JOIN US IN WISHING CAPTAIN DONALD BELK A HAPPY RETIREMENT!!!
January 31 will be Captain Belk’s official last day, and we’re reminiscing on all of the incredible memories we shared with him over the years. Today, we are extra thankful for everything he has done to keep us safe and for his endless positivity and kindness. Read over 10 PAGES (😭) of well-wishes to Captain Belk, from Academy dancers, teachers, company members, and staff old and new, below!
Ayisha McMillan Cravotta: Dear Captain Belk, I can never thank you enough for all the tireless hours and genuine care you have placed into our Charlotte Ballet community. You are a kindhearted and vigilant protector, and I congratulate you on your exquisitely well-earned retirement!
From Mary Griggs: From waiting with younger me when my parents were late picking me up to walking me to my car on late nights once I grew up and putting up with us between rehearsals on the weekends you are hands down one of the best people, I met through my time at charlotte ballet. I know you truly care for each dancer that ever walked through those doors and you never hesitate to do anything to make us feel safe and happy. I speak for many when I say thank you for who you are & all that you do. I will never forget the many great times we all shared! Congrats on retirement C. Belk! You deserve it!! 🧡🧡
From Elizabeth Corsig: Dear Captain Belk, Thank you for your many years of service to Charlotte Ballet and all the dancers who have walked through its doors, even since the NoDa days! My 16 years spent at Charlotte Ballet would not have been the same without you and your welcoming presence. Thank you for making us laugh on our worst days and for entertaining our antics during long breaks during Nutcracker rehearsals. Thank you for waiting with us when our parents were running late and for always making us feel so safe and comfortable. Many years have passed since the days when we would quiz you on the names of the Vera Bradley patterns of all of our ballet bags, but we will never forget how much you cared for each of us. You made Charlotte Ballet the special place that it was for all of us and I am grateful. Congratulations on retirement! With love, Elizabeth Corsig
From Willow Butler: “C. Belk-man” is such a positive presence at Charlotte Ballet, especially after long days of class and rehearsal. He shows genuine care for everyone that walks through the building and will be missed so much!
From Ruthie Clark: Captain Belk was such an important constant presence at charlotte ballet. seeing him at the front desk always put a smile on my face. I’ll never forget all the conversations and laughter we had with him throughout our days. I’ll forever be grateful for the kindness and care he showed to each of us whether it was walking us to our car late at night or if we needed to have a tire changed. thank you for everything, Captain Belk! ❤️
From Kate Warner: Dear Officer Belk, Thank you for being such a kind man who is always there to make us feel safe. I appreciate you and I am so grateful you look out for us. we will miss you!!
From Allison Franz: He doesn’t seem to know the concept of the status quo. Just the nature of who he is and how he interacts with others is an example of kindness and exceeding expectations.
From Madison Gerdes: Thank you for everything Captain Belk!!! ♥️
From Gabby Cutrona: Seeing your smile first thing in the morning and at the end of the day going home always brightened my day. It meant so much to me as the new girl my first year how quickly you learned and used my name. Thank you so much for always keeping each and every one of us dancers and faculty safe and in a great mood every day.
From Sarah Bowdoin: He once saw me waiting in the parking lot for Triple A when my car wouldn’t start, and he pulled his car over and jumped it for me! ❤️
From Grayson Driver: I had a lot of ups during my time at Charlotte Ballet, but I also had some challenging moments. Regardless, Captain Belk was always a bright spot in my day. When I had knee surgery the summer after my first year, I wasn’t able to dance, so I spent my time helping out in the office and front desk. Some of my favorite memories from my time in Charlotte are of the Saturday mornings I spent with Captain Belk manning the front desk that summer. Saturdays were slow so we developed a sort of game to pass the time – telling me about his experience on the job. Whether it was hanging out at the front desk together, having him walk me to my car at night, or just chatting about life and getting some much-needed advice from him, he always made my day a little bit better. He’s truly one of the best people I’ve ever known, and I feel lucky to have known him.
