Performing under the auspices of the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Ballet Theatre was founded in December 2002 by returning native son, Gregory Schramel and wife Marjorie Hardwick.
After dancing as Principals and Soloists in Miami City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Dallas Ballet, the couple founded NOBT to offer audiences a unique dance experience steeped in the contemporary traditions honed by such dance luminaries as George Balanchine, Maurice Bejart and Twyla Tharp. The company reflects the decidedly international flavor of the city, drawing professional classical ballet dancers from South America and Europe as well as New Orleans. The artists of NOBT have appeared with or are currently dancing with major ballet companies of North and South America, Europe and the Far East.
NOBT's foremost goal is “to give locally trained dancers an opportunity to thrive in their own community, and to create and express their own personal artistic voice.” Additionally, the artistic directors teach hundreds of underprivileged girls free ballet classes each year through the Girls First program.
Schramel, the artistic director and artistic advisor of the Schramel Conservatory of Dance, is from New Orleans and a graduate of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA). He studied at the School of American Ballet and has danced with half a dozen American companies, performing all over the world. Hardwick, associate director and ballet mistress, and director of the Schramel Conservatory of Dance, is a Dallas native. She, too, trained at the School Of American Ballet in New York and danced with the American Ballet Theatre and most of the same companies as her husband – traveling widely with him. In addition, NOBT has a staff of half a dozen highly qualified dance instructors.