Union County Youth Ballet - Directed by Bonita Simpson
The beauty of Tchaikovsky’s incomparable score provides the inspiration for the Union County Youth Ballet as they take the stage each December in Wingate, NC. Young Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, the magical Christmas tree, and the dance of the Sugar Plum provide unforgettable memories for young children and adults alike. ballet’s choreography continues to endure with brilliance – thanks to skillful dancers, elaborate set designs, and stunning costumes. At the forefront, artistic director Bonita Simpson often introduces new embellishments to keep things fresh, yet her nostalgia for the traditional choreography shines through.
Some of Simpson’s recent restorations on full display include the new costumes for the Waltzing Flowers, re-incorporation of certain props and scenery, and new choreography with more male & female partnered dances throughout. Subtle details, like actual snow flurries during the snow scene, are an acknowledgment that magic will always abound during this season, especially at the ballet.
Bonita Simpson, a Union County native, is the owner of Bonita’s School of Ballet and has been the Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer for the Union County Youth Ballet since it’s inception in 1993. In December she completed her twenty-fourth Nutcracker with UCYB.
She is certified by the Cecchetti Council of America, the Royal Academy of Dance, and most recently, American Ballet Theater. The training at her school is designed to develop the qualities of a professional dancer with strong classical technique, musicality, coordination, dedication, and a commitment to the art form. Simpson’s uncompromising commitment to classical ballet remains her preoccupation as a choreographer and teacher, and is the foundation of the training. She strongly believes in developing the students’ technique while fostering their love of dance. Recently, Simpson was honored to have been awarded 2015 Dance Teacher of the Year by Charlotte Ballet. In 2005, Simpson formed Monroe City Ballet, a pre-professional company division of UCYB, to give some of the dancers more opportunities to learn and perform classical ballet. In 2005, Simpson began the Dance Chance Program to reach students in local Title 1 Schools with the art of dance.
Bonita is married to Richard Simpson. Together, they have one daughter, Tara Simpson Beaver, who is following in her mother’s footsteps in teaching dance.