The Charleston Ballet, the official West Virginia State Ballet, was formed in 1956 by Andre Van Damme. Mr. Van Damme achieved great success in his native Belgium as the first star dancer with the Royal Opera. His vision was to provide stage experience in a professional atmosphere for West Virginia dancers and to create a greater appreciation for the art of ballet.
The troupe has been a pioneer among regional ballet companies in the United States. For nearly 6 decades, the civic troupe has enriched the cultural life of West Virginia, performing hundreds of traditional and original ballets. Known for its artistic integrity and discipline, the ballet also has been one of the most socially responsible groups in the community.