Ballet faces even more economic problems

Whether it is the Bloomberg Financial Report or the Economist, Fortune, National News, or even your local news, the message is clear: 2023 will be a challenging year fiscally. The global economy is suffering, and the “slowcession” is already rearing its ugly head. While some say this will help us avoid an economic crash, one in the arts has to sit back and contemplate the future of performing arts once again. If the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t enough of a blow to the performing arts, or the many scandals that unfolded, we are now facing the fact that inflation is ruining the world of performing arts. Seeing dance studios across the United States raise their prices, inflating the costs of costumes and private training creates a dangerous threat: you will outprice your clientele. Dance is a luxury hobby. Dance at the competitive level is even more of a luxury, and ballet, in essence, is the most luxurious genre of them all. As expenses surrounding ballet never end. While small schools and studios face this problem, the bigger issue is how will professional ballet companies survive. It isn’t a secret that ballet companies survive on three main revenue streams: Ticket Sales (mostly Nutcracker), their affiliated ballet school, and development (donations and grants). If we are gearing up for a recession or an economic downturn, luxury events like attending the ballet are going to slow down. The number of kids attending classes will also decrease as families will make budget cuts.

This challenge we are facing brings me back to my soap box, which I have been standing on for years. The older generation criticized me when I said social media would be the future of ballet, and here we are ten years later, depending on it to sell tickets. A particular generation criticized my endorsement of ballet competitions, and here we are now, depending on it to recruit recognizable talent into companies. Now, I am saying it is time to make dance even more accessible and more affordable. We shall see who listens.

If the economy faces a challenging time, daycare will become expensive; kids won’t have the funds to populate their social media with family trips, shopping sprees, and fancy dinners. We have already seen a decrease in attending movies. While after the pandemic, there was a resurgence of live performances and travel, this economic downturn is a sign to start planning. Start making dance more affordable, a cleaner and more positive environment, and create a more streamlined pipeline of success.

Yes, it is all scary, and the future is scary, but you can do many things to plan and guarantee the success of your business and ballet as a whole industry.

Say Goodbye

Hello everyone, if you have been following me on Instagram, you know that recently I cut my left hand, the one I use for illustrating, and hit a nerve. Since then, my drawing and hand function hasn’t been the same. Because of this, I will no longer be doing The Ballet Planner. While I will continue to illustrate, it will not be at the same volume as before, and because of that, I will be closing the shop. So everything must go, and I need to clear out the inventory. Last chance for stickers, sticky notes and more.

Grow your business

Start the New Year off right. For the 2023 year, I will be taking on 10 new clients! Do you want to grow your business, build your brand, and increase your online presence.

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is coming up and A Ballet Education’s Scholarship Fund: A Ballet Foundation is asking you to donate to our scholarship fund. Over the last 9 years we have given away over $400,000 through scholarships, pointe shoes, and fees associated with ballet. This year is our first official years a non-profit 501(c)3, this means your donations are tax-deductible. If you are in the charitable spirit, or would like to get involved with helping finance ballet dreams: please feel free to give. Click here to give today!

A Ballet Foundation Donation

A Ballet Foundation Donation

Entered by customerDonate

Summer Intensive Guide 2023

It is that time of the year again; the time where everyone is overwhelmed, overworked, exhausted, and juggling a million different things. Yes, the 2023 audition season is upon us, and it is more stressful than ever. It could be that this is the first year back of full in-person auditions since the pandemic restrictions. It could be that there are more dancers trying to find placement. Or, it could be that this year is your first year out. Who knows? Every year during the middle of Nutcracker rehearsals and premieres, ballet schools around the world announce their national summer audition tours. This tour is a series of dates that audition thousands of dancers around the world to fill spots at their summer course.

Every year since I started A Ballet Education, I have included a list of placed to audition for the summer. Sometimes it causes controversy, sometimes it causes fear and panic, and sometimes, I am bias. Then again, what review isn’t a little bias? As the audition tours have come out, I have been helping my students plan their auditions, travel schedules, trying to avoid conflicts with competitions, how to navigate everything, and where they might end up.

Here is the problem. Ballet is on a good one, and everyone is so desperate for money, the reality is: Ballet Schools have already started auditioning for their 2023-2024 season. Stressful I know. Most people who are serious about moving to a professional school next September have already started locking in their matches through auditioning. Whether you passed the San Francisco Ballet School pre-screening, or were invited to the Paris Opera Auditions, or National Ballet School’s first round, the reality is, major schools are recruiting a year in advance.

