The Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Gari Boehm and Patricia Thornton, has advanced the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre’s vision of creating a dance repertory and further promoting the arts in the community.
First founded in 1963 by Frank and Irina Pal, the artistic directorship was passed on in 1988 to the couple Patricia Thornton and Gari Boehm. Through their fresh perspective and vigorous leadership, the scope of WFBT was dramatically increased. Boehm and Thornton created a new syllabus, and via their inspirational teaching styles, augmented the level of ballet within the school and company. Under their directorship, WFBT has received the honor of having been one of 30 companies recognized nationally as an Honor Company by the Regional Dance Amercia for consistent artistic and technical excellence. During this time only 3 of the 24 companies in the Southwestern Region have been on Gala for 10 consecutive years. These three companies were from Houston, Dallas, and our very own Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre. Many former companies of Regional Dance America have gone on to become the professional ballet companies found across America today.
The studios and facilities of Boehm Ballet are used for rehearsals, auditions, and development of choreography for the WFBT. Every year, WFBT holds open auditions for participation in its upcoming season – September through June. Area newspapers are sent notices for posting. Auditions are conducted by judges from outside the area.
The Nutcracker, choreographed by Gari Boehm and Patricia Thornton, was first performed on December of 1992. This remarkably successful venture set a new standard for originality, quality, and popularity, evidenced by record breaking ticket sales and rave reviews. The Nutcracker continues to attract and entertain progressively larger audiences throughout Texhoma every year.
The Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre is also proud of its free program to the Texhoma school children, An Afternoon With the Arts. Presented annually to a full house of 5,600 attentive students at Memorial Auditorium, the performing arts education is wrapped up in dymanic entertainment.
In addition to these major performances the WFBT continues to share its talents as a featured performer with the other arts organizations in its community.