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ABTKids Daily

Week of January 18-22, 2021

Scene from Whipped Cream. Photo: Gene Schiavone.
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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 January 18-22, 2021

To Read

To Watch

To Do

Holiday Week

Everyone loves a holiday! While many enjoy the excitement of a three-day weekend and getting to spend more time with your family and friends, holidays are a special day or time that is set aside to honor an important person or event.

This week, Americans celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, January 18 is an official day of service and celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. This holiday is celebrated as “a day on, not a day off” and is designated as a day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Many ABT dancers and staff will spend the morning volunteering with New York Cares to help provide meals for families in need.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an example of a Federal Holiday, where it is common for government services such as the post office, schools, and banking institutions to close in observance. Currently there are 10 Federal Holidays in the United States:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day/ 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day (also observed in some states as Indigenous People’s Day)
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

You may also notice that your school might observe additional holidays such as Yom Kippur, Lunar New Year, Good Friday/Easter, and Eid Al-Fitr. These are all example of religious holidays and are some of the oldest holidays celebrated, with many beginning thousands of years ago.

Did you know that there is a third kind of holiday?

Did you know that yesterday was a holiday?

Did you know today was a holiday?

Did you know tomorrow was a holiday?

Did you know that every single day of the year is a holiday?

It’s true!

So far this January people across the country celebrated:

  • Polar Bear Plunge Day (January 1)
  • Static Electricity Day (January 9)
  • Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day (January 11)

This week ABTKids Daily explores some of January’s lesser known holidays. Make sure you spread the word! Remember everyone loves a good holiday!

Meet A Dancer Monday

Answer Your Cat's Questions Day - January 22

Looking for the “purr”-fect holiday to spend with your feline friend? Look no further than this unofficial holiday on January 22.

All you have to do to celebrate this holiday is the following:

  • Invite your cat to hang out with you (possibly encouraging them with treats!)
  • Some petting and maybe a belly rub should get them talking (or purring!)
  • Listen carefully to find out all of their burning questions.
  • Try to answer their questions.
  • If they have no questions, just make sure to tell them how much you love them!

We asked dancers in the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School to sit down with their cats and find out what’s on their minds. Fortunately, no kitty asked “What is the ‘purr’-pose of life?”

Bailey and Belle (Age 12)
with Gia (Age 5), a rescue from the Humane Society

Gia asks, “Will these shoes help my pas de chat?”

Sidney (Age 12)
with Derby (dancing) and Otis (observing), both rescues from a local animal shelter

Sidney tells us that Derby would ask “Are my arms in the right position?” Otis asks “Can I still have a cookie if I don’t do the trick?”

By now, all of Sidney’s classmates and teachers are familiar with these two boys. They show up daily and rush to the basement studio as soon as they hear the music.  They both love ballet class and show up for it every day.

Sidney started training them to reach for the bar at the start of quarantine. A ton of patience along with repetition (not unlike ballet training) and several bags of cat treats is all it took to get both of them reaching for the bar.

Teaching Artist Tuesday

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

Up this week: ABT Teaching Artist Alexis Andrews!

For generations, a favorite playground game for children has been “Opposite Day”! Why walk up the stairs and go down the slide, when you can run up the slide and walk down the stairs? This week, see if you can keep up with Ms. Alexis and her Opposite Day dance warm-up!

Opposite Day - January 25

What’s up Wednesday 

National Puzzle Day - January 29

National Puzzle Day celebrates the benefits of exercising and challenging our brains! Puzzles come in all forms: crossword, jigsaw, trivia, word searches, Sudoku and many more.

At American Ballet Theatre we have to solve lots of puzzles everyday!

For example, our Artistic team has to cast large ballets that can feature hundreds of roles, while our Company Managers have to figure out how to transport and house over 100 dancers and crew when the Company performs in cities across the globe.

Today challenge yourself with the puzzles below, or if you have a special type of puzzle you enjoy, set aside some time to exercise one of your most important muscles: your brain!

Harlequinade Jigsaw Puzzle

Sudoku Puzzles: Easy, Medium, and Hard!

Throwback Thursday

Yad Sdrawkcab - January 31

This may seem pretty similar to Opposite Day, but there is no better holiday for Throwback Thursday!

Think about all the fun things you can do on this wacky holiday!

  • Wear your shirt and pants backwards?
  • Eat dessert first and finish your meal with a salad?
  • Dry off with a towel and then take a shower?

How are you going to celebrate Backwards Day? Come up with a plan and recruit family members or friends to try something wacky and backwards.

Have you ever wondered what a dance would look like it reverse? Last spring, ABT Apprentices Chloe Misseldine and Melvin Lavowie performed in Blended, a wonderful dance film. Let’s see what happens to their movement when we reverse the footage and play it backwards!

Fun Fact

Did you know that emus cannot walk backward?

Funtime Friday

Tin Can Day - January 19

Celebrate Tin Can Day by creating your very own instrument: Tin Can Drums!

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.