This has now caused schools to start pre-registration for summer intensive auditions as early as the end of October, but now the majority of schools have released their dates. If they haven’t– they are following the “old” way; and they haven’t kept up with social media, or the current trend of ballet.

If you don’t know what a summer intensive is, click here for all of the many posts regarding summer intensives.

Here is A Ballet Education’s 2023 Summer Intensive Guide

(None of these schools have paid for placement or review. These programs are not listed any particular order, sort of.)

  • San Francisco Ballet School
    Patrick Armond, Director (San Francisco, CA)
    As one of the most respected ballet companies in the world, The San Francisco Ballet School has become one of the most recognized schools in the world.
  • School of American Ballet
    Darla Hoover, Chair of Faculty (NYC, NY)
    SAB, the famed school to New York City Ballet and the official school Balanchine founded, this school is the direct line to join the ranks of city ballet. The School of American Ballet is now under a new director, so who knows what the new look of the school will be? However, you should audition, because if you get in, it looks nice on the resume.
  • Paris Opera Ballet School
    Elisabeth Platel, Director (Nanterre, France)
    The Paris Opera Ballet School, literally the OG of ballet schools. This famed institution can be quite difficult to get into, but getting into the summer course can be just as hard. This short program allows you to attend multiple summer courses, and lets you work with some of the most respected teachers in ballet. And let’s be honest… it is the Paris Opera.
  • American Ballet Theatre, New York
    Stella Abrera, Artistic Director (NYC, NY)
    While ABT offers numerous programs and a variety of different levels, you really want to get into New York, and if you get in, you might want to consider it. Another school with a new director, ABT JKO and ABT Studio company might be the future of American Classical Ballet.
  • Elite Classical Coaching
    Catherine Lewellen, AD (Frisco, TX)
    Arguably, Elite classical coaching might be the school to beat in America. This pre-professional school has established itself on the competitive circuit, the collegiate circuit, and has launched professional dancers.
  • Miami City Ballet School & The Choreographic Workshop
    Arantxa Ochoa, School Director (Miami, FL)
    Miami City Ballet School is literally on the beach. So, who wouldn’t want to go summer in Miami? However, it’s not just the location. MCBS has slowly gained momentum and worked their way up to the top, offering a top level Balanchine experience, but offering the technical rigor of Cuban or Russian pedagogy.
  • Master Classes in Prague
    Daria Klimentova, Director (Prague)
    What was once reserved for professionals, or budding professionals, this year, the master classes in Prague will host young dancers under huge names likes Patrick Armond (San Francisco Ballet) and Simona Ferrazza (Dutch National).
  • Princess Grace Academie
    Luca Masala , Artistic Director (Monaco)
    Two weeks in Monaco, who wouldn’t want that? Spending two weeks at the famed Princess Grace is not only a delight because it’s on the French Riviera, but it also allows you to do other summer courses. This two week program looks great on the resue, as the princess grace academy has established itself amongst the world of competitive ballet but consistently winning the PDL.
  • John Cranko Schule
    Tadeusz Matacz, Director (Stuttgart, Germany)
    This beast of a school is housed in their new facilities courtesy of Porsche. This school has always been well respected, but has really become a part of the international ballet scene as they have recruited some of the biggest names and winners. Keeping up with the ballet scene on the global scale is difficult for state run programs, but JCS really is keeping up if not leading the way.
  • National Ballet School
    Mavis Staines, Artistic Director (Toronto, Canada)
    Probably Canada’s most recognized school, this school has always been amazing. However, like others who have followed suit, is finally keeping up with the global recruiting scene, and with the competitive world of ballet. This summer course is also marketing as a four week long audition for their coveted year round program.
  • YAGP NERVI FESTIVAL
    Larissa Savliev, Artistic Director (Nervi, Italy)
    Even the YAGP is keeping up. For the last three years, YAGP Europe has hosted a six day festival in Nervi, hosting some of the biggest directors and choreographers. This week long program offers students the ability to work with multiple directors in a short timespan and sets you up for the competitive season the following year.

