The Sarasota Ballet announced today that Principal Dancer and Assistant Ballet Mistress Kate Honea will be leaving the Company in order to take over as Artistic Director of Colorado Ballet Society. Having built a relationship with CBS over the past several years, Media and Community leaders Matt and Lisa Walsh finalized the purchase of the studios and organization at the start of August, and have established Dex Honea as School Principal and Executive Director, and Kate Walsh-Honea as Artistic Director.
“It’s hard to believe that Kate has been with the Company for 19 years,” says Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “While this is a marvelous opportunity for Kate, we will all certainly miss her dearly. She has been not only a vital member of our Company as a dancer, but also as an ambassador for The Sarasota Ballet. Together with Margaret, one of the highlights of my time as Director has been nurturing and guiding Kate into the Principal dancer she became. She has brought to life so many incredible roles in such an extraordinary variety of works and styles, but perhaps the performance memory of Kate that will always be strongest for me, is that of her role of Lise in Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée.”
During her many years with the Company, Honea has danced works by many of the great masters of choreography, ranging from modern-day masters like Christopher Wheeldon and Sir David Bintley, to the choreographic giants of the 20th century like George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton. Under the coaching and tutelage of Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, Honea learned roles made famous by some of the world-renowned ballerinas of the last century, and garnered critical acclaim in publications across the world.
“I am thrilled for Kate that this opportunity has presented itself for her,” explains Barbieri, “and I wish her great success in this next phase of her ballet career. I’ve always felt that Kate was a member of our family, and her wonderful personality and friendship will be missed greatly. I will of course also miss Kate tremendously as both a dancer and as Assistant Ballet Mistress. She has consistently demonstrated a wonderful work ethic and love of dance, and I will always remember her many remarkable performances.”
In addition to her career on stage, Honea choreographed several works for the professional company as well as The Sarasota Ballet School, Margaret Barbieri Conservatory, and The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company. Over the past three seasons, Honea began to expand her understanding of the ballet world through her work as Assistant Ballet Mistress, working alongside Barbieri and Webb to assist in rehearsals and company classes.
Executive Director Joseph Volpe adds, “For the Colorado Ballet Society and the Walsh family this is a great new chapter. In addition to everything Kate accomplished dancing with the Company, and her work behind the scenes, Kate is an exceptional and intelligent person. I’m happy for her with this new opportunity, but I’m of course sorry to see her leave The Sarasota Ballet.”