Valari Lagrone

Ballet Mistress



Valari began formal dance training in West Nyack, NY with Jean and Marc Platt (an original member of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo and director of the Radio City Music Hall Ballet). After moving with her family to Montgomery in 1972, she continued training with Audrey Gryder, Duane Dishion, George Verdak, Kitty Seale, and Haynes Owens.  Ms. Lagrone was one of Alabama Dance Theatre's (ADT) original dancers, founded in 1986 by Artistic Director Kitty Seale.  In the early years of the company, Seale and Lagrone studied the Russian Syllabus together under Jurgen Schneider and Janina Cunova. 


Ms. Lagrone danced with ADT from 1986-1997 and again from 2001-2003, first as a principal dancer then as a professional dancer.  During her career with ADT, Ms. Lagrone was fortunate to work with many respected classical and contemporary icons of the dance world, some of which include Sonia Arova, Larissa Sklyanskaya, Marianna Tcherkassky, Francesca Corkle, Magda Aunon, Magaly Suarez, Ron Cunningham, Earle Sieveling, Alan Hineline, and Leslie Jane Pessemier.  Ms. Lagrone spent one season as an apprentice with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (IN).  One of the highlights of Ms. Lagrone's career was the opportunity to work with the coaches of American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in NYC, then perform the role of Giselle (Act II) with ABT principal dancer Wes Chapman in ADT's 1996 annual spring concert. Other highlights include guest performances as Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker with Springfield Ballet (MO) and Evansville Ballet Theatre (IN). Favorite roles at ADT include lead female dancer in the classical ballets Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Cinderella, Paquita, La Bayadere, Giselle, as well as numerous modern and contemporary works. Ms. Lagrone has also enjoyed performing in community theatre productions, particularly musical theatre.  She has been in productions of Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Can-Can, Carousel (Louise Bigelow), Company (Kathy), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Linda Lou), and The Sound of Music (Liesl).


In 1989 Ms. Lagrone was invited to join the faculty of Baldwin Arts & Academics Magnet School.  With her mentor, Emily Caruso, she developed and implemented a nationally recognized dance program there, where she served as co-director, then director for 24 years.  A number of her students have gone on to professional careers in the field of dance including professional dancers, physical therapy for dancers, nutrition for athletes, dance studio owners, choreographers, and one is the artistic director of her own dance company in NYC. Ms. Lagrone is also on the dance staff of the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts (Randy Foster, Executive Director), whose mission is to provide comprehensive arts education to the teachers of Alabama. Honors and awards include Best Overall Choreography (Panopoly, 1989), Golden Apple Award (WAKA News, 2017), and Who's Who Among America's Teachers (2002, 2004, 2005). Ms. Lagrone is most proud of the longtime work and special friendship she shared with "Miss Kitty" and the fellowship she continues to share with the dancers and colleagues who have been part of that journey.