Other programs you might want to consider:

Houston Ballet School (Houston, TX)

The Royal Ballet School Summer Intensive, Christopher Powney, AD (UK)

European School of Ballet, Jean Yves Esquerre, Director (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Cary Ballet Conservatory, Mariaelena Ruiz, AD (Cary, NC)

Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, Dmitri Kulev, AD (Orange County, CA)

International Ballet Academy, Nadia Pavlenko, AD (Cary, NC)

Ellison Ballet, Edward Ellison, AD (NYC, NY)

Sarasota Ballet School (Sarasota, FL)

A&A Ballet (Chicago, IL)

Southland Ballet International Intensive (Fountain Hills, CA)

https://www.theballetclinic.com

More programs you might want to consider:

Harid Conservatory

Master Ballet Academy

Ballet West

Philadelphia Ballet School

The Washington Ballet School

Oklahoma City Ballet School

Tulsa Ballet School

Ballet Met

Juilliard

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet

How to build a successful ballet school

Build Quality Relationships with Parents.

The quality of the relationships with the parents of students at ballet schools can make or break a ballet school. One of the biggest mistakes ballet educators make is establishing a hierarchical dialogue with parents through the use of statements like “Well, you weren’t a ballet dancer so you don’t know.” While that statement may be true, at the end of the day, parents are paying for a service, and lack of information or communication often leaves a parent frustrated and/or unhappy are critical. Again, transparency is key.

Building relationships is important, but don’t get taken advantage of. Set up clear boundaries, and set up reasonable expectations. Sometimes, we want to overcompensate because we are afraid of losing clients so we bend over backwards. Don’t.

Find the right balance and communication between teacher and client.

photo by Ashley Lorraine Baker, Dancer: Rachel Loiselle


How to Build a Successful Ballet Program: Understanding your market

HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL BALLET PROGRAM (part 1)

Understand Your Market

One of the biggest frustrations in owning a ballet school is the ability to bring in the “right” students or students in general. It is crucial to understand both your market and your niche. Within these parameters, you want to make sure you have established yourself as a brand. Having a clear vision of who you are, what you represent, and who you will be serving is extremely important. This will help you discover what the “right” student is for you.

Now, there will most likely be many dance schools in one area because of the student population within a school district, a certain area that houses a certain socioeconomic status, or a high volume of traffic. But, all of these schools can coexist, as there are many different purposes and niches a dance school can fill, especially ballet schools. 

Subscribe to stay up to date!

A Ballet Education 2023

It isn’t a secret that the world is constantly changing, and the world of ballet is also changing. Because of this, we constantly have to be striving to improve ourselves and improve our businesses. With everyone talking about a recession and with the economy being so unstable, studio owners are constantly fearing how they are going to stay open. There are numerous ways they have been compensating based on various different models. Some are packing classes with more students and cutting the hours, others are lowering their prices to get more students in the door, others are nickel and diming their current customers. I know, it’s a lot going on.

Now, I know it seems hypocritical that I say this as I have launched my subscribers only content on Instagram and my Apple Podcast, but I am going to explain my reasonings behind them. The subscribers only content on instagram is actually dedicated towards teachers. In the subscribers content I post ballet class combos and tutorials of how I personally conduct things, and how I use the A Ballet Education curriculum. The Apple Podcast is there for parents looking for answers, and just general conversation about how I see things unfolding in the ballet world. Both of these revenue avenues are there for me to help keep the majority of my content free. And yes, I have the Ballet Planner, but those funds go towards scholarships and financial aid that A Ballet Education offers. And yes, I also own The Ballet Clinic, a school that accepts all body types and works hard to deliver clear training, guidance, and mentorship to those who need it, and would like to train under me.

Now, where does this leave A Ballet Education? It has evolved from a blog, to a magazine, to a e-zine and now it will evolve into a consulting firm. A Ballet Education will now be a resource for dance teachers, parents, and dancers to use to consult, contract their marketing, PR, social media content, graphic design, development, and more. Over the years, I have done this on the side with ballet clients all over the world including American Ballet Theatre (artwork), Youth America Grand Prix (artwork & consulting), European School of Ballet (consulting), Master Ballet Academy/ Phoenix Ballet (executive director), Cary Ballet (development and consulting), Debbie Allen (executive planning), Suzanne Farrell (artwork), Burbank Dance Academy (executive planning, website design), South Mountain Performing Arts (social media and website), and many others. I’m excited to be moving forward as a consultant, and hope you choose to stay along this journey.

