Ms. Gardenhire is the Founder and Artistic Director of City Ballet of Los Angeles. As the Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Ms. Gardenhire has developed ballet’s that are classical as well as cutting edge bring new stories and prospective to the ballet. She has also developed a dance institution that reflects the economic and racial diversity of Los Angeles. A scholarship school that offers the lessons of dance to all as well as the professional division that nurtures students to go on to dance professionally.
Robyn Gardenhire is a Los Angeles native who began her dance training with former Los Angeles Ballet, with Irina Kovsmoska and Tatiana Lichine. Gardenhire continued her studies throughout her teenage years at the San Francisco Ballet School and in New York at the American Ballet Theatre School and New York City Ballet’s School of American Ballet (SAB). At age 16, Gardenhire became the youngest African-American to be offered a contract with Joffrey II where she performed at City Center and Jacobs Pillow. She later joined Cleveland Ballet under the direction of Dennis Nahat, and had original works created on her and performed principal roles such as “Choleric” in Balanchine’s Four Temperaments, “Arabian Princess” in The Nutcracker and “Russian Girl” in Serenade. In an effort to expand her artistry, she joined the company of avant-garde choreographer Karole Armitage, touring all over Europe. Upon returning to the United States, Ms. Gardenhire was personally invited to join American Ballet Theatre by Mikhail Baryshnikov and later performed with his White Oak Project working with choreographers Lar Lubovitch and Mark Morris.
During her time at American Ballet Theatre, Ms. Gardenhire was the driving force behind the company’s diversity committee, which introduced minority children to classical dance through their “Build a Ballet” program. Ms. Gardenhire was instrumental in providing many scholarships that were given to minority students to study at the school. Its first student, Misty Copeland, is now a soloist at ABT, Ms. Gardenhire is also an alumni of SAB School of American Ballet (New York City Ballet) and is a founding member of its diversity committee, received 2016-2017 Fellowship from New York City Ballet, was chosen as a PBS Community Champion and is featured in the movie A Ballerina’s Tale The Misty Copland Movie.