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Dancer Training

ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School

Children's Division

ABT JKO School Children's Division

The ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, named after the prior First Lady and longtime ABT Honorary Chairman, is a ballet training program for young dancers that promotes creativity and discipline, enabling children to reach their highest potential. Not only do students receive the best technical training with ABT’s National Training Curriculum, but they are guided by caring instructors who nurture their students’ love for dance.

At its inception, the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School had only 10 students and has since grown to enroll over 430 dancers per academic year. Under the direction of former ABT Principal Dancer and current ABT JKO School Artistic Director Cynthia Harvey, the Children’s Division focuses on building a solid foundation in ballet technique with an emphasis on proper placement and safe progressions of movement while remaining sensitive to the developmental needs of younger dancers.

The Children’s Division is subdivided into Primary Classes and Levels 1A-3. To learn more about the school and how to enroll your young dancer, please browse our Children’s Division class information. Note that all classes include live piano accompaniment.

Photo: Richard Corman

Primary

ABT students ages three to seven are introduced to music and movement in our Primary Levels. The emphasis in these courses is on rhythm, dynamic, and placement, so that students graduate from Primary with an understanding of spatial awareness, correct alignment, teamwork, and focus. Each level is divided by age in order to accommodate the developmental needs of every student. No auditions are necessary for Primary classes.

Photo: Richard Corman

Levels 1A-3

Serious ballet students ages eight to twelve may audition for Levels 1A through 3 to pursue pre-professional training. ABT faculty follow a specific graded curriculum designed to strengthen technique, stamina, and discipline through practical training and lessons in theory. Girls and boys are separated in Levels 2 and 3 to address the specific techniques and physical strength of each individual dancer.

Photo: Rosalie O'Connor.

Curriculum & Schedules

At the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, our students are trained with ABT’s National Training Curriculum, which combines scientific principles with elements of classical French, Italian, and Russian schools of ballet. The goal of our Curriculum is to train students to use their bodies correctly by educating them on anatomy, kinetics, coordination, and alignment. Artistically, our Curriculum strives to provide for students both a rich knowledge of classical ballet technique and the ability to adapt to all styles of dance.

As each level follows our carefully planned Curriculum throughout the year, students are expected to attend all their assigned classes. Students enrolled in the Children’s Division are not permitted to seek outside ballet training or lessons.

Pre-Primary for 3's

Age: 3

Students must turn 3 years old by September 1.

Pre-Primary for 3’s will not be offered in-person for the 2021-2022 school year.

Pre-Primary for 3'sPhoto: Richard Corman.

Pre-Primary for 4's

Age: 4

Students must turn 4 years old by December 1.

Pre-Primary for 4’s will not be offered in-person for the 2021-2022 school year.

Pre-Primary for 4'sPhoto: Richard Corman.

Primary A

Tuition: $1450

Ages: 5 - 6

Students must turn 5 years old by December 1, 2021.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students may enroll in one of the following class sections.

Section 1

Saturday 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Section 2

Saturday 11:45 am - 12:45 pm

Primary ARichard Corman

Primary B

Tuition: $1450

Ages: 6 - 7

Students must turn 6 years old by December 1, 2021.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Saturday 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Primary BRichard Corman

Primary C

Tuition: $2800

Ages: 7 - 8

Students must turn 7 years old by December 1, 2021.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Students may enroll in one of the following class sections.

Section 1

Monday 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Thursday 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Section 2

Tuesday 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Saturday 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Primary CRosalie O'Connor

Level 1A

Tuition: $3400

Ages: 8 - 10

An audition is required for Level 1A.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the ABT JKO School artistic faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Students may enroll in one of the following class sections.

Section 1

Monday 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Thursday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Section 2

Tuesday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Friday 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Level 1ARosalie O'Connor

Level 1B

Tuition: $3400

Ages: 8 - 10

An audition is required for Level 1B.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the ABT JKO School artistic faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Students may enroll in one of the following class sections.

