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Education Programs

Make a Ballet

Make a Ballet Program

The centerpiece of American Ballet Theatre’s education and outreach initiatives is its award-winning Make a Ballet program. Helping to meet the need for arts education in underserved schools and communities, this model program also introduces students to all aspects of the creative and administrative theatrical experience.

Make a Ballet was first launched at The Frederick Douglass Academy in central Harlem in 1997, and is currently a presence in six area schools.

In addition to exposing students to classical dance and building future audiences, Make a Ballet emphasizes career opportunities in the arts, onstage and backstage, and also helps students develop valuable life skills.

Following the first year of participation, ABT and school staff continue to cultivate students’ skills and career interests by supervising independent projects, administrative internships at ABT, and other after-school enrichment activities.

Make a Ballet students perform The Green Table


Make a Ballet offers students the opportunity to design, choreograph, construct, produce, and perform their own original performance piece. The students work under the tutelage of ABT teaching artists – all of whom are professionals in their field — and school faculty.

Students work in four teams:

Performance Team

Chooses a theme and music; creates choreography with an ABT choreographer; and performs the piece on stage

Administration Team

Creates a project budget; develops a plan to market the ballet to the school, local community, and the media; creates all tickets, invitations, and programs; and raises funds for the production.

Production Team

Designs light plots and sets up theatrical lights; learns all necessary aspects of backstage work and front-of-house management; and learns how to call cues for a show. This team will function as the stage crew for the performance.

Design Team

Designs and construct sets and costumes for the production.

Make a Ballet Performances

At year’s end, students present multiple performances of their original work. The first performance will take place at each school for the members of both the school and local community. Students will also perform excerpts of their final performance piece on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera House as part of American Ballet Theatre’s ABTKids: Schools. Tickets are complimentary for schools in the New York Metropolitan area.

ABTKids: Schools
ABTKids at the Metropolitan Opera HousePhoto: Rosalie O'Connor. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor.

Partnering Schools

Waterside School; Stamford, Connecticut
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School; Queens, New York
PS 1 – The Alfred E. Smith School; Chinatown, New York
PS 261 – Philip Livingston School; Brooklyn, New York

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