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ABTKids Daily

Week of May 17-21, 2021

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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 at the Top of the Rock!
Presented in partnership with Rockefeller Center
as part of their 2021 Spring Sunday event.

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 May 17-21, 2021

To Read

To Watch

To Do

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

ABTKids Daily is celebrating Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We also recognize and pay tribute to all of ABT’s Asian/Pacific Islander dancers (former and current) who are not American citizens but have made incredible contributions to American culture and the American Ballet Theatre family!

The term Asian-American has a very broad definition. Did you know that there are 48 independent nations in Asia?

  • Eastern Asia includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, South Korea, North Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Paracel Islands, and Taiwan.
  • South Central Asia includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Southeastern Asia includes Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Western Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Note: Regions are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Did you know that the Pacific Ocean contains an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 islands?

While most of these islands are uninhabited, Pacific Islanders generally live in the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month was chosen to be celebrated in May as a way to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Meet A Dancer Monday

ABT Soloist Zhong-Jing Fang with former ABT Soloist Yan Chen


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 Richard Toda

ABT’s First Tour to Japan in 1968

What’s up Wednesday 

Matching Game: ABT's Asian Dancers

ABT’s roster currently includes several extremely talented dancers from China, Japan, and  South Korea.  Meet them in this week’s matching game!

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    Sono Osato as Rosaline in Antony Tudor’s Romeo and Juliet. Photograph by Walter E. Owen, courtesy Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
    Sono Osato as Rosaline in Antony Tudor’s Romeo and Juliet. Photograph by Walter E. Owen, courtesy Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

    Throwback Thursday

    A look back at the extraordinary career of Sono Osato, one of American Ballet Theatre’s first dancers of Asian descent.

    Sono Osato danced with American Ballet Theatre (Ballet Theatre at that time) in the early 1940s. She was an extraordinary performer who later went on to star on Broadway in the legendary show, On the Town (Bernstein/Robbins). New York Times writer, Lewis Nichols, while reviewing On the Town said, “Ms. Osato brought down the highest rafters when she appeared a year ago in ‘One Touch of Venus,’ and there is no reason to replace any of those rafters now.”

    She was inspired at age 8 to start her ballet training after seeing the world-famous Ballets Russes in Monte Carlo with her family. 6 years later she would make her debut with the company as its youngest dancer at the age of 14. She was Ballet Russes’ first American dancer and the company’s first dancer of Japanese heritage. She danced around the world for the next 6 years.

    She then joined ABT in the early 1940s. With the company, she danced in Bronislava Nijinska’s Beloved and Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty. She danced the role of Rosaline in Antony Tudor’s Romeo and Juliet and “a woman of easy virtue” in his Pillar of Fire.

    During that time, anti-Japanese sentiment was building in the U.S. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, her own father, Shoji Osato, was placed in a Japanese American Internment camp and her brother was sent to fight overseas. They both, thankfully, survived. During this period she was not legally allowed by the government to leave the U.S., or even visit some states, because of her Japanese heritage. This sadly kept her from going on several tours with ABT.   For a short while she even took to performing under her mother’s maiden name Sono Fitzpatrick.

    She did not let that stop her though. She made her way back onstage in a big way and in 1943 she received an award for her show-stopping Broadway performance in the show, One Touch of Venus.

    Ms. Osato was also deeply celebrated for her performance as Ivy Smith “Miss Turnstiles” in the Broadway production of On the Town. Ms. Osato originated the role!

    She acted alongside Frank Sinatra in the film, The Kissing Bandit. She returned to Broadway for a role in Peer Gynt and made appearances on television.

    Later in life, Ms. Osato generously supported the non-profit Career Transitions for Dancers. She even started the Sono Osato Scholarship Program for Graduate Studies.

    Sono’s Journey

    Ms. Osato’s story is so incredible that Thodos Dance Chicago (based in her hometown) created the piece, Sono’s Journey about her life.

    Funtime Friday

    My Family Tradition

    This week we asked students from our ABT Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis School to share some of their favorite family traditions.   View our gallery below and think about what are your favorite family traditions.   Do they celebrate your culture or religion?   Or is it a special meal or food dish like Taco Tuesdays or Pizza Fridays?

    Use the worksheet below to share your favorite tradition and if you are celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month feel free to show off your why you are proud of your heritage.

    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.