Demi-Soloist Dominic Ballard was born into ballet. “My mom had a school for as long as I can remember,” he said. “She would make ballets for her students, grandma sewed the costumes, grandfather would make the sets, and my sister’s, and I danced.”

Ballard excelled in tap dance, jazz, and musical theater, then at age 12, started taking ballet more seriously, with the goal of becoming a professional ballet dancer. He grew up in Albury, New South Wales in Australia, then trained at the Australian Ballet School during his teen years, but the move was a difficult time for him.

“It was challenging to move from my relatively small, suburban beginnings, into a major capital city in Australia,” he said. “Being a country kid is actually wonderful, but it can be really intimidating to enter this elite national institution.”

At age 18, with the support of his family, he left for Europe and spent three months auditioning for professional companies. Ballard received many nos, but eventually got a yes, which led him to his professional ballet career with the National Ballet of Slovakia.

“I was young and had a lot to learn, but I was just so excited,” Ballard said. “This was the dream. I was in a real ballet company. They had a real theater, live orchestra, and European ballet dancers. It was so glamorous to me and I loved it.”

He later joined the Philadelphia Ballet in 2016, then Ballet West in 2017 and was promoted to Demi-Soloist in 2022. Having danced in several places around the world, he has learned various styles of dance.

“In Slovakia, there was a strong Russian influence and we did a lot of big Petipa classics,” he said. “Coming to America, I experienced a lot more twentieth-century, modern ballets and neoclassical works. As I have learned more about the art form, its legacy has become my inspiration. To be a part of this really long history and lineage of artists, continuing to learn and share it, and helping others to appreciate it.”

During Ballard’s off time, away from ballet, he enjoys doing arts and crafts, baking, and decorating