Artistic Directors

ron cunninghamcarinne binda chair

Under the artistic vision and creative leadership of husband and wife team, Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, the Sacramento Ballet has risen to national prominence for its artistic excellence and outstanding work in the community. Serving with distinction for 29 years, they have transitioned the company from a small regional ballet to an integral centerpiece in the rich cultural tapestry of Northern California.

Having enjoyed extensive international careers as performing artists, Ron and Carinne have brought a wealth of experience, knowledge, and creativity to the Sacramento Ballet. They have added over 50 world premieres and 50 Sacramento premieres to the repertory, including 18 masterpieces by the great George Balanchine. Ron Cunningham has created or staged over 75 of his original ballets to define the company’s aesthetic with signature works such as: Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Alice in Wonderland, Hamlet, Carmina Burana, Dracula, A Streetcar Named Desire, Etosha, and most recently The Great Gatsby and Peter Pan. Ron Cunningham’s The Nutcracker incorporates almost 500 children each year, making it the largest cast of children in a professional production anywhere in the world. Together, they have invented dozens of initiatives designed to deepen, broaden, and diversify audiences with innovative programs such as Modern Masters, Beer & Ballet, Inside The Director’s Studio, Living Sculptures, Red Hot Valentine Nights, and the Capital Choreography Competition. In 2007, the company made its first international tour to the People’s Republic of China, receiving accolades and praise in both Shanghai and Beijing.

Ron and Carinne have been in the vanguard of forging creative partnerships with their fellow arts organizations for many years. They have fostered outreach programs to over 40 different social service agencies, and full immersion education programs for children at risk in elementary, middle, and high schools. Together as a team, Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda embody the Sacramento Ballet’s mission statement to engage, inspire, and educate through the powerful vehicle of dance.

In recognition of their 26 years of service to the community, Ron and Carinne were the recipients of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sacramento Arts & Business Council. They were the first Artists to be recognized in this category.