Under the artistic leadership of Norbe & Rafaela Risco, Kentucky Ballet Theatre has flourished and looks forward to a bright future. Governed by a Board of Directors, Kentucky Ballet Theatre strives to provide the highest caliber of performing arts to the Central Kentucky community and beyond.
Artistic Director & Acting Executive Director
Norbe Risco has served as Artistic Director of Kentucky Ballet Theatre since 2001. Mr. Risco began his dance training in Camaguey, Cuba, in 1980. He graduated in 1988 from the Professional Art School. Upon graduation, he was invited to dance as a guest artist at the Teatro Nuovo in Turin, Italy. On his return from Italy, Mr. Risco was invited to join the Ballet de Camaguey under the
direction of Fernando Alonso. In 1990, he became Principal dancer and toured to Greece, Cyprus, Brazil, Venezuela, Jamaica, Mexico, Martinique and Guadeloupe Islands. In 1993 he joined the Ballet de Monterrey, Mexico, under the direction of Ann Marie D’Angelo and Fernando Bujones (1995-1996). Mr. Risco has also worked with choreographers and dancers such as Melissa Haydn, Cynthia Gregory, Kevin McKenzie, and Ivan Nagy. He has been a member of Ballet Theater of Chicago and Lyric Opera of Chicago. His repertoire includes roles such as Albrecht in Giselle, Franz in Coppélia, Colin in La Fille Mal Gardée, Dracula in Dracula, Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Siegfried in Swan Lake, and Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. He has also performed Principal roles in Paquita, Raymonda, Napoli, Three Preludes (Ben Stevenson), Le Corsaire (pas de deux), Don Quixote (pas de deux), Diana and Acteon (pas de deux), Romeo and Juliet (pas de deux), Don Jose (Carmen), Nutcracker, and others. Mr. Risco has choreographed a new Nutcracker based on the original version. Other choreographic works include Don Quixote and Degas, as well as his original ballets: Hoops, a comedic tribute to Kentucky basketball, The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, Carmen, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Beauty & the Beast, and for the fall season, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, and The Witches of Doon. In 2012, Mr. Risco choreographed the world premier of “The Night Before Christmas”, which was a tremendous success for the company. In 2016, Mr. Risco presented an exciting season, which included the premier of the new production that he choreographed with his wife Rafaela, “The Little Mermaid”. In 2011, the Kentucky Arts Council awarded the “Al Smith Award” in choreography to Mr. Risco, a very high honor for an artist in the State of Kentucky. Mr. Risco has been part of “Ballet Under the Stars” for 21 years and since 2002, Mr. Risco has directed the event at Woodland Park.
Sponsored by Terry & Rainey Hayes
Brigid L. DeVries
Board of Directors
After Jan Foody's passing in April 2015, Brigid DeVries took the reins as sitting Board President. A member of the original Ballet Guild and board, Brigid has watched Kentucky Ballet Theatre grow into
the successful organization it has become. Brigid not only believes in the educational value of classical dance, but the ability of KBT to serve surrounding communities through its outreach programs. Brigid previously served as the Commissioner of the Kentucky State High School Athletic Association and brings a wealth of management and leadership experience to the organization. Brigid also works with several other non-profits throughout Central Kentucky.
Ballet Mistress & Academy Director
Rafaela Risco, a native of Cuba and now an American citizen, retired as a dancer after the 2009–10 season, and was the principal female dancer of the Kentucky Ballet Theatre since its founding in 1998. She was trained at the Vocational School of the Arts in Camaguey, Cuba. From 1989 to 1994 she danced under the direction of Fernando
Alonso in Ballet de Camaguey. From 1994-1996, Mrs. Risco worked with Ballet de Monterrey under the direction of Fernando Bujones. In 1989, Mrs. Risco receivedboth the Gold Medal and the Grand Prix for best female performance in the UNEAC Competition. She has toured with Ballet de Camaguey to Brazil, Uruguay, Jamaica, Venezuela, Mexico, Martinique, and Guadaloupe Islands. Her classical repertoire includes Principal roles in Giselle, Cinderella, Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), Paquita, Coppélia, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, Romeo and Juliet, Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, La Vivandiere, La Fille Mal Gardée, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Carmen, The Nutcracker, and many others. With her husband, Norbe, they have choreographed The Nutcracker based on the original version, Dracula, The Wizard of Oz, The Witches of Doon, Carmen, Phantom of the Opera, Peter Pan, Beauty & The Beast, The Night Before Christmas and The Little Mermaid. In 2017, Rafaela received the Distinguished Arts Educator of the Year Award from the National Society of Arts & Letters, Kentucky chapter. She is the Costume Designer for KBT and also does most of the staging for KBT’s productions. Mrs. Risco has been part of “Ballet Under the Stars” for 21 years. Since 2003 Rafaela has directed the KBT’s Academy.
Sponsored by Gail Hart & Dan Featherston
Brie Lowry from St. Louis, MO, graduated with her BFA in Ballet and a minor in General Business from the Honors College in May 2011 from Texas Christian University. Ms. Lowry officially retired from performing in fall 2017 after Ballet Under the Stars, fully
transitioning into the company’s Executive Director role for the 20th anniversary season after being appointed to the post in spring 2014.
In January 2017, Brie earned one of four Distinguished Alumna Awards from COCA in St. Louis. During her time as a performing member of the professional company, Brie performed over 50 roles across 35 ballets.
Ms. Lowry’s organizational initatives as the Executive Director focused on marketing, media and public relations strategy, fundraising and development, creative partnerships, grant writing, special events and innovative educational outreach programs in coordination with public performances, promotional and special events and the KBT Academy.
Programs developed and fostered by Ms. Lowry included Bourbon & Ballet with Maker’s Mark, the UK HealthCare hospital performance partnership, touring programs such as the North Florida outreach tour in 2015, the Mountain Arts Center performances and outreach programs, the Dance of Aging Program with the Morning Pointe Foundation and the Collaborative Arts Experience outreach funded by a Junior League grant.