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ABTKids Daily

Week of November 30 - December 4, 2020

Illustration by Luciano Lozano, courtesy Random House Children's Books.
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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.


Watch ABTKids 2020: B is for Ballet!
Presented in partnership with Random House Children’s Books,
the program is inspired by B Is for Ballet: A Dance Alphabet.

Week of November 30 - December 4, 2020

To Read

To Watch

To Do

Orchestra Week

ABTKids Daily turns our attention to one of ballets most important elements, the music. The ABT Orchestra is composed of over 60 highly talented, professional musicians who make the theatre come to life each and every night through their masterful performances!

Occasionally you will have the opportunity to see our musicians on the stage with our dancers, but normally you will find them in the orchestra pit in front of the stage. Next time you attend the ballet feel free to walk down to the pit and wave to our musicians!

This week we are very happy to be joined by seven musicians and one conductor as they introduce some of the instruments you would encounter on a trip to the ballet.


First We Tune - Oboist Matthew Dine

Before any orchestra begins, they tune their instruments. Let’s get ready for Orchestra Week with ABT Oboist Matthew Dine.

Fun Fact: The oboe is a double reed woodwind instrument and often oboe players make their own reeds!


Meet the Conductor - Ormsby Wilkins

Today we meet ABT’s Music Director and Conductor, Ormsby Wilkins, as he explains the different sections of the orchestra and why there are no easy ballets to conduct!


Meet the Clarinet - David Gould

The clarinet is a member of the woodwind family, along with others such as the flute, oboe, saxophone, and bassoon. Did you know that the clarinet has the largest range in pitch, out of all the common woodwind instruments?

There are many different types of clarinets, and they continue to evolve. Today ABT Clarinetist David Gould shares many of the different clarinets that he has collected!

Clarinet Quiz

Let’s test what you learned with out Clarinet Quiz. True or False?

Smaller clarinets play lower notes, and the bigger clarinets play higher notes.

The clarinet developed from an instrument called the Chalumeau.

Clarinets can only be one size.

When clarinets were first invented, they weren’t able to play in every single key.


Meet the Violin - Robin Bushman, Mike Gillette, and Carol Zeavin

Did you know…
– That no two violins are the same?
– That the bow of a violin is made of horse hair from Siberian horses?
– The violin can play more than one note at the same time?

Join us as we meet three of ABT’s Violinists and discover more interesting facts about this popular instrument!


Meet the Flute - Judith Mendenhall

The flute is another instrument in the woodwind family. Something unique about the flute is that it creates sound from the flow of air. The pitch can be changed by altering the direction of the air, or pressing buttons.

Did you know…
– A long time ago, flutes were made out of wood? Now they can be made from metal.
– That flutes need the second most amount of air to play, following the tuba?

Let’s meet ABT Principal Flutist, Judith Mendenhall as she demonstrates why the flute is one of the most captivating musical instruments!

Writing Prompt

If you could play any instrument in the world, what would it be and why?


Meet the Bass - Lewis Paer

The bass is the largest and lowest-pitched string instrument in the orchestra. The bass goes by many names. You may have heard it referred to as the “double bass,” “contrabass,” “string bass,” “upright bass,” or “bass fiddle”. Unlike the violin, this string instrument is too big to fit under your chin, so the bass has to stand on the floor.

Do you want to know more? Let’s meet ABT Principal Bassist Lewis Paer!

Orchestra Crossword

Let’s see how much you remember with our Orchestra Week Crossword Puzzle!

ABT JKO School Children's Division Online Community 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.

Recommended for ages 2-4 and 5-8, these classes engage ABT’s youngest students and their families, as well as the global community at large, by exploring musicality, fostering creativity and imagination, and teaching ballet fundamentals.

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

@ABTSchool IGTVYouTube

Photo: Richard Corman.