Section 1

Monday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Thursday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Section 2

Tuesday 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Friday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Level 1BRosalie O'Connor

Level 2A

Tuition: $4900

Ages: 9 - 11

An audition is required for Level 2A.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the ABT JKO School artistic faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Monday 4:45 pm - 6:15 pm Ballet Technique

Monday 6:15 pm - 7:15 pm Character Dance

Tuesday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Level 2 & 3 Boys' Class +

Wednesday 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Girls' Pre-Pointe *

Wednesday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Ballet Technique

Saturday 9:15 am - 10:45 am Ballet Technique

+ Boys in Level 2 attend a mandatory 1.5-hour boys' class, in addition to their technique classes, as part of the ABT MENtor program.

* Girls in Level 2 attend a mandatory one-hour pre-pointe class in addition to their weekly classes to help prepare them for pointe work.

Level 2ARosalie O'Connor

Level 2B

Tuition: $4900

Ages: 9 - 11

An audition is required for Level 2B.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the ABT JKO School artistic faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Monday 4:45 pm - 5:45 pm Character Dance

Monday 5:45 pm - 7:15 pm Ballet Technique

Tuesday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Level 2 & 3 Boys' Class +

Wednesday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Ballet Technique

Saturday 9:00 am - 10:30 am Ballet Technique

Saturday 10:30 am - 11:30 am Girls' Pre-Pointe *

+ Boys in Level 2 attend a mandatory 1.5-hour boys' class, in addition to their technique classes, as part of the ABT MENtor program.

* Girls in Level 2 attend a mandatory one-hour pre-pointe class in addition to their weekly classes to help prepare them for pointe work.

Level 2BPhoto: Rosalie O'Connor.

Level 3A

Tuition: $5980

Ages: 10 - 12

An audition is required for Level 3A.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the ABT JKO School artistic faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Monday 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Modern

Monday 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Ballet Technique

Monday 7:00 pm - 7:30 pm Pointe *

Tuesday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Level 2 & 3 Boys' Class +

Wednesday 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Character Dance

Wednesday 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm Ballet Technique

Wednesday 7:00 pm - 7:30 pm Pointe *

Thursday 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Girls' Strength *

Thursday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Ballet Technique

Saturday 9:00 am - 10:30 am Ballet Technique

Saturday 10:30 am - 11:00 am Pointe *

+ Boys in Level 3 attend a mandatory 1.5-hour boys' class, in addition to their technique classes, as part of the ABT MENtor program.

* Girls in Level 3A attend a mandatory one-hour girls' strength class and (3) half-hour pointe classes in addition to their technique classes.

Level 3APhoto: Richard Corman.

Level 3B

Tuition: $6300

Ages: 11+

An audition is required for Level 3B.

Please keep in mind that the age range is given as a guideline. Students will be placed by the ABT JKO School artistic faculty in the appropriate level based on technique demonstrated at the open audition.

2021-2022 Class Schedules

Students must attend all classes listed for their level.

Monday 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Ballet Technique

Monday 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm Pointe *

Monday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Girls' Strength *

Tuesday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Level 2 & 3 Boys’ Class +

Wednesday 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Ballet Technique

Wednesday 6:00 pm - 6:30 pm Pointe *

Wednesday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Character Dance

Friday 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Ballet Technique

Friday 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Modern

Saturday 9:15 am - 10:45 am Ballet Technique

Saturday 10:45 am - 11:45 am Pointe *

* Girls in Level 3B attend a mandatory one-hour girls' conditioning class, (2) half-hour pointe classes and (1) full-hour pointe class in addition to their technique classes.

+ Boys in Level 3 attend a mandatory 1.5-hour boys' class, in addition to their technique classes, as part of the ABT MENtor program.

Level 3BPhoto: Richard Corman.

Bridge Class

Ages: 8 - 10

The Children’s Division Bridge Class provides a bridge from ABT to the New York City community and also serves to identify and train talented young students with potential for careers in dance.

Students who train at one of our Project Plié Partner Schools are eligible to audition for this program. Students can also be nominated to audition by an ABT Certified Teacher or an ABT Teaching Artist. For more information about the Bridge Class and our Project Plié Partner Schools, please click here.

