glass Houses by Sasha Janes in 2005. I’d just come back from dancing in Spain. It was cool to work with Sasha again and to use the structure made by the artist he worked with.”

Photo: Glass Houses by Sasha Janes, Innovative Works 2005


Academy Artistic Coordinator & Former Company Dancer, 25 years with Charlotte Ballet

katimayo“My favorite Innovative memory was when Jean Pierre brought Martha Graham dancer, company director and choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi in to set Threshold on myself, Lance Hardin, Mia Cunningham and Ben Kubie in 2000. This piece had only been performed by the legendary Terese Cappucilli before this point so filling her shoes was a daunting task. Both Terese and Jacqulyn coached us for three weeks in the studio. I was pushed way beyond my comfort zone and to this day I am eternally grateful to Jean Pierre and Jacqulyn for entrusting me with this challenge and opening my eyes up to an entirely new way to move. I was also fortunate to share this experience with my three supportive friends/colleagues. Through their sweat, tears, love, injuries and determination they all helped me find my way in this fantastic piece. It changed my dancing forever.”

Photo: Kati Hanlon Mayo, Innovative Works newpaper ad, 2000


Executive Director, 21 years with Charlotte Ballet

“One of my favorite pieces was Uri Sands’ Tearing for a Cure (2005), originally commissioned through the Princess Grace Fellowship and inspired by the emergence of ribbon campaigns. Tearing uncovers how communities come together in expressions of grief and celebration. Jean-Pierre nominated Uri for the Princess Grace Award to support this emerging voice in dance.”
Photo: Tearing for a Cure by Uri Sands, Innovative Works 2009


Academy Director & Former Company Dancer, 17 years with Charlotte Ballet

 “It is so much fun to reminisce! Several favorite memories about performing in Innovative Works come to mind. Performing Shapes & Gaits by Uri Sands — we danced, tangled, and bounced in huge, stage-length elastic bands. The movement was very exploratory and experimental. Our costumes were designed by then-dancer, now-designer Alex Donovon. Also, performing MAP by Alonzo King. This ballet is so deep and engaging for the performer, and I loved it. Jean-Pierre is bringing it back in June for INSPIRED WORKS!”

Photo: Ayisha McMillan Cravotta in Charlotte Ballet’s 2006/2007 Season Brochure


Company Dancer, 8th Season with Charlotte Ballet

arson“One of my favorite Innovative programs was from 2010 at the Knight Theater with David Ingram’s Arson and Dwight Rhoden’s Spill. The program had an environmental consciousness theme. I loved both works and their processes. Innovative is always a busy time as we only have a few weeks to get the show together! I’d love a chance to dance these two pieces again!”

Photo: Arson by David Ingram, Innovative Works 2010


Choreographer & Former Company Dancer

North Carolina Dance Theatre“One of my favorite memories from Innovative Works is the pas de trois from Nacho Duato’s Na Floresta with Traci Gilchrest Kubie, Sasha Janes and Randolph Ward. It was 2006 and my first time seeing the company do a work like that. It was just the time spent in the field of dance by the artists that made it special. It was one of the first times I’d seen great artists dance as opposed to dancers performing art.”

Photo: Na Floresta by Nacho Duato, Innovative Works 2006