Dominic Walsh
1971 –  Class of 2012  Choreographer
Born in West Dundee, Illinois, on January 5, 1971, Dominic Walsh began dancing at age six.  He received his early and extensive ballet training in Elgin with Elisabeth Spalinger Boehm, a 2002 Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame charter inductee.  He said Boehm “instilled a certain love of movement” in him.  

Dominic also attributes his skill in part to his mother who had a passion for ballet and to his father, a tremendous athlete with “incredible stubborn willpower and dedication.”  He added, “Both have served me very well.” Dominic received additional dance instruction from the Ruth Page Foundation, studying with Larry Long and Warren Conover, the latter a former soloist with American Ballet Theatre.

Dominic’s professional dance career took him first to Chicago. Prior to joining the Houston Ballet Academy as an apprentice in 1987, Dominic was invited to compete in the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition, formerly called the Varna Competition as it originated in Varna, Bulgaria.  He was a finalist in the 1994 competition.  

In 1989, as an apprentice, Dominic was featured in Ben Stevenson’s L.  That same year, he danced the leading role in Martinu 5th for the Houston Ballet.  Then, in 1990, he traveled to Denmark to film Christopher Bruce’s Journey.  

After joining the Houston Ballet as a soloist in 1993, Dominic worked his way up to the
position of top principal dancer.  In this position for more than a decade, Dominic received national and international praise for his interpretations of both classical and contemporary roles.  His choreography won him the Choo-San Goh Award in 1998.  Dominic has been featured in Dance Magazine and other national professional publications.  He was invited to perform the world premiere of John McFall’s Plexus, receiving rave reviews.  

Dominic returned to Elgin in December of 1999 to dance the role of the Cavalier in Miss Boehm’s 30th annual Nutcracker production.
In 2002, Dominic founded the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, where, in addition to mentoring young dancers, he serves as Artistic Director.  The company is based in Houston, Texas, where he also resides.  He has choreographed works for his own and other companies and quickly became one of the leading dance companies in this country, winning multiple honors.  The company’s roster includes dancers of the highest caliber, and its repertoire features inventive works by Dominic Walsh and such superstar choreographers as Mauro Bigonzetti, Jiri Kylián, Matthew Bourne, and Mats Ek.

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Named “The Best Dance Company” by the Houston Press, this contemporary ballet company has built an international reputation for taking the techniques and skills of classical ballet into new territory. Its dynamic tours with a star-studded cast of outstanding dancers mix technical virtuosity, innovation, and collaboration.  

Dominic won a second Choo-San Goh Award in 2007 and received a 2008 Princess Grace Award for ballet, theatre, and choreography. Most recently he was named a winner of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s 2010 National Choreographic Competition, and he was the Audience Choice and Judge’s Award winner in Ballet Austin’s 2010 New American Talent Choreographic Competition.

Called “Nic” by his friends, Dominic is hailed today as a leading choreographer who is extending the boundaries of ballet into new realms of theatricality. His second passions are sketching and painting, and his watercolor paintings have been sold to benefit the Houston Ballet’s Artists’ Reserve Fund.

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In her nomination of Dominic Walsh, Dr. Clare M. Ollayos offered this well-deserved assessment:  “…as a professional danseur who has gone on to form his own successful modern ballet company, Nic demonstrates both the extraordinary dance talent, choreographic talent and the business acumen to not only start but sustain a touring company.  Ballet is the most rarified form of dance, with the most stringent stylistic and technique requirements:  there are many more high level professional musical theatre, tap, hip hop and ballroom dancers than classical ballet dancers of Nic’s caliber…(he) still has more to contribute to the world of the arts over the next several decades, but what he has achieved so far is extraordinary.”

On the occasion of his induction into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame, Dominic commented, “For me, success is measured by those we have around us and share in our creative endeavors…it is a privilege to be part of this 2012 Class of inductees for their impressive and inspiring contributions to the arts.”

Photos by Geoff Winningham and Gabriella Nissen.

Learn more about Dominic Walsh at www.dwdt.org
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 Principal dancer for the Houston Ballet  Winner of Choo-