Hugh Nini

Original Founder

Hugh Nini  founded The Denton Ballet Academy in 1979. He credits his favorite teachers, Arnold Spohr and David Moroni of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, with his foundational training and understanding of the art of classical ballet. While a scholarship student at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts, he was invited to join the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet by the Artistic Director of that company, Arnold Spohr. Though his training and professional career were interrupted early on by a debilitating automobile accident, Mr. Nini was later able to do limited performing with regional ballet companies in the Southwest. In 1979 he founded the Denton Civic Ballet and, by the end of his eight-year term as its Artistic Director, had choreographed over 30 ballets. These include his original full length three-act version of the Hans Christian Anderson short story, "The Snow Queen."  Under Mr. Nini's directorship, the Denton Civic Ballet was accepted into the National Association for Regional Ballet.

In 1988 Mr. Nini charted a new direction to pursue a more ambitious dream, which is now called The Festival Ballet of North Central Texas, and served as its Artistic Director for twenty-five years.  Having established Festival Ballet as a ballet company with a reputation for excellence and consistency, Mr. Nini now holds the title of Artistic Director Emeritus. One of Mr. Nini's proudest achievements is to have been the 2010 recipient of the Greater Denton Arts Council CARA award.  Currently Mr. Nini works as a freelance ballet instructor in New York City.