C.C. Conner, Past Chair

C.C. Conner is a native of Greensboro, NC. He studied at the University of Vienna in Austria; received his BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and his LLB from Columbia University School of Law. He practiced law in New York City for 28 years, first at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, then at Goldman Sachs & Co. and final at Mandelbaum, Schweiger & Conner.

Conner’s experience in the dance world began at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York City where he started providing pro bono legal services in 1969. He served on the Board of Directors of VLA from the early 1970’s until 1995.  In 1975 he joined the Board of the National Association of Regional Ballet, Inc.  He served for many years in the ‘70’s and 80’s on the selection panel for the dance festival at Riverside Church in New York.  Conner has also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Division of Cultural Affairs of the State of Florida, the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

In 1975, Conner assisted Pauline Koner in establishing the Pauline Koner Dance Consort and served as its executive director and associate artistic director until 1981. During this period, he also worked with Tornay Management in New York. In May 1992, he became the executive director of The Joffrey Ballet in New York City, and led the strategic planning process to move The Joffrey to Chicago.

Conner joined Houston Ballet as managing director in 1995 and retired the company’s accumulated $1 million deficit. He has overseen sixteen seasons of balanced budgets in an extremely challenging economic environment, and developed the company’s endowment to over $60 million, one of the largest of any American ballet company.  In 2007, Conner led the $47 million dollar capital campaign to build the ballet’s new Center for Dance, the largest facility for a professional dance company in the United States. Conner retired from Houston Ballet Foundation on February 15, 2012, which was proclaimed by Houston Mayor Annise Parker as Cecil C. Conner, Jr. Day.

Conner has served on the Board of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County, as chairman of the Board of the Texas Institute for Arts in Education, vice chairman of the Houston Downtown Alliance, and as a trustee of the AGMA Retirement Plan and Health Fund. He currently serves on the Board of Dance/USA, Houston First Corporation, Dance Source Houston, and Career Transition for Dancers.

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