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ABTKids Daily

Week of July 20-24, 2020

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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 July 20-24, 2020

To Read

To Watch

To Do

Ballet Villain Week

This week ABTKids Daily celebrates the characters we love to boo! Our ballet villians love to make trouble by casting their evil spells, turn Princesses into swans, and do everything they can to make life difficult for our protagonists or heroes. While we always cheer for the Prince and Princess, going to the ballet would be so much less fun without a good villain!

Meet a Dancer Monday

Swan Lake - Bringing the von Rothbarts to Life!

Ever wonder what is takes to become a villain? Let’s take a look at how we bring one of ballet’s most notorious villains to life – von Rothbart from Swan Lake!

In Swan Lake, the von Rothbart Lakeside and Ballroom designs are drastically different yet they are meant to be the same person, Lakeside the alter ego of Ballroom. Though the two do not resemble each other much, we do use similar techniques while doing their makeup. In theatrical makeup, using certain contouring techniques help achieve specific looks and characteristics. Contouring at sharp angles not only helps to define the face, it also enhances masculine features and helps create an evil look. Keeping the eyebrows, cheekbones and jawline very straight and angular (verses rounded) helps the audience to interpret this seriousness even from a distance.

Von Rothbart Lakeside looks much more complicated but we use these same concepts and then exaggerate them and use a different color palette, which then creates a less human and more monster look. Lakeside also has a prosthetic headpiece. This headpiece’s base sits on the dancers head like a hat; we then add a disposable baldcap on top of the base. The baldcap is painted and is glued to the dancers face and neck, keeping it on throughout the performance.


View Photos

Aran Bell as Ballroom and Thomas Forster as Lakeside.
Photo: Connor Holloway.

Fun Facts

Von Rothbart’s beard is usually fake! A fake beard is either glued on or we paint one on. The dancer can wear his own natural beard if possible.
Both characters take about 30-45 minutes to get ready.
We always paint Von Rothbarts hands and teeth to further his monster look!

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: Mr. Adam!

Swan Lake: von Rothbart

What's Up Wednesday

A Ballet Villains Puzzle!

Throwback Thursday

Roman Zhurbin
ABT Soloist
Joined ABT in 2004

Over his 16-year career at American Ballet Theatre, Soloist Roman Zhurbin has made his mark as one of the Company’s finest acting talents. This week we ask him to look back at his career and the many ballet villains he has had the opportunity to bring to life!

Funtime Friday

ABT Dance Libs - Villain Edition

Provide the words below for each Dance Lib game and create your own villain stories!

Villain Rivalry Mashup

Villain Backstory

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.