Photo: Jerry Ruotolo
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Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc.
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Make a Ballet
at American Ballet Theatre

The centerpiece of American Ballet Theatre’s education and outreach initiatives is its award-winning Make a Ballet at American Ballet Theatre program. Helping to meet the need for arts education in underserved schools and communities, this model program also introduces students to all aspects of the creative and administrative theatrical experience.
Make a Ballet was first launched at The Frederick Douglass Academy in central Harlem in 1997, and is currently a presence in six area schools.

Make a Ballet Schools
The Frederick Douglass Academy; Harlem, New York 1997 - 2003
Arts High School; Newark, New Jersey 1999 - 2006
Intermediate School 218; Washington Heights, New York 1999 - 2004
Casita Maria; Bronx, New York 2002 - 2009
Waterside School; Stamford, Connecticut 2002 - Present
Long Island City High School; Queens, New York 2002 - 2005
Central High School in Valley Stream, New York 2003 - 2006
Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics; Harlem, New York 2004 - 2008
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School; Queens, New York 2006 - Present
Community Partnership charter School; Brooklyn, New York 2007 - 2010
Lower Manhattan Arts Academy; Lower East Side, New York 2009-Present
PS 20 – The Anna Silver School; Lower East Side, New York 2009-Present
PS 1 – The Alfred E Smith School; Chinatown, New York 2010 - Present

Make a Ballet offers students the opportunity to design, choreograph, construct, produce, and perform their own original performance piece. The students work under the tutelage of ABT teaching artists – all of whom are professionals in their field -- and school faculty. Students work in four teams—

    Performance Team: chooses a theme and music; creates choreography with an ABT choreographer; and performs the piece on stage
    Administration Team: creates a project budget; develops a plan to market the ballet to the school, local community, and the media; creates all tickets, invitations, and programs; and raises funds for the production.
    Production Team: designs light plots and sets up theatrical lights; learns all necessary aspects of back stage work and front-of-house management; and learns how to call cues for a show. This team will function as the stage crew for the performance.
    Design Team: designs and construct sets and costumes for the production.

At year’s end, students present multiple performances of their original work. The first performance will take place at each school for the members of both the school and local community. Students will also perform excerpts of their final performance piece on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera House as part of American Ballet Theatre’s Young People’s Ballet Workshop. Tickets are complimentary for schools in the New York Metropolitan area.
In addition to exposing students to classical dance and building future audiences, Make a Ballet emphasizes career opportunities in the arts, onstage and backstage, and also helps students develop valuable life skills.

Following the first year of participation, ABT and school staff continue to cultivate students’ skills and career interests by supervising independent projects, administrative internships at ABT, and other after-school enrichment activities.


For more information about the ABT's Make a Ballet program, please contact Dennis Walters at (212) 477-3030, ext. 3264 or by e-mail at dwalters@abt.org.

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