In September of 1994 Heidi Halt and Sergio Neglia established the Neglia Conservatory of Ballet, to introduce Western New York dance students to a new level of classical training. In 1999 Neglia Ballet Artists was formed, giving Buffalo a true professional performing company. Neglia’s performances have drawn glowing reviews. The Buffalo News raved about our performance of An Evening of Tchaikovsky stating, “Their spectacular productions filled with world-class dancing rival any in the region.”
Heidi Halt is the Executive Director and co-founder of Neglia Ballet Artists and the Conservatory. A Buffalo native, she has performed and taught extensively across North America and performed nearly all of the classical repertory, as well as works by Balanchine, and many renowned contemporary choreographers. Heidi has co-produced all of Neglia’s productions, performed in several of them and has choreographed several pieces for the company. Ms.Halt was successful in securing the rights for Neglia Ballet to perform an excerpt of George Balanchine’s ballet Agon and in 2012 secured the rights from the Balanchine Trust to perform Balanchine’s masterpiece “Serenade.” A critical and public success, it was the first time a local company has ever been granted permission to perform a Balanchine work.
Halt also initiated a successful partnership with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra since 2006 as well as developing a new dance program with Canisius College which ran from 2010-2013.
Sergio Neglia is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Neglia Ballet Artists. Born in Argentina, Sergio began studying ballet at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires where his father was a renowned dancer. At thirteen he won a scholarship to the famed Bolshoi Ballet, and at sixteen was a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet, hand-picked by George Balanchine. Sergio has danced as a soloist with Cincinnati Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Santiago Ballet of Chile and many other companies worldwide. In addition to appearing as a guest performer, Sergio is a sought after instructor and has taught master classes throughout Japan, Argentina and the United States. An inspiration to the local community, he was recognized in 2006 as the Hispanic Artist of the Year by Hispanics United of Buffalo and in 2012 for his outstanding contribution to the arts by the City of Buffalo. In November 2015 he will be presented with an “ The Pride of Argentina” award in New York City by The Argentine Cultural Center.
Under the strong leadership of the Neglias and the organization’s Board of Directors, Neglia Ballet has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization since it received its 501(3c) in 1999. The company, which started with a budget of $0 in 1994 and $32,000 in 1999 grew to $190,000 by 2004, and has a current projected budget of $450,000.
Neglia Ballet Artists offers a season of four productions, two of which are performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Shea’s Performing Art Center. No other ballet company, local or otherwise has ever produced more than one full-length production with the BPO within a single year.
The Neglia Conservatory holds classes 6 days a week for approximately 100 students. The Conservatory has been successful in identifying and nurturing young talent and many have gone on to have careers with the careful guidance of Heidi Halt and Sergio Neglia.
Neglia Ballet’s CityDance program allows children in the Buffalo Public Schools to learn about dance through lecture/demonstrations, live performances, and dance classes at their schools free of charge. Students with particular promise are offered scholarships to the Conservatory.
Neglia Ballet’s summer program, a five week intensive training program, offered since 2004, is gaining recognition as an international training center with students attending locally, nationally and internationally including students from Canada, Japan and Argentina. Out of town students stay in housing provided by Buffalo Seminary High School (Sem)
Local, Regional, National and International Significance
Locally, Neglia is recognized for its world-class productions, high caliber training and outreach efforts in bringing dance to public school children in the Buffalo area. Nationally, we have brought dancers from recognized companies such as Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre to perform in our productions. Impressed by the quality of work we do on our limited budget their shared praise improves our reputation as well as the desire for professionals to come to Buffalo to perform. Several of our students attend prestigious summer programs on full scholarships, attesting to the superior training offered at our Conservatory. Internationally, we have ties in Argentina and Japan. In Argentina Sergio Neglia is renowned as a dancer and his father was an icon of dance throughout the country. Regularly teaching throughout Argentina has spurred a great interest in students wishing to train in Buffalo for extended periods. We also brought world acclaimed ballet teacher, Mario Galizzi from Argentina to Buffalo to work with our summer students and with professionals during our season. Silvina Vaccarelli, a ballerina from the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, performs with us in two to three productions per year.
Sergio Neglia has represented Neglia Ballet in Buffalo’s sister city in Kanazawa, Japan in 2009 and 2012. These workshops have resulted in bringing several students from Japan to train in our summer program. In the fall of 2012, a student from Kanazawa began studying at Neglia for a semester while attending Buffalo Seminary and will continue through her senior year 15/16. Last year, Sergio taught workshops in Argentina with similar results in bringing students from South American to study at Neglia for the summer, as well as full time this conservatory year with Neglia while attending Buffalo Seminary.
We have been collaborating with the BPO since 2006 and expanded that collaboration in 2009 to include Sheas’s. Our shared risk/ reward business model benefit is that project tasks and finances are spread among us. In the current economic climate this is an excellent approach that allows us to pursue our larger goal of building a larger more diverse audience for each of us, as well as develop new earned income streams.
Over the summer of 2014, Neglia has strengthen its partnership with Buffalo Seminary, housing 14 students on their campus during our 5-Week Summer Intensive Program, including 10 international students from Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and Germany. This year Neglia anticipates 30 international students to attend summer program and house at Buffalo Seminary.