Southeast Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant Award


$10,000 Grant Will Underwrite The Russian National Ballet Theatre’s ‘Cinderella’

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 9, 2008 — Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded its first-ever grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which will be used to underwrite the May 1 Russian National Ballet performance of “Cinderella” at the University’s River Campus. 

The “Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast-Track Review Grants” program offers support for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations — those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.  This program furthers an essential component of the NEA’s goal of providing wide access to artistic excellence.  Hilary Peterson is an instructor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and will serve as the project director for the award. 

“I am thrilled to be a part of this effort to expose new audiences to dance performance and live arts programming,” Peterson said. “I can tell from the caliber and enthusiasm of my students that this region is ripe with potential for up-and-coming dancers, loyal patrons and would-be benefactors who will help the arts community here grow and thrive.”

The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the period of Perestroika in the late 1980s, when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union’s ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies dedicated not only to the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet but also to invigorate this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in dance from around the world. The company, then titled the Soviet National Ballet, was founded by and incorporated graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with more than 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.

The University has attracted national artists for touring performances in the past, but has been limited in its ability to host those requiring larger performance halls. During its inaugural year, the River Campus’ premiere season of Southeast touring programs included more innovative, cutting-edge performances such as the St. Petersburg Ballet’s “Swan Lake,” “The Producers, a Mel Brooks Musical,” and Hal Holbrook in “Mark Twain Tonight!” The River Campus expansion has allowed greater access to major arts programming than ever before.

Robert Cerchio, assistant director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, said this presentation is just one example of the University’s commitment to bringing the finest national and international touring presentations to the people of the region. 

“Not only is a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts a financial benefit,” said Cerchio, “but it is also an endorsement of the high artistic merit of our efforts.  We already knew this, but it’s terrific to have the NEA agree.”

Tickets for The Russian National Ballet

May be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651–2265. Tickets also may be purchased at all MetroTix outlets, online at or by calling toll-free (800) 293-5949.

More information about the National Endowment for the Arts and 2009 grant recipients are available at