From Elena Walker: So kind to me and everyone around and without fail always makes sure I am safe and will put a smile on my face❣️
From Katrina Thomas: Always walked me to my car. He listens really well too always makes me laugh! ❤️
From Anne Mitchener: Captain Belk! The best there is! ❤️
From Chloe Milling: Always made me feel seen and safe. he has the most wonderful presence and such a good heart❤️
From Jill Boyette: There aren’t enough words 😍 I can’t imagine Charlotte Ballet without Captain Belk. He was the steady constant for a generation (or two) of students. It always amazed me how he knew every student – year after year, he was the eyes and ears of that building. He knew what classes they were in, when they were about to be late, what car was picking them up. He would walk you to your car after dark and have a hidden snack when a kid needed one. Truly one of the best human beings on this planet. A legend!
From Heather Ferguson: How is it that Captain Belk doesn’t look a day older but our kiddos have all grown up!? It’s hard to even imagine Charlotte Ballet without him, he’s been such a constant. Not only helping all of us feel safe and secure but lending a helping hand with everything under the sun, and always with a cheerful smile. He will be sorely missed!
From Alexis Hall: Oh my gosh!!!! I used to be the last person at the studio during the week and he always made sure that I was safe getting home from the time I got picked up to the time I was driving away myself. The best officer ever!!! He’s going to be missed!!! Captain Belk thank you SO much for all that you’ve done. I will always remember those Saturday talks before Irania Garcia and I went to get lunch at Subway. We love you!
From Meg Franz: I’ll never forget the immediate warmth that was seeing his smile from behind the desk every day when I came in 🤍
From Melissa Reed: Wow! Such a great, kind guy. He always made sure that we made it to our cars after class or rehearsal and was sure to do it with a joke & a smile. He always made me feel safe and secure.
From Kelsey Smith: He always made me feel welcomed at CLT ballet. He is such a kind person that stayed constant throughout the lives of hundreds of academy kids, someone people needed in such a chaotic industry. we will miss him and the positive energy that he brought to the studio!
From Amalie Chase: Captain Belk has the most incredible memory and one of the biggest, kindest hearts i know!! he always made me laugh despite being absolutely exhausted after a long day of dancing and working behind the front desk. I will miss him and the York patties that he gave me so much!
Elizabeth Truell Green: My second dad in Charlotte!!! ❤️ What a wonderful person. He supported me from being in the school and through all of my years in the company. He was always there to listen or help in any way that he could. He has even stayed late to change my tire before. He made such an impact on everyone at Charlotte Ballet. He knew everyone’s name and their story. He will be missed so much ❤️ We were so lucky to have him in our lives!!
From Avery Davis: Just the greatest, most kind human! He always walked me to my car on the late dance nights even after graduating and came back for drop-ins! And while walking he always listens to me gabber on about everything!! So so grateful!
From Kate Bivens: Omg going to miss Captain Belk!! Please give him my best, he was always so kind and incredible at his job!! An amazing man 🙌😘
From Nicole Von Enck: Captain Belk is awesome and was such a sweet part of my time at NCDT/Charlotte Balley. Please tell him I wish him the best!!!
From Ryan Pecorella: He always made sure my mom and I were safe and had a good laugh on the way to our car. He’s always got jokes 😂 we love you, Captain Belk!!
From Marley Poku Kankum: Captain Belk was the BEST ever for me. My mom was always worried about me walking to my car and he always watched me no matter what time of night or day it was. He is attentive and loving and truly cares for every student that has come through those doors. I love his character and the care he put into this position. Can’t even begin to thank him. Thank you, Captain Belk, for all of it!!! ❤️
From Rachel Palpant: Oh noooo! We love Captain Belk! God bless you and thank you for all the years of making sure our sweet dancers were always safe!!
From Lexi Bennett: Happy retirement! He stayed late one night and helped me fix my first-ever flat tire! Don’t know what I would have done without him! 🙏🏼🙏🏼
From Madeline Jazz Harvey: He is one of the kindest, most loyal, and dedicated people I have ever met. I always felt safer when he was around and am thankful for his friendly smile at the end of long days! Congratulations on retirement!
