Dayton Ballet artistic director to step down at end of this season



Karen Russo Burke will conclude her 10-year tenure as artistic director of Dayton Ballet at the end of the 2022-2023 season, which is also the 85th anniversary of Dayton Ballet and the 95th anniversary of Dayton Ballet School.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also announces a search committee to identify a new artistic director will be led by DPAA board member Rodney Veal.

“My husband (former Dayton Ballet Director, Dermot Burke) and I have been part of the Dayton Ballet since 1993,” said Burke, in a release. “We have worked with many talented artists, dancers, and students and have made lifelong friends with those who served Dayton Ballet as administrators, Trustees, and our backstage crews. Dayton Ballet’s patrons, donors, and subscribers have continuously sustained us through the years. Their consistent loyalty enables the company to celebrate Dayton Ballet’s 85th and Dayton Ballet School’s 95th anniversary seasons. While I am moving on, I hope to continue seeing my ballet friends in the coming years.”

“DPAA supports Karen Russo Burke’s decision to leave Dayton Ballet as she seeks new opportunities,” says DPAA President and CEO Patrick Nugent. “We are grateful for Karen’s many years of service to Dayton Ballet. She led Dayton Ballet as artistic director and talented choreographer as it merged into the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. DPAA celebrates ten years as a single, integrated arts organization and is embracing this time of transition in each of our art forms. We wish Karen happiness as she welcomes a new chapter of her life.”

“Karen Burke is personally responsible for introducing me to ballet, “says Ed Tomme, Chair, DPAA Board of Trustees. “Because of her, I fell in love with ballet. I congratulate her on 30 years with Dayton Ballet, 10 of those years leading it, and wish her all the best in her future.”



As artistic director, Burke led the Dayton Ballet through the merger with Dayton Philharmonic and Dayton Opera, culminating in Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. During her time as artistic director, attendance at Dayton Ballet performances increased by 35 percent. Before she was appointed artistic director, Burke spent 20 years in significant roles at Dayton Ballet, including ballet master and director of DBII Jr. and Sr. Companies (Dayton Ballet’s second companies).

In addition, she has choreographed numerous critically acclaimed ballets for Dayton Ballet such as the current version of “The Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty, the story of Briar Rose, Cinderella,” and DraculaBloodlines.” Next month, she will helm the world premiere of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Burke has also been a mentor and role model for numerous ballet students.

The aforementioned Veal is an independent choreographer and interdisciplinary artist. He currently serves as president of Ohio Dance and is an adjunct faculty member at Stivers School for the Arts and Sinclair Community College. The search for a new artistic director begins immediately.

For more information about DPAA’s 2022-23 Ballet, Opera and Philharmonic seasons, visit

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