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ABT News

June 30, 2011



American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Dance in Winston-Salem have announced plans for a five-year partnership, which will implement ABT’s National Training Curriculum throughout the UNCSA School of Dance preparatory, high school and collegiate divisions and make UNCSA’s campus a second home for ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School by becoming an exclusive affiliate school. The partnership was announced today by ABT Executive Director Rachel S. Moore and UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri.

Under the terms of the agreement, all UNCSA ballet faculty will receive training and become certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum from primary through partnering levels. In addition, ABT artistic staff and faculty will conduct master classes in the Curriculum annually at UNCSA School of Dance. ABT’s partnership with UNCSA School of Dance is effective immediately and will be enacted at the start of UNCSA’s Fall 2011 term.

“UNCSA has a long and illustrious history of training exceptional dancers,” said Rachel S. Moore. “We are thrilled to partner with this institution to further our goal of providing dance students with the skills to help them reach the highest level of achievement possible. Through this partnership, UNCSA becomes the exclusive affiliate school of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and students can attain a position for inclusion in the ABT Studio Company.”

Speaking of the partnership, Caroline Kennedy, American Ballet Theatre’s Honorary Chairman, said, "I am delighted the JKO School is expanding its reach to partner with UNCSA. One of our goals in forming the School was to provide the highest quality training for students nationally and the joining of these two prestigious institutions couldn’t be a better fit.”

“American Ballet Theatre is at the pinnacle of the dance world,” said UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri. “More than a company, it represents a commitment to the very best in dance and live performance. UNCSA has a long history of collaboration with ABT, and we are very excited to formalize our relationship,” Chancellor Mauceri continued. “This affiliation will have a transformative impact on both of our institutions.”

Tom Ross, President of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, of which UNCSA is a member, said, “To have UNCSA named the exclusive affiliate school of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre is a tremendous honor that speaks volumes about the caliber of our dance students and faculty. We applaud this collaboration, and know that our students will be the better for it.”

Moore will act as advisor to UNCSA School of Dance and consult on the selection of the school’s next Dean and other faculty. Members of ABT’s faculty will provide feedback and evaluation in addition to conducting master classes on campus. ABT faculty will also participate in annual student juries and examinations. Plans also call for UNCSA to host an ABT Summer Intensive in 2012.

UNCSA alumni at American Ballet Theatre include Principal Dancer Gillian Murphy, Soloist Maria Riccetto and corps de ballet members Julio Bragado-Young, Blaine Hoven, Joseph Phillips, Kelley Potter and Isaac Stappas, as well as ABT Associate Artistic Director and former Principal Dancer, Victor Barbee. ABT lighting director Brad Fields is an alumnus of UNCSA School of Design and Production. Current UNCSA ballet faculty members who were former members of ABT include
Warren Conover, Fanchon Cordell and Frank Smith. Current guest faculty Laura Martin, is also a former dancer with ABT, as is her husband Chris Martin, who teaches in UNCSA’s summer program and is a substitute teacher during the academic year. In past
years&##44; UNCSA has hosted numerous residencies and performances by the ABT Studio Company.

American Ballet Theatre was created by Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith in 1940.
Ms. Chase’s son, Alex Ewing, served as Chancellor of UNCSA for 10 years from 1990
to 2000, as well as Interim Dean of the School of Dance (2007). Most recently, ABT
Principal Dancer Ethan Stiefel served as Dean of UNCSA’s School of Dance (2008-2011).


American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines, consistent with the best practices in the fields of sports psychology, child/adolescent development, nutrition and training. The teaching methods of ABT’s National Training Curriculum incorporate elements of the French, Italian and Russian schools of training and are currently in place at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. The Curriculum is standard at all of ABT’s pre-professional training programs, including the ABT Studio Company, Summer Intensives, outreach programs and NYU Masters program in ABT Ballet Pedagogy.

Under the artistic direction of ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, the curriculum was written and designed by Franco De Vita, Principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and Raymond Lukens, Artistic Associate of the ABT/NYU Masters program, in collaboration with a national artistic advisory panel and a medical advisory board. The Curriculum is implemented through a
series of teacher training intensives and a teacher certification program conducted
throughout the United States. Since the program’s inauguration in 2008, 488 teachers have been certified in ABT’s National Training Curriculum.


The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and
Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit

UNCSA School of Dance

The purpose of the UNCSA School of Dance is to identify and prepare young, talented dancers for professional performing careers. The School’s rigorous and nurturing conservatory approach develops technically sound, artistically sensitive and stylistically versatile dancer-artists. Distinguished full-time faculty work closely with students and share their professional expertise through a unique and comprehensive curriculum. Visiting guest artists, choreographers and company residencies bring fresh perspectives on current trends in the field. Recognizing that performing is an integral component of dance training, the School of Dance offers regular performance opportunities and is committed to presenting world-class repertory in our concerts. The School of Dance awards the High School Diploma with concentrations in Ballet and Contemporary Dance and the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Undergraduate Arts Certificate with concentrations in Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Both concentrations emphasize the strong fundamentals particular to each, while looking to the other discipline for cross-training, collaboration and inspiration. The Preparatory Dance Program is a pre-professional dance training program that prepares 3rd through 7th-grade students for entry into the UNCSA School of Dance’s high school. Classes meet after school and are tuition-free for children who are accepted into the program.


Recognized as one of the premier dance companies in the world, American Ballet Theatre brings the highest quality dance and dancers to audiences across the globe. Celebrating its role as America’s National Ballet Company¬Æ ABT tours nationally and internationally, performing for over 600,000 people annually.

Under the direction of Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith from 1940-1980, ABT developed a repertoire that honored the past while encouraging the development of the art form through the creation of new works. ABT’s mission to create, to present, to preserve, and to extend the great repertoire of classical dancing is evident in its presentation of the classics such as Swan Lake, Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty and seminal works by the great choreographic geniuses of the 20th century: George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp, among others.

Today, under the artistic direction of former ABT Principal Dancer Kevin McKenzie, the Company remains steadfast in its vision as “American” and continues to bring the art of dance-theater to the great stages of the world.

American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is a pre-professional ballet training program for students ages 11-18. Under the direction of Franco De Vita, Principal, students thrive in an elite atmosphere dedicated to the success of each student. Admission is by audition only.

For more information about the JKO Affiliate School at UNCSA, please contact UNCSA Interim Dean of Dance Brenda Daniels at or ABT
Director of Education & Training Mary Jo Ziesel at

Media Contact:
Kelly Ryan

American Ballet Theatre
212.477.3030 ext.3235
Marla Carpenter
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