From Gabrielle Sevillano: Dear Capt. Belk, you are truly an amazing man! Your demeanor always gave us ballerinas the sense of a father figure making sure we got to our cars safely, great conversations when our parents were late to pick us up, and sometimes funny conversations to cheer us up if we were not having the greatest of the days. You were like our real-life guardian angel making sure nothing would harm us. I will always remember you staying late to make sure my parents picked me up, even when I was the last one left at the studio, and when I was able to drive you would make sure I got to my car safely when it was all dark in that Noda Parking lot. I still remember till this day the joke you made when I got my license “I better not be on the road when you are driving!” There are special people that become part of your day to day and you are one of them Capt. Belk! Wishing you all the best in your new chapter of life! Much love, Gabriela Sevillano (Alumni 2009)
From Minori Tanaka: What a nice man!! Congrats to him!
From Raphael Swan: It’s been roughly 6 years now, but I can still remember Captain Belk’s smile Saturday mornings as us kids came into the studios. Wonderful man and always very kind!
From Betsy Blackmore: Omg Capt Belk! Many were the late nights he would visit me in the costume shop and we would have lovely long conversations on a wide range of topics. His intuitive understanding of humans and human nature always humbled me. He is a very special person who will be sorely missed.
From Hernan Justo: Fantastic human being. Love to spend time with him and just talk
From Kathy Moriarty: Capt. Donald Belk has quite simply given more to Charlotte Ballet than anyone can possibly imagine. There is no Charlotte Ballet Academy without him.
From Abdul Manzano: I miss captain Belk, he is my friend and always helped me back in Charlotte, he knows what I’m talking about traffic Tickets, I often spend time with him talking in the afternoon. After shows. Always looking after students and dancers’ safety. Really really appreciate how much this amazing person did and will always do for the Charlotte ballet and the community. Much love to you.
From Cindy Gray Beers: I so appreciated Captain Belk during my years teaching and sub’ing at Charlotte Ballet! He was always friendly, always helpful, always kind, and we all felt safer because he was there. Very best wishes for your retirement, Captain Belk, and congratulations on a job well done.
From Anita Pacylowski: Captain Belk thank you for your wonderful demeanor and always caring about us. A special moment was his patience when I needed the wall opened/close or a could not get the audio system to work for Nutcracker rehearsals 🤦🏻♀️. You are a perfect example of how a gentleman acts. You are an important part of my wonderful @cltballetacademy days! 🥰 Thank you Captain Belk!
From Katelyn Pounds: Thank you for refreshing my memory on the date of Capt. Belk’s retirement. He has provided much more than security for events and walks to the parking lot in the evening. Capt. Belk is/was known for his lollipop drawer, his listening ear, non-judgmental commentary, assistance with medial tasks as well as large heavy lifts, notification of sports highlights, take-out recommendations, and encouragement.
He was there when I arrived in Charlotte over a decade ago taking adult classes, to let me into the admin offices, when I forgot the code, during my 4 seasons with the Community Engagement department, to close up the space following substitute teaching, to support all of our REACH scholarship students during performances, to greet my firstborn as an infant when I brought him to see the company perform, to later provide a tour of his squad car to my daughter and son, and he created memories with countless Academy families year-round. My son still talks about having the opportunity to turn on the siren in Capt. Belk’s car.
From navigating crowds of students for the Middle & HS Dance Festival, to providing updates when bad weather was prevalent, to watching him run out of the door after witnessing car accidents or people in need, Capt. Belk was always in motion to help. Whether working in the admin offices, teaching, taking class, or volunteering he is the constant in an everchanging scene on N. Tryon Street. Please send him my many thanks.
From Olivier Pardina: I had the pleasure to meeting Capt. Belk during the Summer Intensive for several years now. A great Gentleman!
From Mia Cunningham: Though I didn’t get to spend much time with Captain Belk, it was always a wonderful surprise when I’d show up at Charlotte Ballet and be greeted by his friendly, smiling face. We could all use a lot more Captain Belks in our lives! Sorry to see you go but I’m so happy for you to continue on your life journey, wherever that may take you. Cheers and Congratulations to you!
