Support America’s National Ballet Company® DONATE NOW

ABT News

November 19, 2014

ABT and Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announce Creation of New Dance School

The Center and ABT bring renowned ballet training program to Southern California

COSTA MESA, CA – Expanding their 27-year relationship, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre announce the creation of the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School on the Segerstrom Center campus in Costa Mesa, CA. The combined resources of American Ballet Theatre, America’s National Ballet Company® and Segerstrom Center, one of the world’s leading presenters of dance, will offer unrivaled opportunities for training and nurturing future generations of dancers and dance audiences as well as furthering the development and evolution of dance. The school carries the name of Orange County philanthropist William J. Gillespie, who has been a board member of ABT since 1999 and an enthusiastic and generous donor to the Center for much of the institution’s history.

The ABT Gillespie School will open in September 2015 and is operated jointly by Segerstrom Center for the Arts and American Ballet Theatre. Alaine Haubert has been appointed Principal of the ABT Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center. A former dancer and ballet mistress with ABT and noted dance teacher and coach, Haubert will work with ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and Melissa Bowman, Director of the Children’s Division of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York. All classes will be taught by teachers who are certified in ABT’s highly respected National Training Curriculum, will feature live accompaniment and will be held in Segerstrom Center’s dance studios which have been used for rehearsals by all of the world’s leading international ballet companies.

“American Ballet Theatre and Segerstrom Center for the Arts have dedicated themselves to furthering the development of, and appreciation for, one of the most expressive of all art forms – dance, which has been a cornerstone of the Center’s artistic programming since its inaugural season,” said Center President Terrence W. Dwyer. “Bill Gillespie is a tremendous champion for dance. His generosity enables two of his beloved arts organizations to make a significant and lasting impact on the world of dance and our vibrant and diverse community. It is hard to imagine a more passionate supporter of dance and the training of its next generation of great talents.”

The annual 36-week program of the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School begins with a Fall semester starting September 14, 2015. There will be nine class levels open to students ages 3-14 and tuition starts at $1,150. Registration for the ABT Gillespie School begins November 19.

As part of its commitment to the community, Segerstrom Center for the Arts is pleased to offer a limited number of scholarships to the 36-week program as well as offer a series of free classes for the community throughout the year as part of the ABT Gillespie School. Dwyer said, “The Center is committed to making sure that our education programs, including the ABT William J. Gillespie School, are available to as many children as possible from communities across Orange County. We look forward to engaging as many people as possible through our community classes and our scholarship programs.”  Scholarships will be available on a limited basis; an application form will be available along with the enrollment materials at The schedule of free community classes will be available at a later date.

American Ballet Theatre CEO Rachel Moore stated, “American Ballet Theatre and Segerstrom Center have had many conversations about our shared passions and visions for enriching the world and future of dance. We are delighted that the ABT Gillespie School is another rewarding collaboration. I also extend our gratitude to Bill Gillespie for helping make possible this shared dream with his signature generosity and commitment to world class dance and community.”

William J. Gillespie is a long-time benefactor of the arts in Orange County. In addition to his longstanding support of American Ballet Theatre and Segerstrom Center for the Arts, numerous other institutions have benefited from Gillespie’s participation and support, including UCI, where he established the Gillespie Scholarship in Ballet Studies, Pacific Symphony and a diverse range of charitable and educational causes throughout the region encompassing youth and education services, environment and animal care, family and elder services and research. One of his many contributions to the Center is the William J. Gillespie Concert Organ, a magnificent instrument and stunning visual focal point of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

“This is an exciting and, in many ways, precedent-setting arts collaboration that has far reaching potential for the future of dance in Southern California and beyond,” stated William J. Gillespie. “I congratulate the Center and ABT for embracing this concept and forging this alliance. It is my great honor to support this collaboration and the emerging talent that will be developed through this excellent training program.”

American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie said, “ABT is part of Segerstrom Center’s artistic history; we have come to Orange County regularly since the Center’s first season in 1986. It is a rewarding and important collaboration, and all of us at ABT are excited that we will have this new year-round presence through the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. We thank Bill, who has been a valued ABT board member for many years, for presenting such an important gift to Orange County, ABT and to the whole world of dance that will benefit from the achievements and success of the school and its students.”

Beyond the professional training that they will receive, students in the ABT Gillespie School will be offered many additional opportunities to enrich their ballet studies: priority opportunities to audition to appear in ABT performances at the Center, including the March 2015 world premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty and the December 2015 Center premiere of Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, as well as participation in the ABT Summer Intensive, master classes, meet-and-greets with visiting companies, backstage tours and special ticket offers for dance performances at the Center.

Prior to its September 2015 opening, the school will introduce two new programs: ABT Junior Associates Program, created specifically for the ABT William J. Gillespie School, and the ABT Young Dancer Summer Workshop. These programs and the adult classes beginning Fall 2015 are designed to ensure that students of all ages in Orange County have access to the creative and innovative world of dance and can advance seamlessly through the school’s curriculum levels.  Additionally, there will be an Inaugural Open House on May 16, 2015 to welcome students who have registered for the program and their families, introducing them to the school administration, faculty, facilities, and to learn more about ABT’s National Training Curriculum.

