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ABT Engagement Goes Virtual

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ABT Engagement Goes Virtual

Each Spring, ABT annually engages with over 10,000 students in the New York tri-state area through in-school residencies and performance opportunities at the Metropolitan Opera House, including the ABTKids and ABTKids: Schools performances.

While ABT’s 2020 Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House was cancelled and schools shifted to remote learning, ABT quickly transitioned to online platforms enabling hundreds of students to continue their residences with American Ballet Theatre teaching artists.

From early March (when schools were closed), ABT’s goal has been very simple: Be the best resource for our partner schools and educators, and find ways to keep our students engaged and dancing!

ABTKids Daily

ABT developed ABTKids Daily to serve as an online tool for educators and parents where they can engage with ABT through online lessons and ballet-themed activities and games.

ABTKids Daily

ABTKids Daily - Teaching Artist Tuesday - 7 Movements of Classical Ballet

ABTKids Daily - Teaching Artist Tuesday - Why Is ABT Like A Library?

ABT's Partner Schools

While ABTKids Daily has helped bring ABT into classrooms around the world, many of ABT’s Spring residencies transitioned and found immediate success in the new virtual space.

Fort Hamilton High School

Teaching Artists Kelby Brown, Stephen Campanella and Carmela Gallace have worked weekly with the entire dance department at Fort Hamilton High School to continue weekly classes and provide assistance as the FHHS Dance Department works towards a virtual Spring Dance Concert, including a virtual staging of the Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère. The Fort Hamilton Dance Department also participated in a special virtual Meet the Artist seminar with ABT Soloist Roman Zhurbin and ABT corps de ballet dancer Isadora Loyola.

Kelby Brown teaching ballet class for FHHS dance students.
Kelby Brown teaching ballet class for FHHS dance students.
Virtual chat with Isadora Loyola and Roman Zhurbin.
Virtual chat with Isadora Loyola and Roman Zhurbin.

"It has meant so much during this difficult time to myself as an educator and my students to be able to continue our long standing ABT partnership virtually. It allows the students to continue learning and growing while having a larger network of supportive dance teachers that they can count on each day. It has given them something exciting to look forward to and work toward while quarantined at home. As a quarantined dance educator of an audition-based public school dance program, I continue to I teach three distinct technique levels a day from my home. The virtual continuation of our ABT partnership has allowed me the ability to only need to displace my family from the common areas where I teach about half the number of classes a week. Instead, while our partnership teachers are teaching, I am able to observe the students work much more closely on screen, and support our ABT teachers and students by providing feedback from any small space in my home. "

- Sabrina Jaafar, Fort Hamilton High School Joffrey Dance Academy Director

"I salute you! Putting on a virtual performance is so hard to do and I’m so sorry the Senior Dancers can’t have the exit they wanted!"

- Roman Zhurbin, ABT Soloist

Carmela Gallace.
Carmela Gallace.

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

Teaching Artists Kelby Brown and Carmela Gallace have provided weekly ballet classes for the entire dance department at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and helped the dance faculty make the transition to remote learning.

"At this time of tremendous loss and anxiety, ABT's classes are a beacon of solidarity and generosity in the dance community. Speaking for my students and myself, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dennis Walters and Richard Toda for including Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in their program, and to Carmela Gallace and Kelby Brown for their master classes."

- Ani Udovicki, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Dance Teacher

"It is a real challenge for dance students to stay motivated and engaged in online classes because they are so used to being in the studio and feeding off each other's energy. It will never be the same, but ABT's talented teaching artists have figured out the formula to keep our students dancing and excited to come to class each and every week. It is a delight to see our students so happy. This is such an incredible gift that ABT has given us to support our student dancers and school community at this most difficult time."

- Gideon Frankel, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Principal

"ABT was a great experience filled with excitement and many new things to learn. It was a new approach for online dance classes and was very intriguing. Although this class was difficult at times, I learned new things and new ways to approach the difficulties. This class was great and a great opportunity as well. Thank you, ABT!"

- Deanna Kostas, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Sophomore

Virtual class with Wendy Clark.
Virtual class with Wendy Clark.

Long Island High School for the Arts

Teaching Artist Wendy Clark remotely completed the final 18 technique classes of the 56 offered at the school, supporting AM and PM Dance Majors. Richard Toda, Stephen Campanella and Rita CS Bearden all held short residencies with Dance Majors prior to the pandemic!

"Working with ABT teaching artists has been a pleasure. Our students at LIHSA have flourished under the guidance of Mr. Richard, Ms. Wendy, Mr. Steven and Ms. Rita. Their technique has improved with the honest, encouraging feedback they have received in weekly classes with Ms. Wendy. They had the opportunity to learn repertoire from major ballets like La Bayadère from Ms. Rita and Mr. Richard. Mr. Steven taught robust, exhilarating Character classes. Some of our students had little training in ballet before these experiences, and never would have had these special opportunities otherwise. We are so proud of the dancers and their perseverance during the Covid-19 pandemic. They show up to Zoom class every day. They demonstrate flexibility and determination. Their creativity and grit has been challenged like never before, and they have risen to the occasion. We thank you, Ms. Wendy and ABT for staying with our students through all of it. We look forward to a fresh start this Fall, back at the LIHSA studios with ABT. "

- Natalie E’Toile, Long Island High School for the Arts Dance Teacher

"It was a pleasure to work with dancers at Long Island High School for the Performing Arts. Throughout the year, they impressed me by paying close attention to corrections and working hard to apply them. However, when we moved to online classes, their passion and commitment to dance really showed. They learned how to adapt or modify movements according to their space and began working in a way that allowed them to develop a greater kinesthetic awareness; skills that will serve them well in their future career paths."

- Wendy Palmer Clark, ABT Teaching Artist