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Kim Pauley

Kim Pauley

For many seasons, leading roles in Charleston Ballet productions were performed by principal Kim Pauley. In May 1989, Ms. Pauley assumed the additional position of director/ choreographer for the company, following in the footsteps of her mentor, the late Andre Van Damme, founder and director of the Charleston Ballet from 1956–1989. She also directs and runs the official school, American Academy Ballet. In addition to her association to Van Damme, she studied in New York with David Howard, Simon Dow, Irina Kolpakova, Oleg Briansky, the Joffrey Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and with Laura Alonso and Haydee Gutierrez.

Ms. Pauley is also the resident choreographer of the Charleston Ballet. She has created many original works for the company including THE SEASONS, AFRICAN IMAGES, SHE LOVES YOU (to the music of the Beatles), ELEMENTS, DOODLE DANDY, ANOTHER LIFE (to the music of Sting), RHAPSODY IN BLUE, POULENCE PIANO CONCERTO, an original staging of ONDINE, and ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL to an original score by Grant Cooper. With composer Evan Mack, she created the world premiere of PINOCCHIO. The original ballet SQUAREDANCE premiered to music of the late West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd’s fiddle music. She has collaborated for several concerts with the Montclaire and Pittsburgh’s Beo String Quartets, creating choreographies to their original chamber music. Recently, her world premiere of DRACULA: THE SEDUCTION was presented with music composed by Anthony DiLorenzo.


She has created revivals of Van Damme works such as THE FLAPPERS, RUSSKAYA KARUSEL, and REHEARSAL AT TEN to allow the company members to experience his ballets and choreographic styles.

During her career, Ms. Pauley has partnered with many outstanding principal dancers in a wide range of dancing styles. Some of these principal artists includes Simon Dow, Australian Ballet; Petter Jacobsson, former artistic director of Royal Swedish Ballet; Raymond Rodriguez, former Cleveland Ballet principal; William Starrett, now director of Columbia City Ballet; Yves de Boutieller; and William Pizzuto, former soloist with Boston Ballet.

She had extended partnerships with Ariel Serrano, director of Sarasota Cuban Ballet School; Boston Ballet principal Devon Carney, now artistic director of Kansas City Ballet; Miguel Campaneria, former principal of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre; and Olivier Wecxsteen, former principal with Boston Ballet and Les Grand Ballets Canadians.

She has been the recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Individual Artist given by the Fund for the Arts. The Charleston Ballet received the outstanding organization award in 1998. She also received the Women of Achievement award from the YWCA (2006) and honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Charleston (2007).

Many original ballets were created for Ms. Pauley by Van Damme and others including MISS EMILY by Jerry Rose, REFLECTIONS and DELIRIUM by Miguel Campaneria, and INTROSPECTIVE and QUARTET 42 by Olivier Wecxsteen. Oleg Briansky created COUNTRY MOON (to songs of Patsy Cline) for Pauley and Devon Carney and the three also collaborated for the American premiere of Briansky’s ROMEO AND JULIET pas de deux to Tchaikovsky’s overture.

She has danced in and presented a wide variety of different ballets and modern works, performing with many different guest artists and guest choreographers. Some of these include Laura Alonso’s EPITAFIO, PAQUITA with Hartford Ballet’s Tim Melady; prize-winning Japanese choreographer Saeko Ichinohe’s MADAM BUTTERFLY PAS DE DEUX; Yves de Bouteiller’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND; BOLERO by Flamenco artist Luis Montero; TWIN SOUL by Petter Jacobsson; Campaneria’s MAJISIMO, REPETITION, and GRADUATION BALL; Serrano’s premiere of LEYENDA DEL RIO; Shane O’Hara’s LISBOA; James Canfield’s THIRD STAGE; CRUMBLING by Canadian Edgar Zendejas; and Balanchine’s WHO CARES?.

Ms. Pauley also performed in many of the classical ballets that she staged for the company including LES SYLPHIDES, SWAN LAKE, COPPELIA, LA FILLE MAL GARDEE, PAQUITA, SLEEPING BEAUTY, NUTCRACKER, and GISELLE. She appeared as a guest artist with Serrano in NUTCRACKER in Warren, Ohio, and traveled to Port au Prince, Haiti, to perform COPPELIA with Armando Seda. She and Wecxsteen appeared as guest artists for the West Virginia Dance Festival performing SWAN LAKE Act II and Campaneria’s TANGOS.

Unique projects, collaborations, and events have included the Eucharistic Festival for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and educational and participatory performances THINK ON YOUR FEET with Steven Annegarn of Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Michael Kaiser of Virginia Ballet Theater. The company collaborated several times with WOMANSONG and Landau Murphy Jr., and many Bollywood events with the India Association of Greater Charleston and the Tri-State India Association. She recently collaborated with the Huntington Museum of Art creating a short ballet IN THE SPIRIT OF THE BAUHAUS to an original score by Matt Jackfert. She choreographed and staged WEST SIDE STORY with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and produces the annual NUTCRACKER performances with them. She presented the Charleston Ballet’s 50th anniversary (2005–06) and 60th anniversary (2015–16) performance celebrations and assisted in the Emmy Award-winning documentary of film director and producer Deborah Novak: ANDRE VAN DAMME AND THE STORY OF THE CHARLESTON BALLET.