If you are interested in becoming a client, feel free to reach out.

Thank you for all of your support the last 9 years, and thank you for continuing to trust me.

Summer Intensives LIVE!

Hey Everyone,

I am going LIVE on Instagram: Sunday, October 9 at 10:00AM Arizona Time.

I will be answering questions LIVE and giving you some useful tips as you go into audition season.

Follow me on Instagram: @ ABalletEducation


Don’t forget Fall Clearance is happening at The Ballet Planner!

European School of Ballet Invites You…

Jean-Yves Esquerre, the director of the European School of Ballet (ESB) invites you to come to Amsterdam for two weeks this winter! This opportunity is great because it exposes dancers to a variety of styles of repertory that is widely danced in Europe, and gives dancers a chance to see if ESB is the right school for them.

ESB has an impressive track record of placing dancers. Last season a lone they placed 19 into companies, and during the pandemic, they placed 22. Their two week winter session takes places December 5-17, so this is perfect if you aren’t participating in a Nutcracker performance!

The two-week intensive course, for ages 13 to 21 years old, will be taught by a faculty of internationally renowned teachers, focusing on ballet technique and repertoires of contemporary choreographers.

Apply today and lock in your winter plans!

Ballet History on IG

We all know that ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts in the 15th center, or at least we should. Famously, as ballet history and folklore goes, Catherine de’ Medici brought ballet to France when she married the second son of the King of France. A fourteen-year-old girl, not of royal blood, is responsible for the future of ballet. How exciting, right? We are now illustrating and animating fun videos on the instagram as we go through the ballet timeline and look back at how ballet progressed.

https://www.instagram.com/aballeteducation/

YAGP does Nervi

For the second year in a row, the Youth America Grand Prix has taken residency in Nervi, Italy. This year you will be able to stream both gala performances on June 25 and 26. The line up is killer, and the performance is free to view online!

The performances include:

Benjamin Freemantle, San Francisco Ballet – Adios

Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Luca Acri, The Royal Ballet – Tarantella

Marcelo Gomes and Alejandro Martinez, Dresden State Opera Ballet – Faun(e)

Elisabeth Beyer and Yuma Matsuura, ABT Studio Company – Grand Pas Classique

Jacopo Tissi, La Scala Ballet – Except from the Ninth Wave

Polina Seminonova, Berlin State Ballet and Cesar Corrales, The Royal Ballet and Ukraine’s Vsevelod Maiyevskyi – Le Corsaire Act II Pas de Trois

Paris Svigos, Illinois Classical Ballet – La Esmeralda

Sylvie Squires, ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School – Odalisque

Elisabeth Beyer, ABT Studio Company and Brady Farrar, ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School – Flames of Paris Pas de Deux

To view the performances: subscribe to YAGP’s YouTube Channel and turn on the reminders!

You can now watch Harlequinade!

Yup. You can see Alexei Ratmansky’s Harlequinade this week via the Australian Ballet’s LIVE!

Benedicte Benet Photo by Jeff Busby, courtesy of the Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet is thrilled to announce that their global live stream series continues with Alexei Ratmansky’s Harlequinade, available for audiences all over the world to enjoy on Friday, June 24. Originally created more than a century ago but lost to history, Harlequinade is a rollicking comedic ballet by Marius Petipa, the father of classical ballet and original creator of The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, before his retirement.

Rediscovered by one of the world’s most in-demand choreographers, Alexei Ratmansky, Harlequinade is a co-production
between American Ballet Theatre (where Ratmansky is artist in residence) and The Australian Ballet. Ratmansky has
reconstructed the ballet by decoding the original notation of the steps and the resulting ballet is a living connection to the unsullied technique of Petipa.


Harlequinade tells the story of the young lovers Harlequin and Columbine, and their determination to be together despite the efforts of Columbine’s greedy father, who demands that she marry into wealth.Bursting with color, brilliant dancing, madcap characters and hilarious hijinks all the while tumbling from slapstick to joyous andfrom the absurd to the sublime with the greatest of ease, Ratmansky’s staging of Harlequinade is the perfect ballet for families,
balletomanes and all lovers of dance.

