Professor of Dance
Bettijane Sills has had an extensive theatrical career. She appeared on the Broadway stage and on television as a child actress, and was invited by George Balanchine in 1961 to join New York City Ballet. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1963, dancing principal roles in many works, including Western Symphony Divertimento #15 and The Nutcracker. She also received critical acclaim as the Wife in Jerome Robbins’ 1972 revival of The Concert. Ms. Sills, a tenured professor, has served on the Conservatory of Dance faculty at Purchase College since 1979. She is responsible for staging Balanchine repertory and has choreographed numerous works for the Purchase Dance Corps as well as choreographing for several companies throughout the United States. In 1996, Ms. Sills had the pleasure of staging Balanchine’s Serenade for students at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and in September 2006, was designated by the Balanchine Trust to stage Allegro Brilliante for the Orlando Ballet in Florida. In January 2007, Ms. Sills was back in Asia to stage Serenade for the Taipei National University of the Arts.
Since 2003, Ms. Sills has enjoyed being the Artistic Director of the Conservatory of Dance's annual production of Nutcracker. In addition to co-chairing the Conservatory of Dance for the year 2009-2010, she was also co-artistic director of the 2010 spring concert for which she staged Balanchine’s Serenade. She is currently involved in the filming of a new documentary about George Balanchine called “In Balanchine's Classroom.” Ms. Sills’ summer teaching regularly includes classes for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA. She was honored to be asked by Marcia Dale Weary, director of CPYB, to choreograph a new ballet, Masquerade, in May 2009, which was performed in their June Series at the Whitaker Theatre in Harrisburg, PA, that same year.
Ms. Sills was invited by the artistic director of the New Jersey Ballet to set Masquerade on the company and it was premiered in November 2010 in Morristown, NJ. The Ballet was performed again in March, 2011, at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ. In April/May of 2011, Ms. Sills presented Masquerade danced by the Purchase Dance Company in the annual spring concert produced by the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. She was invited back to Carlisle, PA, to stage Masquerade and revive a work previously choreographed, Voyage Dans La Lune, for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Both ballets were performed at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, PA in June, 2011.
Email Bettijane Sills at Bettijane.Sills@purchase.edu