Founded in 2003, Erie Contemporary Ballet Theatre is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation developed to inspire, educate, and enrich the lives of dancers and the community through outstanding training in and the performance of classical and contemporary forms of dance.

ECBT has collaborated with other dance entities to bring to life the ballet How the Grinch Stole Christmas for twelve seasons. ECBT has performed The Nutcracker for three consecutive years, showcases an annual Director’s Choice performance highlighting new, innovative choreography, presents an interactive storytelling performance designed specifically for children, and offers numerous mini-performances and lecture demonstrations.  We present a master class series open to the public each year, inviting established, emerging, and innovative choreographers, and providing dancers with various performance opportunities.

To date, ECBT has commissioned over 25 original ballets, and had 28 different choreographers create pieces specifically for the ECBT dancers. ECBT is a committed member of the Erie Dance Consortium, a collaborative effort of dance directors and companies that encourages artistic enrichment in the Erie area.

ECBT is an Honor Company of Regional Dance America Northeast.  The prime purpose of Regional Dance America has been to decentralize dance throughout the United States by creating standards and fostering quality at all levels of development to provide professional performance opportunities for dancers and audiences throughout the United States and Canada.  ECBT dancers have been invited to perform in Pittsburgh, PA, Harrisburg, PA, Philadelphia, PA, Dayton, OH, Manchester, NH, Phoenix, AZ, and Montreal, Québec Canada.

In June 2016, ECBT hosted Regional Dance America’s Northeast annual dance festival.  This three-day event gathered 14 dance companies and over 250 dancers from the northeast region of the United States and offered three daily master classes with a performance each evening.  The works by each company were chosen by RDA/NE adjudicator, Gary Taylor, the Artistic Director of High Point Ballet in High Point, NC.  The classes, housing, and meals were located at Mercyhurst University, and the evening performances were held at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. ECBT was chosen to perform all three nights and closed the event at the Gala Performance on Saturday evening. In May 2019, ECBT will again be hosting this event.

ECBT is successful because of the many supporters that understand the mission and vision of the company. ECBT has been fortunate to receive funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Erie Arts and Culture, the Shuster Foundation, the Black Family Foundation, the Erie Community Foundation, and the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority as well as many local, corporate, and individual gifts that support the commissioning of guest teachers and guest choreographers. Partnerships are an amazing opportunity to invest in the dancers, choreographers, and the community through public educational activities and a variety of performances that engage diverse audiences while developing the knowledge and appreciation of classical and contemporary forms of dance.