Elizabeth DeFanti is the Artistic Director of Montana Ballet Company (MBC) and Director of MBC’s Academy. Ms. DeFanti joined MBC in 2009 and has spent the last 10 years directing, choreographing, teaching, establishing educational outreach, philanthropic, health & wellness programs, and more.
Prior to joining MBC, Ms. DeFanti served as the Interim Artistic Director for Festival Ballet in Providence, RI. She also directed The Dance Center, School of Festival Ballet, taught extensively in the school, and served as Adjunct Faculty for Rhode Island College’s Dance Department, where she specialized in ballet technique.
Ms. DeFanti danced professionally for the Festival Ballet of Rhode Island where she was noted for her principal roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Eaters of Darkness. She was also a member of the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet where she danced soloist roles and received critical acclaim for her portrayal of “Maria” in The Nutcracker. Throughout her career, Ms. DeFanti danced a wide repertory including works by Anton Dolin, Kenneth MacMillan, Arthur Mitchell and George Balanchine, among others.
She made guest appearances with the Mobile Ballet, the Sea Coast Ballet in New Hampshire, and with the Worcester Youth Ballet. She performed in Charleston, South Carolina’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival where she received praise for her portrayal of “Kitri” in the wedding pas de deux of Don Quixote and “Juliet” in the balcony pas de deux of Romeo and Juliet. She also appeared as a principal dancer in two nationally broadcast television commercials.
Ms. DeFanti is passionate about teaching and brings to MBC’s Academy a wealth of knowledge about training dancers in the classical style. Most recently she was accepted to and attended the prestigious Cross Threads Teacher’s Program at the world-renowned Paris Opera Ballet School. Ms. DeFanti herself, began her classical dance training at Festival Ballet with her parents, Christine Hennessy and Winthrop Corey, and additionally spent summers studying at the National Ballet School in Toronto and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.
In addition to her artistic background, Ms. DeFanti has expertise in educating dancers about psychological aspects of dance and performing. She graduated with honors from Brown University with a degree in Psychology. She also holds both a Master of Arts and Master of Education in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and had the privilege of working as a primary therapist in the department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Ms. DeFanti now resides in Bozeman with her husband and two children. She is delighted to be a part of the dance community here, and to create, create, and create some more for the beautiful organization that is Montana Ballet Company.