From Nicole Shank: You have been such an important piece in the Charlotte Ballet puzzle for years. Your warm presence and friendly hand were more appreciated than you’ll ever know. Happy Retirement! -Nicole (Shank) Hannon, 2011-2013
From Colby Foss: What can I say about the awesomeness that is Captain Belk? He is the sweetest, most helpful guy around. He is a genuinely good soul that cares about all of us and has a great sense of humor to boot. The amount of times that he has saved me when it comes to car problems is too many to count. I’m so thankful for his friendship, laughter, and kindness. Charlotte Ballet will be a sadder place without him. Congratulations on your retirement! You will be missed.
From Cameron Holtz: He always kept an eye out and a smile at the ready for Genna Holtz as she trekked back and forth to the Ballet!
From Wanda Ebright: OMG! During my 9.5 years at Johnson C. Smith University, Capt. Belk was such an encouraging and friendly presence, and I knew without a doubt that my students, my family, and I were safe in his care. I have to say i@ pretty choked up right now, because it is so rare to find someone so completely dedicated to the people in his/her care. Thank you, Capt. Belk. You have made all the difference in my life and work. ❤️
From Olivia Atkinson: Captain Belk was always there to make you smile. He completed the Charlotte Ballet family and I couldn’t be more thankful for that wonderful man. You will be missed. We love you Captain Belk. ❤️
From Brooke Atkinson: I was never concerned for my daughter’s safety as long as Captain Belk was there. He is such a fun and friendly man! Always willing to chat, joke, and smile. Happy retirement!
From Missy Owens: I first met Captain Belk through work at the courthouse. He was always so friendly and evoked a sense of calm and security. I was delighted to see him when my then young daughter started at CBA. As a working parent, I never worried when I was running late or occasionally got pick up time wrong. It would always warm my heart to arrive and see Mary sitting and chatting with officer Belk. I would apologize and he would smile and tell me not to worry. As our city has grown and weathered challenges, the sense of assurance that he will protect our daughters has never wavered. I hope he has some sense of what that means to us as parents, knowing that our babies are known and cared for when they are out of our care. He is such a kind and special man. Our family celebrates his deserved retirement, but we will truly miss him.
From Gretchen Jax: Boy am I going to miss Capt Belk!! I remember the summer he was hired because it was my first summer teaching for NCDT academy at the old college street location. I had a late Friday night tap class and I begged Darlene to hire a security guard because it was so sketchy at night at that studio location. He’s simply the kindest and nicest person and I am going to miss him so much!!! Between the two of us we could write the “real history” of NCDT 🤣 He knows as many company secrets as I do!! He’s such a comforting presence at the studio!! There is no replacement that can hold a candle to him!!
From Kati Mayo: I simply cannot imagine my job without Captain Belk. You started at NCDT when I was pregnant with Lola and now you watch as she drives herself to and from the studio. Along the way you have guided her with kindness, laughter, and candy (my dentist loves you!) You have tolerated Declan and basically been his babysitter on evenings when he just couldn’t handle another night in the library 😊 We have survived countless staff, faculty & leadership changes and 3 different studio locations. I’ll miss our discussion about which one of us should audition for the new season of Survivor, your insights on issues and events and your ability to make everyone that meets you feel safe and happy. One special moment that comes to mind was your attendance at one of our long-time student’s mother’s funeral. You and I sat together and as I watched each student come into the church, their faces changed, and they were instantly comforted just by seeing your face.
I’m grateful for your service in our community as well as your dedication to being our security guard, AAA agent/auto mechanic and in studio technical support. Over the past 18 years we have forged a friendship that I am certain will continue with more laughter, text messages and story trading in the future. I congratulate you on your retirement and thank you for being my friend and confidante……. and I’m here to tell you that now you have no excuse not to audition for Survivor 😊!!!!!!
From Logan McSwain: Captain Belk went so above and beyond his role. Charlotte Ballet was a more welcoming, safe place because of him. He showed such care for everyone he interacted with. He will no doubt be missed!
