Wouldn’t You Like to Know?
Every once in a while, I’ll find a local Richmonder we’d all like to know a bit more about. Same questions each time, from the Prying Publisher, and the answers are just for you.
This month, I talked to Linda Stoner Winslett, founding artistic director of Richmond Ballet. As a preschooler, Stoner (her mother’s maiden name by the way) fell in love with ballet when her mom enrolled her in lessons at River Road Shopping Center so she could tend to her grocery shopping. But by her late teens, her slender, long-legged frame betrayed her. She grew about an inch too tall for the classic dance profile and looked offstage for inspiration.
In 1980, she accepted the artistic directorship in Richmond. Today, her vision has encompassed not only performances, but also training artists, educating the community on the importance of preserving the heritage of dance, and exploring new directions for the ballet.
Under Stoner’s direction in the past 30 years, Richmond Ballet has established the first major company of professional dancers in the Commonwealth, commissioned 52 new works from 20 choreographers from around the world, introduced the much-acclaimed Minds In Motion program into Richmond area schools, and renovated and occupied its landmark downtown building on Canal Street.
Stoner has helped Richmond Ballet evolve from a modest local troupe into a major, nationally renowned company with a strong commitment to the classics, as well as new works, including her acclaimed version of The Nutcracker, enjoyed by thousands of area families every holiday season. She lives in Richmond with her family.
Mountains or beach?
The beach. My parents lived at the beach, and some of my happiest moments were there.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs. I have two dogs – both SPCA alums.
Blackberry or iPhone?
What book is on your nightstand right now?
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didian.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what food would you want to grow on trees?
Cheese, any kind of cheese.
Same island – what’s the one CD you would want with you?
Anything Bach or Mozart.
Favorite holiday tradition?
The Nutcracker, of course. It’s one of the few three-generation events for families…a magical ballet that appeals to everyone, regardless of age. It works equally as well for a date night.
What is your favorite way to spend a rainy Sunday?
Home with family.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
DeBordieu in South Carolina – the beach where my parents lived.
What is your energy source?
Trying to make the world a better place.
Readers will be surprised to know…
Richmond Ballet casts over 110 local children in our production of The Nutcracker each year!