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ABTKids Daily

Week of June 29 - July 3, 2020

Scene from Swan Lake. Photo: John Grigaitis.
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Experience the excitement of classical ballet at home with ABTKids Daily!

Welcome to ABTKids Daily, American Ballet Theatre’s new home for families and educators to discover digital content for their virtual classrooms.  Join us each day to Meet an ABT Dancer, engage with an ABT Teaching Artist, learn fun facts and enjoy ballet-themed activities from the comfort of your own home.

As America’s National Ballet Company®, ABT is dedicated to preserving and extending the great legacy of classical dancing, through exciting performances and educational programming of the highest quality, presented to the widest possible audience.

Join us each Monday morning to bring the joy of classical ballet to your family. A weekly curriculum will be posted for your discovery!


ABTKids Daily is generously supported by
Bloomberg Philanthropies


Explore this week’s materials below or view the archive here.

Week of June 29 - July 3, 2020

To Read

To Watch

To Do

Meet a Dancer Monday

Being Odette/Odile with Principal Dancers Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland and Devon Teuscher

Swan Lake is one of classical ballet’s most timeless stories. It is also the most popular ballet in ABT’s repertoire and the only ballet that ABT performs every year on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.

Set to the enchanting score by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake is a story about love, tragedy and the struggle between good and evil. This struggle can be seen between the characters of Odette (White Swan) and Odile (Black Swan).

Meet ABT Principal Dancers Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland and Devon Teuscher as they describe the physical and emotional challenges it takes to portray the role that many ballerinas dream of performing.

Teaching Artist Tuesday

Join one of ABT’s Teaching Artists as they introduce you to one of ABT’s fabulous ballets. Learn a dance, stop and sketch, and don’t forget to have fun!

Up this week: Ms. Sarah!

Swan Lake

James Whiteside in Swan Lake. Photo: Gene Schiavone.
James Whiteside in Swan Lake. Photo: Gene Schiavone.

What's Up Wednesday


A very fun and unique prop makes an appearance during the celebration of Prince Siegfried’s birthday: a maypole. Maypoles are tall poles that are decorated with ribbons and flowers to symbolize a tree during the first blooms of the summer season. Dancing around the maypole is a cherished tradition dating all the way back to the 14th century to celebrate life, love and magic on Beltane, today popularly known as May Day.

Fun Facts

  • Maypole’s are used for a variety of celebrations spanning the entire globe including Germany, France, Spain, Mexico, Jamaica, Iran and beyond.
  • According to the Guinness World Record, the tallest maypole was 187 feet in Germany.
  • During Små grodorna, a maypole dancing game, people of all ages hop around the maypole while singing about little frogs.
  • The largest maypole dance was done in the United States, in Pennsylvania with 326 participants.
  • The famous scientist Sir Issac Newton used a part of a maypole to make a telescope.
  • The British Parliament banned the maypole for a short period of time in 1644 because some people believed that dancing was immoral.

Today we’re going to create your very own Maypole for your own celebrations!

DIY Maypole

Click the image to download written instructions, then watch the video below to create your own maypole with ABT intern Ananya!

Materials Needed

  • Pencil
  • 3-4 pieces of ribbon/string
  • 1 Push Pin
  • Scissors

Throwback Thursday

Every Thursday we pull a photo from our archives and share it with one of our ABT dancers. You never know what stories may come from a single snapshot!

Katherine Williams and Tyler Gurfein in Swan Lake. Photo: Gene Schiavone.
Katherine Williams and Tyler Gurfein in Swan Lake. Photo: Gene Schiavone.

Katherine Williams
ABT Soloist
Joined ABT in 2007

“The ballet Swan Lake has always had special meaning for me because it was the first ballet I ever saw ABT perform! The music is so beautiful and the movement really allows you to work on your artistry as a dancer. I remember that is was very difficult to perform this pas de deux because I had just gone through a growth spurt and felt like Bambi on new legs!

Partnering is always tricky at first because a lot of us don’t get much practice with it in school. But like everything else, the more you work on it the easier it gets. It’s especially beneficial when you have a considerate partner (like my friend Tyler Gurfein in this photo) who is willing to work on things with you- it makes the whole experience better!”

View More Photos of Katherine!

Writing Prompt

Write about something that you wish you had more opportunities to practice.

Funtime Friday

Swan Talk

Swans are majestic creatures of elegance and intelligence. They even have their own constellation in the sky! Join us this week for Swan Talk with ABT dancers Alexandra Basmagy and Anabel Katsnelson to get the inside scoop on everything there is to know about being a swan in Swan Lake.

You will be able to act, think and waltz like a swan in no time!

ABT JKO School Virtual Classes

In the Spring of 2020, @ABTSchool launched virtual classes taught by former ABT dancers, ABT JKO School faculty and ABT teaching artists – all certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum.

These classes engaged, recommended for ages 2-4 and 5-8, by explore musicality, foster creativity and imagination, and teach ballet fundamentals. These classes engage ABT’s youngest students and their families, as well as the global community at large!

View the full series on @ABTSchool IGTV or ABT’s YouTube Channel.

@ABTSchool IGTVYouTube

Photo: Richard Corman.