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The 1960s

The State Ballet of Rhode Island (SBRI) was founded in 1960 through the efforts of Herci and Myles Marsden and a group of sixty enthusiastic Rhode Islanders. It has come to serve as a creative outlet for
composers, musicians, writers, painters, lighting technicians, costume designers, and choreographers, as well as dancers.


  • November 19, 1960 – SBRI has its premiere performance in Rhode Island at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
  • Coppélia has its premiere in Rhode Island in 1962 before an enthusiastic crowd.
  • SBRI represents RI several times at the New York World’s Fair and Eastern States Expositions.
  • In the interest of cultural exchange, SBRI receives a grant from the National Endowment for
    the Arts and Humanities to invite Croatian choreographer/dancer Oskar Harmos to assist
    SBRI in staging the first American production of Stranger (1968).
  • Isobel Harris Sheppard composes Ballet from Another Planet for SBRI. First performance is on
    the ocean rocks in Turnberry, Narragansett (August 1965).
  • George Hirst, a Rhode Island composer, writes Marche for Herci Marsden, SBRI.
  • SBRI dances at the State House’s annual observances of Lincoln’s Birthday in the 1960’s.
  • At the annual University of Rhode Island Arts Festival, SBRI performs Destiny on April 27,
    1965 in Kingston, RI.
  • For the first time in Rhode Island, SBRI performs Giselle to an overflowing audience at Veterans Memorial Auditorium (1964). World-famous Anton Dolin is guest choreographer and
    also plays Hilarion in the production.
  • Capacity audiences see SBRI perform at the Diamond Hill Music Festivals, beginning in 1965.
  • SBRI performs Destiny at the first Performing Arts Festival with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in 1967.
  • SBRI performances are featured at many civic events, including the State House Rotunda and
    at the 325th Anniversary of the City of Providence at Brown Stadium.
  • In 1969, SBRI participates in the filming of a television show for Channel 36 at Rhode Island College.

Giselle – 1964

RI Philharmonic & SBRI – Destiny 1967

Destiny – 1967

Diamond Hill Music Festival – 1965

Romeo and Juliet- 1960
Herci and Myles Marsden
Prima Ballerina and Premieur Danseur

Prince Igor- 1960

Coppelia- 1962

Destiny – 1967

Giselle – 1964

Hamlet- 1967