David Hallberg, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, says: “Harlequinade is a ballet people of all ages can enjoy – it’s
comical, colorful and full of vibrant adventure. This production encapsulates the transformative powers of ballet and the theatre.” The action is buoyed by a bright, melodic score composed by Petipa’s collaborator Riccardo Drigo. Inspired by the original 1900 designs by Orest Allegri and Ivan Vsevolozhsky, preserved in a St Petersburg museum, Robert Perdziola has created more than 250 exquisite costumes, including 172 hats. Audiences will recognize characters like Pierrot with his pom-poms and oversized sleeves, and the dazzling diamond pattern of the Harlequin suit. Perdziola’s picture-book sets perfectly evoke the village square and a grand, beaux-arts ballroom.

Tickets are now on sale at https://australianballet.com.au/the-ballets/live-on-ballet-tv. The live-stream will be available for viewing for 48 hours from the start of the show, and will include bonus commentary from Artistic Director David Hallberg and guests, as well as live interviews and behind-the-scenes footage exclusive to the livestream.

Help get these kids to their dream schools!

Hey guys! We are getting down to the wire! There are about six kids who have reached out to me who are trying to get to their dream schools.

You can donate individually via their go fund me or you can VENMO me at @davidjwking and the money will be split evenly.

Mia Patton – housing expenses at JKO year-round
Click the pic for her Go Fund Me
Joe Dufty – SFB year-round https://gofund.me/429634bd
Donate anonymously and equally via Venmo: davidjwking

David Hallberg is Back Dancing!

Yup, he’s making a comeback!

Well, sort of.

You heard that right. David Hallberg, Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet and former principal dancer (ABT, Bolshoi) will be dancing with the company and you can view it from your home! Yes, the Australian Ballet is going LIVE with their new program: “Masterful” Kunstkamer on June 10, 2022. The program features works from Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite. Get your tickets here! (Only $25 AUD) Have a party at your studio, wine night with friends, or a dinner party!

The program info:

Choreography Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Crystal Pite, Marco Goecke Composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Arvo Pärt, Béla Bertók, Franz Schubert, Benjamin Britten, Henry Purcell, Joby Talbot, Johann Strauss Jnr, Christoph W Gluck, Chavela Vargas, Ólafur Arnalds Costume design Joke Visser, Hermien Hollander Original lighting design Tom Bevoort, Udo Haberland, Tom Visser Set Design: Sol León and Paul Lightfoot Film Rahi Rezvani World Première 3 October 2019, Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague, the Netherlands Kunstkamer is generously supported by Joan Clemenger AO and Peter Clemenger AO, Linda Herd, Shane Lloyd and Alan Joyce AC.  Preview the program here.

Photo courtesy of the Australian Ballet, photo by Daniel Boud

Streaming live from the Arts Centre in Melbourne and available to audiences throughout the world on June 10th, The Australian Ballet presents Kunstkamer, one of the most ambitious contemporary dance productions ever to appear as part of the company’s repertoire. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at http://www.australianballet.com.au/the-ballets/live-on-ballet-tv. Created originally for the pioneering dance company Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in celebration of its 60th anniversary in 2019, until now Kunstkamer had never been performed by any other company. The landmark production, hailed a “masterpiece” and a “triumph” by critics, was conceived by some of the most in-demand choreographers working in ballet today, former NDT Resident Choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, and NDT Associate Choreographers Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite. In a rare appearance on stage by the company’s Artistic Director, audiences will have the opportunity to see David Hallberg perform alongside The Australian Ballet’s dancers in a solo role in the critically-acclaimed production. Kunstkamer, which translates from Dutch as ‘chamber of art’ or ‘art cabinet’, draws inspiration from The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, a 1734 book in four volumes by Dutch pharmacist, zoologist and collector Albertus Seba. At the intersection of science and art, a cabinet of curiosities brings together fascinating objects from around the world, displaying seemingly disparate items in ways that give them new meaning. The result is a two-act contemporary ballet comprising many short movements, woven elegantly together with key dance motifs and recurring characters. This artfully arranged selection of pieces wittily interrogates the possibilities of dance, from the most poetic pas de deux to the mesmerizing, intricately choreographed group scenes involving the entire company of 80 dancers. Kunstkamer features music by Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Schubert, Arvo Pärt, Joby Talbot and Ólafur Arnalds, among others. Set design by Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot places the action within a vast space enclosed by grand neoclassical-style facades, with dancers entering and exiting through many different doors on two levels. Elements of song, film, and spoken word add further texture to the world of curiosities created in this mysterious hall. Artistic Director David Hallberg said: “I chose to bring Kunstkamer because it showcases the rich diversity of the dancers of The Australian Ballet. “Kunstkamer will show audiences what else is possible in dance, seen through the most modern and compelling form of expression and I am thrilled to usher in a new style of dance with everyone on stage, in the theatre, and to audiences all over the world through our live-stream. It is a work not to be missed.” David Hallberg said. Kunstkamer streams live from Arts Centre Melbourne at 7:15pm (AEST) Friday June 10, and will be available to stream for 48 hours from the start of the live-stream. Tickets can be purchased at www.australianballet.com.au/the-ballets/live-on-ballet-tv

