Andrew & Cheryl Rist established the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota in 1987 in St Paul’s artistic hub, Lowertown. The first year included a Nutcracker lecture/demonstration performed to about 150 people at St Paul’s Galtier Plaza. Today, the Nutcracker is presented to an annual audience of over 10,000. The Nutcracker production was presented under the name Ballet Minnesota even though the name was not officially incorporated until 1990. In May 1988 the first Minnesota Dance Festival was produced at the St Paul Student Center Theater on the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus. Ballet Minnesota assumed full responsibility for the Festival in 1990. The first official performance by Ballet Minnesota was held in the lobby area of the St Paul City Hall as a tribute to then mayor George Latimer. Ballet Minnesota has developed four major pillars to their annual season: the FALL Concert, the Classic Nutcracker, the Minnesota Dance Festival including staging of the Spring Classic, and the summer River Songs. Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota is the official school of Ballet Minnesota.
Ballet Minnesota Milestones
1987 First production of the Nutcracker choreographed by Andrew Rist.
1987 Andrew & Cheryl Rist bring together a group of professional dancers and perform under the name Ballet Minnesota.
1988 First Minnesota Dance Festival presented at the St Paul Student Center Theater, St Paul.
1990 Ballet Minnesota formally established as a non-profit company and Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota declared the official school.
1992 Youth Concert Series established (performances in Schools)
1993 CBA presents the first Summer DANCECAMP at Camp Ojiketa in Chisago City, Minnesota
1994 At The Museum choreographed by Andrew Rist to an original score by Robert E Hindel, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between Rist & Hindel.
1994 Summer River Songs tour with Folksinger Charlie Maguire established
1996 2nd Act of Swan Lake presented at the O’Shaughnessy.
2002 ‘La Bayadere’ presented at the Fitzgerald Theater
2003 Jim Arnold begins to build sets for Ballet Minnesota & CBA
2003 Full length ‘Copellia’ presented at the Fitzgerald Theater.
2003 ‘Italian Symphony’ choreographed by Andrew Rist and presented at the Fitzgerald
2005 Full length ‘Giselle’ presented at the Fitzgerald Theater
2006 Ballet Minnesota begins participating2006 in the annual Grand Old Days Parade.
2006 First FALL Concert presented at the St Paul Student Center Theater. St Paul
2006 ‘Black Dog Cafe’ choreographed by Andrew Rist for the FALL Concert.
2007 2nd ‘Taste the Arts’ presented at the Fitzgerald Theater
2007 Full length ‘Swan Lake” presented at the Fitzgerald Theater.
2008 ‘Italian Symphony’ & “Black Dog Cafe’ presented at the 2nd Fall Concert, Fitzgerald Theater
2008 Sketches from ‘Rite of Spring’ performed at Bryant Lake Bowl & 20th MDF.
2008 A very successful 20th Anniversary Ball celebrated by Ballet Minnesota.
2008 ‘River Songs’ presented at the Republican National Convention held in St Paul, MN
2008 ‘Beethoven’s 9th Symphony’ presented on the 3rd Fall concert to standing ovations and standing room only performances (3000+ attended). Choreography Andrew Rist
2008 Fitzgerald Theater becomes the official home theater of Ballet Minnesota.
2009 Mozart’s ’40th Symphony’ & Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ presented on the 4th Fall Concert at the Fitzgerald. Choreography: Andrew Rist
2010 The full length ‘Sleeping Beauty’ presented at the Fitzgerald Theater.
2010 Beethoven’s ‘6th Symphony’ presented on the 5th Fall Concert at SPSC Theater
2011 The full length Don Quixote restaged for the 2nd time by Cheryl Rist. This was the farewell performance of ballerina Oksana Konobeyeva. Matthew Prescott danced the lead role of Basilio.
2012 Cheryl Rist restaged Les Sylphides with Erin Warn & Alexander Smirnov in the lead roles. Ballet School (the third ballet in the Ballerina Girls series) was choreographed by Andrew Rist. Ten Songs from the Messiah were choreographed by Andrew Rist
2019. Andrew Rist choreographed Beethoven’s 2nd Violin Concerto which was presented at EM Pearson Theater at Concordia University.
2020. Unfortunately, theaters were closed during Covid-19. However, choreography on Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony was begun online by Andrew Rist.
2021. ‘The Human Spirit in the Time Of Covid’ was choreographed by Andrew Rist to Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, Mvts 2&3. Since theaters were still restricted capacity, the ballet was filmed by Zandolee Productions as as virtual performance. River Songs was presented at the Target Stage at Harriet Island Regional Park with singer Charlie Maguire, choreography by Andrew Rist, as part of the 32nd Minnesota Dance Festival.