From Kimberly Pereira: There will never be enough words to thank you Captain Belk. From the moment I arrived at Charlotte Ballet your presence, care, demeanor, sense of humor and kindness provided an immediate sense of community. I met you before I met most of the staff and have loved trading stories ever since. Not sure what I’ll do without you at 5:30 AM on festival mornings or late nights after Reach performances. I know how much you’ll miss those early mornings. You have a way of making each student, parent and staff member feel welcome whether you see them for a day or for years. Congratulations on your retirement. I cannot imagine work without you but I’m incredibly happy for you. Cheers to your next adventure!!
From Bianca Bonner: Nooooo sir you can’t leave us. Boy, will I miss you. I’m so grateful for the many talks and laughs. I remember when I was pregnant with Parker and didn’t quite catch that the restaurant no longer delivered. I was crying (such a big baby) You got right in your car, put the siren on, and got it for me. My children adore you. You’ve watched them more times than I can count with snacks and all. Thank you for always making me smile. Things will not be the same.
From Ben Kubie: Captain Belk is simply part of the DNA of Charlotte Ballet. He knows every dancer, students, parent, staff, and faculty member by name. He knows what they drive and how their engine is sounding. He once let me know I was leaking oil. He knows what parts of town are safe and what areas to avoid. He is simply a gatekeeper of information. He can hold a conversation with you and have his eyes on the entire room at the same time. He displays endless kindness and generosity. He will be greatly missed.
From Lizzy Greene: Dear Captain Belk, thank you for your service and your sense of humor! I wish you all the best – now go relax!
From Veronica Niebuhr: I will miss Captain Belk so much! He has been the heart of the academy for so long. I will miss seeing him with the kids most of all, holding races on the sidewalks with siblings of students and always looking out for everyone. I am so appreciative of his presence at the academy. His kindness will always be felt by all of us.
From Leah Burge: Congratulations to Captain Belk! He has brought assurance, assistance, humor, and happiness to everyone at Charlotte Ballet on a daily basis. I am thankful for every act of service and kindness he has shown me throughout the years (too many to count) and wish him every happiness!
From Jamie Clifton: Captain Belk… to know him is to love him. He brings a feeling of joy and comfort to the studios that nobody else can. I appreciate so much that he asks everyone how they’re doing and gives them space to answer honestly. He makes people feel safe in every way, whether it is to walk to their cars or to have vulnerable and honest conversations. He’s such a positive part of this institution and I really can’t imagine it without him. I wish him great joy in his retirement. He will be missed beyond measure.
From Cambria Dancu: Captain Belk saw so many of us grow up and was always there to put a smile on our faces. He always made sure we were safe and I have so many memories at the studios that he is a part of. Whenever I go back to visit I hope that he is there so I can catch up and say hi 🙂 thank you to captain belk for everything he did during all my years at charlotte ballet. He will be missed!
From Camille Boulware: Captain Belk (aka cbelk) always had our best interest at heart. He never wanted us leaving out the back door so he could make sure we got to our car safe. I have so many great memories with him. From meeting him for the first time during Nutcracker season at the old NODA location, having the Carolina panthers football game playing on Sundays during Nutcracker rehearsal, and his secret candy stash he kept for us. He’s an amazing person with a kind soul. Enjoy retirement!!
From Lola Mayo: Adios Captain Cowboy Belk—I will really miss you a lot!
From Lara Bircack: Captain Belk’s kind soul and presence will definitely be missed at Charlotte Ballet. I was so lucky to have grown up with him at the studios. There are so many memories I have from Watching Shark Tank with him in our breaks, raiding the candy drawer, and even the time when he went on stage with us in party scene for Nutcracker. And when I came back to visit Charlotte Ballet, Captain Belk was always so welcoming and he made it as if I never left. I am so grateful to have been a member of CBA (Captain Belk Academy). We will miss you Captain Belk! – All the love❤️
From Nana Sledzieski: I found it kind of incredible that Capt. Belk was ALWAYS there, smiling, alert, and ready to protect students, staff, and parents in a way that wad quite unique for a front door guard. I may be wrong, but I believe that was on top of other employment. Yet, he made his presence into a vocation. Finally, I am surprised that no one mentioned candy, which shows you that he is also “sweet.”