Photo courtesy of the Australian Ballet, photo by Daniel Boud

Susan Jaffe to be the next AD of ABT

So I called it… BOOM!

(previous article with me calling it)

NEW YORK, NY (May 9, 2022) — Former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Susan Jaffe has been named the Company’s next Artistic Director. Jaffe’s appointment, effective December 2022, was announced today by Andrew Barth, ABT Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees. Jaffe will succeed Kevin McKenzie last spring announced his intent to retire after the 2022 season, following three decades of leadership.

Jaffe was appointed Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) in July 2020 and has since led the company in new artistic achievements, including choreographing a new Swan Lake (2022) and stewarding PBT’s presence during the COVID-19 pandemic and successful return to the stage. In addition, Jaffe joined PBT’s administration in the company’s renewed commitment to racial justice and equity with PBT’s Equity Transformation Team, prioritizing inclusivity on its stages, in its hiring practices, and in training programs.

“What a profound honor it is for me to come back home to lead the artistic helm of American Ballet Theatre,” said Jaffe. “I have experienced so many iterations of my career at ABT. I was a student, second company member, main Company member, teacher in the school, Advisor to the Chairman, and Director of Repertoire for the Company. The role of Artistic Director will be my seventh at this wonderful institution. To come back home is truly a dream come true! I am grateful to Kevin McKenzie for his passion, dedication, and stewardship of the Company over the last 30 years, and I look forward to working with everyone to bring ABT into its future. I would also like to take this opportunity to say how much I enjoyed working with everyone at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. PBT is an outstanding organization, and the happy memories of working with the dancers, staff, and board will stay with me forever.”

Declared by The New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina,” Jaffe enjoyed a career as a Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre for 22 years. She performed on the international stage with the Royal Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, La Scala Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and the English National Ballet. Her versatility as a dancer brought acclaimed interpretations to ballet classics, such as Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, and dramatic works by Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, John Cranko, Ronald Hynd, and Kenneth MacMillan. She also worked with many prominent contemporary choreographers of her time, such as Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham, Nacho Duato, Mark Morris, Ulysses Dove, and Jiří Kylián.

After retiring from the stage in 2002, Jaffe taught in the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and served as an advisor to the chairman of the board of ABT until 2007. In 2010 she became a Director of Repertoire at ABT. Two years later, she was appointed Dean of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, NC, a position she held for eight years. During her tenure at UNCSA, Jaffe and her faculty implemented a syllabus based on the ABT National Training Curriculum and established the Choreographic Institute of UNCSA. Additionally, she raised $3.5 million in endowed scholarships and other scholarships.

In 2020 Jaffe was appointed the Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She helped to lead the company through the pandemic with digital programs, outdoor performances, and performances in museums. As audiences began returning to theaters, Jaffe curated programs that included classic ballets and diverse, innovative voices of today.

A choreographer herself, Jaffe has created works for American Ballet Theatre, ABT Studio Company, Grand Rapid Ballet’s Move Media, Company C Contemporary Ballet, Configurations Dance Theatre, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, among others.

“We are thrilled that we can extend an almost lifelong connection between ABT and Susan Jaffe with thisannouncement,” said Andrew Barth, Chairman of ABT’s Board of Governing Trustees. “We thank ABT Trustee SusanFales-Hill for leading our search committee through an extensive and comprehensive process. Susan Jaffe brings anamazing array of talents – prima ballerina, advisor, coach, mentor, teacher, and artistic director – to her new position atABT. We suspect she will use them all to respect the history and legacy of ABT while moving us artistically into thefuture.”

