Ballet 180 started as a childhood dream…
I remember sitting on the bus in middle school and thinking about my future dance school and company. I drew pictures of dance positions and choreography and I even started a journal with ideas and inspiration. As I grew older I began saving pennies. Every time I received money in cards for my birthday or for a holiday I would divide the amount into thirds — part for my personal savings, part for my future dance school, and part for my future dance company. After high school my dreams began to take shape into skills acquired through tactical steps. I danced professionally, attended college, read business guides, spoke with knowledgeable leaders, and gained experience in event planning and marketing. I also volunteered time with local organizations and performed mission work. Through these activities, I prepared my heart and my mind for the founding of Ballet 180 and its affiliated school, Ballet 180 School.
When I formed 180, I wanted to harness my passion for dance and my concern for the wellbeing of others by establishing a dance company that broke the mold of traditional ballet. I wanted to make dance accessible, engaging, and inspirational. I am thrilled to say that I’ve been able to lead a professional ballet company with exceptional dancers performing cutting edge work, a school of talented and eager students, and outreach programs that bring dance to the community.
When I see dancers walk through the door of our school I am honored that I get to be a part of their story. I’m proud of how far we have come as an organization and I am so thankful for every person who has been a part of the process. We value each and every dancer at 180, and I look forward to seeing how your individual imprint will help write the next chapter of our story!
Kelly Murray Farrell
Founder and Director
History of Ballet 180
Ballet 180 (originally 180 Dance Company) was founded in 2009 by Artistic Director Kelly Murray Farrell. The contemporary ballet company made its debut in September of 2009 with a successful performance at the Chester County Art Association. In 2013 the company gained its 501 (c) 3 nonprofit status and made a home in Chester County with the opening of the company’s affiliated school, Studio 180, LLC (d/b/a Ballet 180 School).
Ballet 180’s original choreography was booked for festivals, school assemblies, black-tie galas, church services, wedding ceremonies, and other public events. The company was honored to perform with regional and international artists through participation in the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), Philadelphia Dance Collective, the Philadelphia FringeArts Festival, Fringe Wilmington, and Philly’s Got Talent, among others.
The Ballet 180 nonprofit organization dissolved in 2021 and the focus now remains on the growth of Ballet 180 School.