Founded in Akron in 1968, the Ohio Ballet began nationally touring in 1974 and continued to imbue both the city of Akron and the region with the magic of dance until 2006 when they closed. Heinz Poll and Tom Skelton formed the dance company from Poll’s students at the University of Akron, but it grew to become a professional troupe that performed both nationally and internationally. A creative choreographer with a modern bent, Poll brought many noteworthy and rare performances to Ohio and beyond.
We are lucky that their official photographer, Ott Gangl, documented so much of the organization’s history and their performances. Gangl donated a photographic collection consisting of over 20,000 negatives, contact sheets, and photographs to the Akron Summit County Public Library in 2003, and they are working to make this vast collection available online. You can find over 2,000 images online at DPLA right now, and contact ASCPL for finding aids and more.
Pictured here is a dancer from the Ohio Ballet in a performance of Dark Elegies, in 1989. Composed by Antony Tudor in 1937, Dark Elegies is a story of family and loss that feels just as relevant today as it did over 80 years ago.