School of American Ballet

School of American Ballet

The School of American Ballet (SAB) is one of the most famous classical ballet schools in the world and is the associate school of the New York City Ballet, a leading international ballet company based at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The school trains students from the age of 6, with professional vocational ballet training for students aged 11-18. Graduates of the school achieve employment with leading ballet companies worldwide, most notably in the United States with New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.

The school was founded by the renowned Russo-Georgian-born choreographer George Balanchine, and the philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein in 1934. Among the teachers there were many Russian emigres who fled the Revolution: Pierre Vladimiroff, Felia Doubrovska, Anatole Oboukhoff, Ludmilla Schollar, Antonina Toumkovskaya etc. Their intention was to establish a major classical ballet company in America, which would lead to the formation of today's New York City Ballet. The school was formed to train and feed dancers into the company. It opened at 637 Madison Avenue with 32 students on January 2, 1934.

In 2009, the School was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.[1]



Students are chosen through audition. Children's division auditions for the 2007-08 school year included six-year-olds for the first time; previously, the youngest students were required to turn eight in the year they began their studies. Children in the younger divisions are able to perform in various ballets with the company including George Balanchine's famous The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Martins's Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty. The most advanced students perform in a workshop at the end of each year where the heads of many prestigious ballet companies choose several of them to join their companies, including New York City Ballet.

The school also hosts a summer program, where it selects about 200 dance students from across the country to train for 5 weeks. This summer program is one of the most selective ballet summer programs in the country. During the summer program, students are divided into six girls' classes and two boys' classes. Girl classes are as follows: first division through fifth; B1; B2; C1; C2, and D. Boys classes: boys one through four (boys stay in the same level for two years before moving to the next); intermediate men; advanced men; second advanced men. A small group of students from the summer program may be invited to enroll in SAB's winter term.


The current faculty of School of American Ballet includes, among others, Peter Martins, Kay Mazzo, Peter Frame, Katrina Killian, Darci Kistler, Olga Kostritzky, Andrei Kramarevsky, Sean Lavery, Susan Pilarre, Lisa de Ribere, Suki Schorer, Jock Soto, Jonathan Stafford, Sheryl Ware, and Garielle Whittle. Former faculty include Richard Rapp, Athena Keen and Elizabeth Walker.


According to SAB, alumni of the School of American Ballet make up over 90% of New York City Ballet. Some alumni include Maria Tallchief, Tanaquil LeClerq, Jacques d'Amboise, Allegra Kent, Arthur Mitchell, Patricia McBride, Edward Villella, Suzanne Farrell, Kay Mazzo, Helgi Tomasson, Fernando Bujones, Gelsey Kirkland, Heather Watts, Merrill Ashley, Jock Soto, Peter Boal, Victoria Rowell, Kyra Nichols, Darci Kistler, Patrick Bissell, Damian Woetzel, Ethan Stiefel, Wendy Whelan, Alan Bergman and Paloma Herrera as well as celebrities Sean Young, Ashlee Simpson, Macaulay Culkin, Lawrence Leritz, Vanessa Carlton, Megan Mullally, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alex Westerman and Madeleine Martin.

Mae L. Wien Award recipients

Mae L. Wien Faculty Award for Distinguished Service


  • Jeffrey Middleton

Mae L. Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise


  • Kathryn Morgan [2]
  • Tabitha Rinko-Gay [2]
  • Anthony Huxley [2]
  • David Prottas [2]


  • Jillian Harvey [3]
  • Elizabeth Wallace [3]
  • Spartak Hoxha [3]
  • Alexander Peters [3]


  1. ^ White House Announces 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients
  2. ^ a b c d NY Times, Scènes de ballet, John Rockwell, June 7th, 2006
  3. ^ a b c d NY Times, Scènes de ballet, Roslyn Sulcas, June 10th, 2010






External links

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