Influencer: Ballet RI Director Kathleen Breen Combes

The former ballerina stays on her toes making the art form accessible starting with a very Providence Nutcracker

Tell us about your role at Ballet RI and your vision for the company.

I am the director, which encompasses both the artistic and administrative leadership of the organization. My overall vision is to bring world class ballet to Rhode Island and provide access to that art for all. I’m focused on breaking down the stereotypes and barriers to entry typically associated with the art form and challenge everyone to reimagine ballet with us.


What is it about Providence and its community that makes it such a great homebase for Ballet RI?

Providence is so many things: interesting, quirky, refined, yet edgy. We have a passion for art here and I think Ballet RI can continue to expand our reach and bring in new audiences who may not know ballet is for them yet.


What are some of your favorite places to visit around the city?

Hope Street is where I spend most of my time, and I just love all the quaint stores on our street with such eclectic offerings. I also have been absolutely blown away by the diversity and quality of food here. Whether it be Mokban Korean Bistro for an incredible bibimbap, Bacaro for a date night, or The Eddy for a drink, I am always so grateful to have so many great food options, and am continually trying out new places!


What can we look forward to at this year’s performance on The Nutcracker?

You can be assured you will see a spectacular show with incredible artists who have moved to Rhode Island to join our professional company alongside our cast of over 100 students. Filled with magic, joy, whimsy, and adventure, there is truly something for everyone. Our Nutcracker has expanded from just four shows in 2019 to 15 shows this year! Providence has embraced our production at The VETS and we are so thrilled this has become a holiday tradition for Rhode Island families. 


Speaking of holiday traditions, have you and your family developed any RI traditions around this time of the year?

Besides seeing 15 performances of The Nutcracker, we also love the Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo, and taking part in the Three Nights of Lights downtown – where you may spot a nutcracker or two as well! December 15-24: The Nutcracker, The VETS,



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