“I am so pleased that ABT will come under Susan’s care,” said Kevin McKenzie, current Artistic Director at ABT. “She’sa colleague I admire who always maintained a sense of joy and fun. She is a wonderful teacher and coach, bringing theexperience of an extensive and acclaimed performing career, working under three directors while at ABT. With her experience at UNCSA and PBT, Susan comes equipped with her own expertise and the ability to get the best out of those around her.”

Help this boy get to SFB!

A mom saw this post on a Facebook group and forwarded it on to me. So, I did my digging, and found out that this boy really needs our help to get to San Francisco Ballet School. Meet Joe Dufty from rural NSW Australia!

Photos courtesy of his mom.

It isn’t a secret that this coveted school is expensive, and for someone coming from across the Pacific, it is even more expensive. The crazy part? He isn’t even asking to help fundraise the full amount needed to attend. He is looking to raise less than half of the costs of attending and has already raised a fifth of his goal. So ballet world, it is that time of the year when children are getting their acceptances to their dream schools, but realizing that being accepted wasn’t the hard part… committing financially is. So, I am humbly asking you this fundraising season to help one of the many dancers I will be posting over the next month. Yes, I know, it is obnoxious that I am constantly asking for your financial help, but these kids really do need it. Please donate a few dollars to help him reach his goal via his go fund me!


If you are looking for help fundraising to attend a year-round school, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

So, you want all the insider information about YAGP Finals…

Tune in this Sunday, April 24, 2022 @ 10:00 AM on Instagram Live! You don’t want to miss out!

How does YAGP finals work? What are you doing wrong? What are you doing right? How do you make the most out of your time at finals? How do scholarships work? What are they looking for? Are they even looking?

(photo of Isabella Roman, courtesy of Star Action Shots, YAGP Senior Final Round 2022)

And the winners of YAGP 2022 are…

Over seven hundred soloists, and over 1,500 kids have come together one last time this season to celebrate the largest ballet scholarship competition in the world: the Youth America Grand Prix, founded by Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev. Many of the world’s leading professional dancers have come through the Youth America Grand Prix at some point in time, and this year, a new generation of winners, participants and outstanding dancers have been announced. As our industry is slowly recovering from the devastation and setbacks of the pandemic, the Youth America Grand Prix has pushed through and hosted their international finals in Tampa, Florida at the Straz Center for the Arts. 

(cover photo: by Star Action Shots)

Dancers ages nine to twenty-two, from 30 different countries, have come together and competed across the classical ballet variation category and the contemporary category, taken numerous classes with international directors and master teachers, reconnected with old friends and have made new friends that will become lifelong colleagues. 

The anticipation built as the Straz Center became packed with parents, teachers, and coaches. All the participants were lined up, wrapping around Patel Conservatory, and everyone was ready to find out who would be named the next Grand Prix winner and be alongside the history and talent of this organization.

Asuka Hara, age 10, Ballet Le Coeur, Japan wins the Hope Award. Photo courtesy of Star Action Shots.

Asuka Hara, YAGP ambassador and YAGP Japan standout has been making a splash all season. Her version of graduation ball (click here to watch her compete at the YAGP Japan Semi-Final) has been the talk of the competitive ballet season. The girl is a superstar in the making.

Alexei Orohovsky, age 14, from Elite Classical Coaching wins the Youth Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Star Action Shots.

Alexei Orohovsky, from Elite Classical Coaching, won the Youth Grand Prix Award with his version of The Talisman. Dressed in all white, Alexei looks like a Russian prince and dances with ease. This American is also a Helsinki candidate, where he will compete the first week in June.

The other big prizes of the night included the Shelley King Award for Excellence. It was awarded to Minori De Silva, age 12, from Morning Star Dance Academy for her variation: La Esmeralda.

The Natalia Makarova Award for Artistry was given to Charlize Hardwick, age 14, from Bayer Ballet Academy for her Giselle Peasant Pas De Deux variation.

Outstanding Choreographer went to YAGP Gala Choreographer, and internationally recognized Maria Konrad.

This year, multiple prizes were not awarded, and they included: The Grand Prix Award (designated to seniors), Outstanding School, and Outstanding Teacher.

