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Image for Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Dayton Ballet

Peter Pan (Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes)

This performance includes a 20-minute intermission.

About the Ballet

The timeless story of Peter Pan extols the virtues of eternal youth and of keeping our childlike wonder. Choreographer Septime Webre tells this beloved tale through the magic of dance, filled with notable moments set to thrill audience members of any age. Peter and Wendy take flight right before our eyes in the Schuster Center, joined by a cast of cherished characters: the swashbuckling Pirates, the wandering Lost Boys, the menacing Captain Hook and his toothy cohort the Crocodile, and of course, the sparkling and spritely Tinkerbell! With fun-filled choreography, rich with humor and including witty nods to classic ballets, and enchanting music by Carmen DeLeone, Dayton Ballet’s trip to Neverland will surely keep us all young at heart!

Ballet Series Sponsor

Thank you to the following Ballet series sponsor:

The Shubert Foundation

Talk Backs with Dayton Ballet Dancers

Stick around after the show for a Talk Back given from the stage in the Schuster Center with Dayton Ballet company dancers!

Friday: Jonathan Carter, Isaac Jones, Emily Luria, and Katy Gilliam

Saturday: Mia Sanchez, Olivia Mitchell, Harrison Broadbent, and Eric McIntyre 

Sunday: Cole Rodgers, Lukas Pringle, Jasmine Getz, and Claire Bergman

Farewell to Karen Russo Burke

The Burke Legacy: 30 Years of Ballet in Dayton

The Burke Legacy began in 1993 when Dermot was appointed Director of the Dayton Ballet Association (DBA). When he, his wife Karen, and their young son, Daniel, moved to Dayton, little did they know the profound effect their talents, commitment, and kindness would have on the community. Much to their delight, their family has grown to include Kevin and Margaret and two grandchildren. Their Dayton Ballet family has grown too. Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives have been impacted by their commitment to Dayton Ballet and its School, their steadfast dedication to honor and to share the legacy of founders Josephine and Hermene Schwarz, and to create a better Dayton through dance.  

During their 30 years leading Dayton Ballet, Karen Russo Burke and Dermot Burke have created and presented 23 full-length ballets and approximately 130 new works.  


Dermot Burke, Artistic and Executive Director (1993-2011) 

The Nutcracker (2) * 

An American Cinderella* 

An American Robin Hood* 

There Was a Time* 

West Side Story* (collaboration with Dayton Philharmonic) 

Taming of the Shrew  


Septime Webre’s Peter Pan 

Septime Webre’s Swan Lake 

Romeo and Juliet 


Christopher Fleming’s The Who’s Tommy 

A Midsummer’s Night Dream 

Alan Hineline’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

The Three Musketeers 

During his time at Dayton Ballet, he commissioned 23 choreographers new to Dayton that produced 65 additions (including eight of his own) to Dayton Ballet’s repertory. Highlights include Alvin Ailey’s Feast of Ashes; Gerald Arpino’s (Joffrey Ballet) Trinity; Christopher Fleming’s The Who’s Tommy; George Balanchine’s (NYC Ballet) Tarantella Pas de deux and Anthony Tudor’s (American Ballet Theatre) Cereus

*Works by Dermot Burke 


Karen Russo Burke, Artistic Director (2012-2023) 

Full-Length Ballets 

The Nutcracker** (including a sensory-friendly version) 

Sleeping Beauty, the Story of Briar Rose** (including a sensory-friendly version) 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow** 


Dracula, Bloodlines** 

The Great Gatsby 

Butterfly Suite** 

Hyding Inside** 

Choreographic Collaborations as the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance 

7 Season Opening productions. 

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op, 125 “Ode to Joy” 

Haydn’s The Creation 

Verdi’s Messa de Requiem  

Carmina Burana 


The Pearl Fishers 

**Works by Karen Russo Burke 

Karen Russo Burke commissioned 25 new works from sixteen contemporary choreographers, thirteen of whom are female. Additionally, Karen choreographed 30 repertory works, adding 55 new ballets to Dayton Ballet’s repertoire. Highlights include Jessica Lang’s From Foreign Lands and Places; Jiri Kylian’s (Dance Theatre of the Netherlands) Sechz Tanze; Anthony Tudor’s (American Ballet Theatre) The Leaves are Fading Pas de deux; and Gerald Arpino’s (Joffrey Ballet) Light Rain. Karen’s critically acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire featured an original score. She also wrote the libretto for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Dracula, Bloodlines, which included collaborating with a composer to create a score. 

Notable Accomplishments and Projects 

The Next Step Fund- With the assistance of Dayton Ballet patron and friend Susan Kettering, Dermot Burke established and implemented a fund available to cover the cost of tuition at Sinclair Community College for the professional dancers at Dayton Ballet.  

Vision 20/20- Led by Dermot Burke, Vision 20/20 was a fully funded $3 million campaign to support the development of new full-length ballets at Dayton Ballet.  

Sensory-Friendly Ballets- Karen Burke saw the need to present ballet to the part of the community who could not attend regular ballet performances because of sensory sensitivities, autism spectrum disorders, or other special needs. As a result, Dayton Ballet presented its first sensory-friendly ballet, The Nutcracker, in 2018. A second sensory-friendly ballet Sleeping Beauty: The Story of Briar Rose, soon followed.  

First Female Nutcracker- Karen introduced the first female as the character of “The Nutcracker,” Miranda Dafoe, in 2019 and featured in Pointe Magazine.  

New Music, New Dance- Recognizing a need for music explicitly created for dance and opportunities for composers and choreographers to expand their repertoire and exposure, Dermot Burke created a nationwide, adjudicated competition called New Music, New Dance.  

Dance Power- In partnership with the Downton Dayton YMCA, Dermot was integral in securing funding and creating programming for a free program offering latch-key and inner-city children to learn the art of dance. Karen Russo Burke was the coordinator of the program. 

Sneak Peeks- Karen began the current Sneak Peek program for the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance guests to attend an in-studio peek at upcoming ballet productions, including watching a rehearsal, Q & A’s with composers, choreographers, and a look at costumes and set for the show.  

After thirty years, it seems safe to say the Dayton community and arts supporters have embraced the Burke family and respect the impact they made together. Some may say they love Dermot and Karen like they are family. I know I do, and I am not alone. 

“At the end of the day,” said Karen and Dermot, "we are proud to say we have helped create thousands of outstanding citizens that may not have danced professionally but learned to love and respect the art form.”  

You have Karen and Dermot, more than you will ever know. 


Submitted by Diane Schoeffler-Warren 

Director of Communications, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, present 

Director of Marketing and PR, Dayton Ballet Association, 2003-2011 

Mother to Dayton Ballet School student and member of DBII, Senior 

Discover the 2023-2024 Ballet Series

Dayton Ballet moves into its 86th season with the artistry and athleticism Dayton audiences have come to expect. The 2023-2024 Season begins with a Season Opening Celebration: Prince Orlofsky’s Grand Masquerade in collaboration with Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic to bring Act 2 of Johann Strauss, II’s Die Fledermaus (The Revenge of the Bat) to life.

In October, have a hauntingly good time with Dracula: Bloodlines—just in time for Halloween. Get into the holiday spirit with the magical, family-friendly tale of The Nutcracker. Fall in love with Swan Lake in February set to Tchaikovsky’s romantic score. The season concludes with a repertory performance titled New Beginnings introducing the new Artistic Director of Dayton Ballet.

Learn more and subscribe at daytonperformingarts.org/ballet

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