About Heartland Youth Ballet

Changing Lives Through Dance.

Our Mission

The Heartland Youth Ballet is a pre-professional dance company dedicated to the growth and development of dance students. The Heartland Youth Ballet is committed to providing cultural and education enrichment to the Omaha community. Its purpose is to provide highly-motivated young dancers with the technical training, artistic development, and practical experience needed to perform and train in dance with other pre-professional, professional dancers and teachers.

Our Vision

Our History

Heartland Youth Ballet, is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization committed to bringing the art of dance to the community. Heartland Youth Ballet (HYB) is a member of The Ballet Alliance, an association of pre-professional ballet companies.

Heartland Youth Ballet was founded in 1996 by founder & then Artistic Director, Robin Welch at the Rose Theater. In 2009 the pre-professional company left the the Rose Theater and continued their mission as Heartland Youth Ballet. Rachel Vickrey then joined Robin Welch as a Co-Artistic Director. The company is committed to providing cultural and educational enrichment to the Omaha community. The company provides an environment for aspiring young dancers to learn, practice and perform in a pre-professional atmosphere, in a variety of dance forms.

In 2010 HYB joined Regional Dance America, a distinguished organization that has promoted regional dance companies throughout the United States and Canada since 1988. In 2016 HYB was named an Honor Company, with MidStates RDA. Wanting to continue to give students more exciting and challenging opportunities, Rachel changed course & HYB joined The Ballet Alliance in 2021.

The members of The Ballet Alliance host an annual 4 day Festival where our dancers take master classes from renowned instructors, participate in dance-related seminars, perform for their peers, and forge new relationships. During the Festival, member dancers are seen by recruiters from world-class ballet schools, professional dance companies, and college & university dance programs. It is common for dancers to be awarded scholarships to summer intensives, early acceptance to higher education dance programs, and receive apprenticeships or professional contracts from Artistic Directors. Over $66,000 in scholarships were distributed at our 2019 Festival in Spokane, WA.

An Adjudication process precedes the Festival in early spring. Each season a professional in the field of ballet is selected to become an Adjudicator who then gives constructive insights for our member companies. The Adjudicator visits each company on its home turf to evaluate their training methods, choreography, and non-profit organization. The Adjudicator becomes the Artistic Director of the Festival, having chosen works for 4 evenings of performances, and continuing the evaluation process throughout the performances. This process helps to maintain the standards of The Ballet Alliance, which values education, thus securing the future of our dancers.

Artistic Staff & Guest Faculty

Rachel Vickrey – Artistic Director

Rachel Vickrey received her early dance training from her parents, Robert Vickrey and Robin Welch, in New Haven, Connecticut. At the age of 11 she became one of the youngest students to be awarded a full scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School. She continued to study on scholarships at some of the most prestigious ballet schools in the U.S. and Canada eventually beginning her professional career at the age of 16.
Miss Vickrey has danced as a company member in Ballet Omaha, Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Banff Festival Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, and Omaha Theater Ballet. Her passion for expression and a clean versatile technique has given her many opportunities to perform a diverse variety of principal roles including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Valse Fantaisie, Allegro Brilliante, and Agon. She has performed works by such renown choreographers as Brian MacDonald, Salvator Aielo, Kennet Oberly, Charles Arnie, Loyce Holton, Lew Christensen, Alvin Ailey, Agnes DeMille, and Harrison McEldowney. Rachel has also performed in Aida, Carousel, My Fair Lady, Sampson and Delilah, All American Concert and Opera for the Cure with Opera Omaha. Over the years Rachel has danced numerous roles with Omaha Symphony. Recently, Rachel has become an artist for WhyArts? , a non-profit dedicated to providing experiential arts workshops and residencies to individuals of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Guest Choreographers

2016, 2017, 2018, 2023, 2024 Nicole Cisler – Ballet Choreographer – http://www.bremertondancecenter.com/meet-our-staff.html         

2022 Armando Luna – Former School Director of Atlanta Ballet School     

2022 Garrett Minniti – http://wwwspaghettiminniti.com                                                                                                             

2016 Altin Naska – Artistic Director Chicago Music & Dance Festival International – http://www.southportarts.com/faculty/altin-j-naska   

2016, 2017 Eddy Ocampo – Contemporary Choreographer – http://www.inasidechicagodance.org/eddy-ocampo.shtm

2017 Miro Magloire – Artistic Director of New Chamber Ballet – http://www.newchamberballet.com/artists/#miro-magloire-artistic-director

2017 Ryan Nye – Artistic Director of Oklahoma City Ballet https://www.okcballet.org/company/leadership/

2016, 2017, 2018 Roberto Munoz – Director of Saratoga Summer Dance – http://https://www.ssdiballet.com/faculty/roberto-munoz/

2000-2019 Robert Vickrey – Former Artistic Director of Ballet Omaha – Company Member of San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet & Harkness – 30 years as Artistic Administrator of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

2018 Mauro Villanueva – Director of Joffrey Texas –http://joffreytexas.com/faculty/

2018 Kenny Borchard – Free lance choreographer – http://joffreytexas.com/faculty/       

2016, 2018 James Samson – Paul Taylor Dance Company – http://www.ptamd.org/main/about-ptamd/ptdc/