Maria Kowroski became Acting Artistic Director of New Jersey Ballet in November 2021 and Artistic Director in September 2022. Her appointment as Artistic Director has infused New Jersey Ballet with a new creative energy fueling an artistic renaissance in New Jersey. In a short period of time, Ms. Kowroski has expanded the repertory of New Jersey Ballet to include a number of works by renowned choreographers including George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Peter Martins. Ms. Kowroski recently commissioned a new work by Harrison Ball, principal dancer at New York City Ballet. The new work included a collaboration with world renowned fashion designer Zac Posen who designed the costumes. The work’s world premiere was on November 19, 2022 where it received rave reviews and a standing ovation.
Building upon New Jersey Ballet’s sixty-four year history, Ms. Kowroski’s new artistic vision calls for expanding the Company’s repertory, adding performances and venues, expanding workweeks for the artists, establishing new collaborations with other arts organizations and growing community programming that establishes diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Ms. Kowroski plans to leverage her experience and connections with the world’s leading choreographers to bring new repertory to communities throughout New Jersey.
New Jersey Ballet’s Founder, Carolyn Clark, established New Jersey Ballet Company in 1958 with her dance partner from Ballet Theater, George Tomal. Ms. Clark’s vision was to establish a professional dance company for New Jersey while maintaining the highest standards of quality and artistry.
Since the Company’s inception, Ms. Clark advanced New Jersey Ballet to become a renowned arts institution in New Jersey. In 1971, New Jersey Ballet premiered its first performance of Nutcracker at the Paper Mill Playhouse. Ms. Clark invited world renowned dancer and star of the New York City Ballet, Edward Villella, to perform the role of Cavalier. Since the Company’s first performance of Nutcracker, it has become a timeless tradition for families and is New Jersey’s longest running professional production.
During Ms. Clark’s directorship, New Jersey Ballet added a number of full-length classics to the Company’s repertory including, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Don Quixote. The Company was also the first dance company in the United States to present the full-length Esmeralda, which premiered at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Ms. Clark also expanded the Company’s repertory to include master works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Anthony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Robert Joffrey and William Dollar. Additionally, New Jersey Ballet commissioned a number of new works by renowned artists including Edward Villella, Johan Renvall, Robert North, Michael Vernon, Pedro Ruiz and George Tomal to name a few.