ABT Junior Associates Program

Monthly intensive sessions will be held on Sunday January 11, February 22, March 29, April 26, May 31 and June 14, 2015 for students ages 10-18. Classes are geared towards the intermediate and advanced dancer, and will include specialized training in technique, ABT repertory, pointe work, men’s class, partnering and character. Participants in the ABT Junior Associates Program will receive priority opportunities to audition for roles in ABT’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Center March 3-8, 2015, as well as future productions at the Center. Tuition for the ABT Junior Associates Program is $600. Registration begins November 19, 2014. Please visit

ABT Young Dancer Summer Workshop

A two-week Young Dancer Summer Workshop will be offered June 29-July 10, 2015 for students ages 9 – 11 and for 12-year-olds at the beginning pointe level. The Young Dancer Summer Workshop is designed to educate participants in ballet technique and related topics, including ballet terminology, classroom and rehearsal etiquette, nutrition, and injury prevention. Tuition for the Young Dancer Summer Workshop is $1,200. For audition information, please visit,

The goal of American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is to provide the highest quality ballet training consistent with the stylistic requirements of ABT and to provide dancers with a rich knowledge of classical technique and the ability to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance. The school will incorporate ABT’s National Training Curriculum, a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines consistent with the best practices in the fields of sports psychology, child/adolescent development, nutrition and training. The teaching methods of ABT’s National Training Curriculum incorporate elements of the French, Italian and Russian schools of training and are currently in place at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Classes focus on building a solid foundation in ballet technique with an emphasis on proper placement and safe progressions of movement while remaining sensitive to the needs of younger dancers. Classes include classical ballet technique, pointe, boys class, character and body conditioning.

For more information about the ABT William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, to enroll or to learn more about the classes and scholarship program, visit​, call (714) 556-2122 ext. 4100 or e-mail

Alaine Haubert will be the Principal of the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie Dance School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Haubert studied with George Balanchine and his illustrious post-Diaghilev faculty at the School of American Ballet in New York City. In 1965, she joined American Ballet Theatre, where she performed corps de ballet, soloist and principal roles. In addition to dancing classical roles, she was coached by such diverse and exciting contemporary choreographers as Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Eliot Feld, Birgit Culberg, Harald Lander and Glen Tetley. She later became a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet until a serious back injury ended her performing career.

Haubert has taught and coached dance in Europe, Japan, Canada, United States and the Caribbean. She was member of the dance faculty of the University of Hawaii for seven years. In 1993, Haubert was invited by American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie to return to New York as ballet mistress.

Haubert served on the dance faculty of California State University, Long Beach for six years. She continues her association with ABT, traveling throughout the U.S. auditioning dancers for the ABT Summer Intensives (one of which is held in Orange County each summer, presented by Segerstrom Center for the Arts in partnership with ABT and the University of California, Irvine). She was artistic coordinator of the ABT Detroit Summer Intensive for 15 years and, for the past three years, has directed the ABT Summer Intensive at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is unique as both an acclaimed arts institution and as a multi-disciplinary cultural campus.  It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages, offering unsurpassed experiences, and engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring programs.

The Center presents a broad range of programming each season for audiences of all ages from throughout Orange County and beyond, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.  It offers many education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. These programs reach hundreds of thousands of students of all ages with vital arts-in-education programs, enhancing their studies and enriching their lives well into the future.

In addition to the presenting and producing institution Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the 14-acre campus also embraces the facilities of two independent acclaimed organizations: Tony Award®-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.

Recognized as one of the premier dance companies in the world, American Ballet Theatre brings the highest quality dance and dancers to audiences across the globe.  Celebrating its role as R#8220;America’s national ballet company,” ABT tours nationally and internationally, performing for over 400,000 people annually.

Under the direction of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith from 1940-1980, ABT developed a repertoire that honored the past while encouraging the development of the art form through the creation of new works.  ABT’s mission, to create, to present, to preserve, and to extend the great repertoire of classical dancing is evident in its presentation of the classics such as Swan LakeGiselle and The Sleeping Beauty and seminal works by choreographic masters of the 20th and 21st centuries including George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, Twyla Tharp and Alexei Ratmansky.

Today, under the artistic direction of former ABT Principal Dancer Kevin McKenzie, the Company remains steadfast in its vision as “American” and continues to bring the art of dance theater to the great stages of the world.  It has made more than 30 international tours to 45 countries and has been sponsored by the State Department of the United States on many of these engagements.  In keeping with its long-standing commitment to bringing the finest in dance to the widest possible audience, ABT has recently enjoyed triumphant successes with engagements in Hong Kong, Havana, Brisbane, Abu Dhabi and Tokyo.

Back To ABT News >>