However, a new award was introduced: The YAGP Humanitarian Award, and this year it was given to Larissa Saveliev for her work for the Ukrainian dancers. YAGP has placed over 100 Ukranian dancers on full scholarships during this time.

But this year, the talent was killer and the winners list was long.

The Senior Women Winners:

1ST PLACEMaya Schonbrun (17)Master Ballet Academy, AZ, USA
2ND PLACENatalie Steele (15)Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, CA, U
3RD PLACELexi Mccloud (17)Moga Conservatory of Dance, UT, USA

The Senior Men Winners:

1ST PLACEArthur Wille (20)ATM Centro Cultural de Dança, Brasil
2ND PLACEZander Magolnick (16)Elite Classical Coaching, TX, USA
3RD PLACEHoyeon Kim (15)Sunhwa Arts High School, South Korea

The Junior Women Winners:

1ST PLACE Nao Nakajima (14) Symphony Ballet Studio, Japan

2ND PLACE Yerin Ok (14) Yewon School, South Korea

3RD PLACE Crystal Huang (13) Nevada School of Dance, NV, USA

3RD PLACE Sophia Koo (14) Southland Ballet Academy, CA, USA

The Junior Men Winners:

1ST PLACE Denis Watanabe (14) Watanabe-Buber Ballet Academy, Japan

2ND PLACE João Pedro Dos Santos Silva (13) Balé do Teatro Escola Basileu França, Brasil

3RD PLACE Suhyeok Bang (14) Sunhwa Arts Middle School, South Korea

3RD PLACE Clovis Couillard (14) Ecole du Ballet de Paris Stanlowa, France

Pre Competitive- Women’s Classical

1ST PLACE Yuna Yamada (9) Kinue Kobayashi Ballet Studio, Japan

2ND PLACE Mikaela Cameron (11) A&A Ballet, KS, USA

3RD PLACE Maria Qixin Tian (11) MorningStar Dance Academy, GA, USA

3RD PLACE Shaqueena Yefta Hutasoit (11) Marlupi Dance Academy, Indonesia

Pre Competitive- Men’s Classical

1ST PLACE Ruan Santiago (11) Ballet Monica Luiza, Brasil

2ND PLACE Leon Yusei Sai (10) Southland Ballet Academy, CA, USA

3RD PLACE Michael Savio (10) Stars Dance Studio, FL, USA

Pre Competitive- Women’s Contemporary

1ST PLACE Kiera Sun (11) Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, CA, USA

2ND PLACE Morgan Ligon (10) Elite Classical Coaching, TX, USA

3RD PLACE Phoebe Ingram (11) Indiana Ballet Conservatory, IN, USA

Pre Competitive– Men’s Category

1ST PLACE Michael Savio (10) Stars Dance Studio, FL, USA

2ND PLACE Ruan Santiago (11) Ballet Monica Luiza, Brasil

3RD PLACE Dylan Custodio (10) Fort Lauderdale Youth Ballet, FL, USA

Classical Pas De Deux Winners:

1ST PLACE Maya Schonbrun (17), Cruz Vining (17) Master Ballet Academy, AZ, USA for Swan Lake Black Swan Act III

2ND PLACE Kyra Orozco-Davey (14), Samuel Morris (17) City Ballet San Francisco, CA, USA for Grand Pas Classique

3RD PLACE Nina Miró Verger (11), Asier Bautista (13) Jove Ballet de Catalunya, Spain for Le Corsaire

Contemporary Pas De Deux Winners

1ST PLACE Nali Dobrin (13), Gramada Dragos (13) Choreography High School ”Floria Capsali” / Dance Planet, Romania for Spirits Talking

2ND PLACE Kailin Kratz (15), Kyawzwa Lwin (18) City Ballet – San Francisco, CA, USA for Prelude

3RD PLACE Michael Savio (10), Kya Massimino (11) Stars Dance Studio, FL, USA for Scherzo

Small Ensembles:

1ST PLACE Eureka! Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, MD, USA

2ND PLACE Melliflous Ballet de Galicia, Diego Landín, Spain

3RD PLACE Raymonda Cavaliers UNCSA, NC, USA

Large Ensembles:

1ST PLACE Coppelia Friends Act 1 The Art of Classical Ballet, FL, USA

2ND PLACE Tang Dynasty OAEC, TX, USA

3RD PLACE Virus Ballet de Galicia, Diego Landín, Spain