Bridge ClassRichard Corman
Former ABT Principal Dancer Julio Bocca with Cynthia Harvey and ABT JKO School students.
Former ABT Principal Dancer Julio Bocca with Cynthia Harvey and ABT JKO School students.

ABT MENtor

Launched in the fall of 2017, under the direction of ABT JKO School Artistic Director Cynthia Harvey, ABT MENtor is an initiative intended to support our male students in the ABT JKO School as they progress through the ABT Training Ladder.

Male students will participate in seminars and workshops with current and former professional dancers in American Ballet Theatre and other prestigious companies, as well as observe the Pre-Professional Division and ABT Studio Company.

ABT MENtor strives to develop a supportive and educational environment for the boys and their families in Levels 1A through 3B of the Children’s Division. Boys in Levels 2 and 3 take a separate 1.5 hour boys’ technique class each week as part of the ABT MENtor program.

Photo: Rosalie O'Connor.

Enrollment

Pre-Primary & Primary Levels

For students ages 3-7 (includes only 7 -year-olds who will turn 8 after December 1)

Pre-Primary and Primary levels at the ABT JKO School require no prior dance experience. Placement in each level is based solely on child’s date of birth.

For the 2021-2022 school year, class sizes will be strictly limited in accordance with Covid-19 safety protocols. Due to these new guidelines and revised class sizes, enrollment in the Children’s Division will be extremely limited. For Fall 2021, the ABT JKO School is not accepting new students for Primary A, B or C levels. If additional in-person or virtual classes are added for the Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 semesters, information will be updated here.

Children’s Division Pre-Primary & Primary Levels:

Level Age Group Cutoff Dates
Pre-Primary for 3’s*

*Not offered for 2021-2022 school year
Age 3 Students must turn 3 by September 1
Pre-Primary for 4’s*

*Not offered for 2021-2022 school year
Age 4 Students must turn 4 by December 1
Primary A Age 5 Students must turn 5 by December 1
Primary B Age 6 Students must turn 6 by December 1
Primary C Age 7 Students must turn 7 by December 1

Note: Students who turn 8 by December 1 must attend an Open Audition for Level 1A+

Photo: Rosalie O'Connor.

Open Auditions

For students ages 7-12 (includes only 7-year-olds who will turn 8 by December 1)

Auditions are required for students who wish to enroll in Levels 1A through 3B of the ABT JKO School. These levels are for students ages seven to twelve with previous ballet training. Upon acceptance, students will be placed into the appropriate level by the Artistic Faculty.

The ABT JKO School Children’s Division held virtual auditions on August 9 & 10, 2021. We currently have no further scheduled auditions for the 2021-2022 school year. Please check back for future audition dates or contact [email protected].

Faculty & Accompanists

American Ballet Theatre strives to provide educational programming of the highest quality, and it all starts with our faculty. ABT JKO School faculty includes members of the ABT Artistic Staff, ABT Alumni and graduates of the ABT/NYU Master’s Program in Ballet Pedagogy.

All Children’s Division faculty members are certified in each level of the National Training Curriculum.

Photo: Fabrizio Ferri

Kevin McKenzie

Artistic Director

View Kevin's Profile

Photo: Ian Whalen

Cynthia Harvey

ABT JKO School Artistic Director

View Cynthia's Profile

Faculty

Photo: Chris Hardy.

Rubén Martín

Principal Teacher, ABT JKO School Pre-Professional Division

View Rubén's Bio

Harriet Clark

Principal Teacher, ABT JKO School Children’s Division

View Harriet's Bio

Photo: Hanna Bass

Franco De Vita

ABT National Training Curriculum Associate Emeritus

View Franco's Bio

Accompanists

Each class at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School is accompanied by one of our accomplished musicians.

Michael Cherry, Stephanie Chun, John Epperson, Misha Golubitsky, Shimako Horii, Sofiya Leavsie, Dmitry Polischuk, Victor See Yuen, Mihoko Suzuki, Laura Tishchenko, Mira Tsidulko

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.

 


ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School students wear Capezio leotards.

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